DCD is a physical movement disorder. It is an umbrella term used to describe
a set of signs and symptoms seen in a child who is ‘clumsier than normal’.
The child with DCD often struggles to grasp or perform new complex
motor activities (such as doing star jumps, hopping or skipping, ball games
and the like). They also seem uncoordinated and unbalanced during these
activities and may have other problems too, such as messy handwriting,
activity avoidance and anxiousness, problems with potty training, sensory
processing problems, poor posture and low muscle tone, to name a few.
DCD is four times more common in boys, can run in families and is
thought to be caused by an immaturity of the nerve development which controls
coordination of the body. To the untrained eye it can be tricky to spot
as it’s quite subtle and varied, but early signs can be identified by a
trained paediatric physiotherapist during toddler and early childhood years.
Research has shown that early therapeutic intervention, group activities
and sports, as well as breaking down and practising components of tasks
or movements are the most effective in helping children with DCD. It is
important to remember that children with DCD do not ‘outgrow’ their motor
difficulties. Early intervention is key and help is available.