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Understanding Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)

Millions of children suffer from a condition called Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Often referred to as clumsy child syndrome, it’s a serious and chronic neurological disorder that occurs when the brain is unable to relay messages to the body. The condition affects multiple areas of development and coordination. In fact, it can continue into adulthood.

Children afflicted with DCD may trip over their own feet and drop things. They may walk with an unsteady gait and run into other children unintentionally. Children with DCD can be slow to crawl, stand and walk and have difficulty swallowing during their first year. Gross and fine motor skills are affected. The condition can co-exist with learning and communication disorders, along with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Children with DCD are forced to live with the physical effects of this condition. They may be unable to remember simple things. Faced with large amounts of sensory stimulation, they can become overwhelmed easily and prone to panic attacks. Approximately 5 percent of children are affected and the condition is more prevalent in boys than girls. Such children typically suffer from feelings of inadequacy and have low self-esteem.

DCD significantly impacts a child’s ability to learn and perform everyday activities that others may take for granted. Many parents fail to seek intervention in the belief that the child “will grow out of it”. Most youngsters are diagnosed between the ages of 6 and 12. Early diagnostic assessments are essential, enabling children to begin receiving the necessary assistance they need.


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