89 Developmental Coordination Disorder (315.4)

DSM-IV-TR criteria

  • A. Performance in daily activities that requires motor coordination is substantially below that expected given that person’s chronological age and measured intelligence. This may manifested by marked delays in achieving motor milestones (e.g., walking, crawling, sitting), dropping things. “clumsiness,” poor performance in sports or poor handwriting.
  • B. The disturbance is Criterion A significantly interferes with academic achievements or activities of daily living.
  • C. The disturbance is not due to a general medical condition (e.g., cerebral palsy, hemiplegia, or muscular dystrophy) and does not meet criteria for a Pervasive Developmental Disorder.
  • D. If Mental Retardation is present, the motor difficulties are in excess of those usually associated with it.

Associated features

  • Associated features for Developmental Coordination Disorder include clumsiness, awkwardness, speech delay and/or poor coordination skills. Developmental Coordination Disorder all so includes impairments in the development of motor coordination such as playing ball, handwriting, walking, and running. Others have problems with muscle skills such as fastening buttons or tying shoes. Speech- language disorders may be closely linked to Developmental Coordination Disorder, but the reason is unclear right now
  • Children with developmental coordination disorder tend to suffer from depression, followed by poor self esteem, and are often disruptive in social and school situations. This is caused by the physical inability to socialize with peers (playing games or sports) and the frequent inability of writing letters, coloring, making sculptures, etc. The child may become so frustrated with the situation that they stop trying and just disrupt the class. Individualized therapy specializing in arts/crafts, writing, and playground skills can alleviate these problems.

Child vs. adult presentation

Children that exhibit Developmental Coordination Disorder has trouble with motor skills development that affects the whole child because some of the associated conditions may include sensory integration disorder, specific language impairment, and also mixed expressive-receptive language disorder. Developmental Coordination Disorder in adults is the same as with children where they have difficulty in motor skills such as hand-eye coordination.

Gender and cultural differences in presentation

There are no known cultural differences for patience that a diagnosis with Developmental Coordination Disorder. However, it is thought that males and females are equally likely to have this disorder, but might be diagnosed more often in males.


It has been reported that 5-9% of children in the normal population is diagnosis with Developmental Coordination Disorder. Also about 6% between age 5 and 11 have have DCD.


The etiology is unclear but it is believed that it is caused by neuronal damage at the cellular level in the receptor system and/or neurotransmitter.

Empirically supported treatments

  • There is no known treatment for Developmental Coordination Disorder at this point. Experts would recommend the patient to continue working on there motor skills and motor control with peers, perhaps by going to an occupational therapist. Special education and physical education seem to be beneficial also.

There are different names used for Developmental Coordination Disorder. One of the most common names in the UK is Dyspraxia. This link will take you to a video of a very well-known researcher of this condition and give more information about it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s832Yv-Dbwc


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