Co-ordination Problems

Developmental Coordination Disorders (DCD) and Dyspraxia

Developmental Coordination Disorder describes children who are awkward or uncoordinated and have difficulty learning everyday tasks.  They may have difficulty with gross motor tasks such as running, hopping, jumping, skipping or sport in general.  Fine motor tasks like tying shoes, holding a pencil or cutting might also be challenging.

Research has identified approximately half of the children who experience specific speech and language difficultiesmay also have Developmental Coordination Disorder.  There are strong clinical reasoning theories proposing that the underlying mechanisms of both disorders may be shared.  Communication problems associated with Developmental Coordination Disorder include; inability to control speech organs, difficulty with voice articulation or breathing, stuttering or slow language development.

As a consequence of the problems outline above, children with Developmental Coordination Disorders encounter a range of difficulties:

  • Emotional problems such as frustration, lack of motivation or poor self-esteem
  • Avoidance of particular activities that involve playing with other children leading to becoming socially isolated
  • Deterioration in physical skills or fitness due to lack of participation
  • Disruptive behaviour during PE at school
  • Resistance to change in their routine due to the difficulties they have planning and learning new ways of doing things

It is estimated that 5-6% of school age children exhibit some degree of development coordination difficulties.  These difficulties are more prevalent in boys than girls.

Dyspraxia is a term used to describe children who have difficulty planning and organising their movements.  Their planning difficulties may impede their ability to organise their work on a page and plan their time.

Having Developmental Coordination Disorder or Dyspraxia does not change how intelligent a child is, but it does affect their learning ability.  Therefore children may have difficulty keeping up with their schoolwork despite being academically capable.

Therapy for Developmental Coordination Disorders (DCD) and Dyspraxia at Child First Paediatric Therapy

Most children with coordination difficulties or dyspraxia respond favourably to therapy.

At Child First Paediatric Therapy, our team of Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Speech Pathologistsare experienced in treating children with Developmental Coordination Disorders and Dyspraxia.  Some children with coordination difficulties will use only one of the therapies but other children will be looked after by a combination to best meet their goals.

The assessment process includes a comprehensive examination of your child’s difficulties using a range of standardised and non-standardised assessments.  Taking time to learn about the concerns and difficulties your child encounters in everyday life also forms an important component of our assessment.

Following the initial assessment, your therapists will work closely with you and your child to tailor an individual treatment program based on the specific needs of your family.

A combination of treatment approaches will be used to meet the needs of your child and family including:

  • Sensory Integration Therapy
  • Perceptual Motor Therapy
  • Cognitive Orientation to Occupational Performance (CO-OP)

The therapy programs are goal orientated and will be directed towards your child’s specific needs. Treatment may include:

  • Using scissors
  • Practice with dressing
  • Hand writing skills
  • Improving core stability and strength
  • Balance training
  • Practicing challenging new physical skills
  • Participating in physical activities to promote fitness
  • Social skills training
  • Speech and language training
  • Helping children to enjoy and discover the positives of energetic play and sport