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Developmental coordination disorder

Contents of this page:

Definition    Return to top

Developmental coordination disorder is a childhood disorder marked by poor coordination and clumsiness.

Causes    Return to top

Roughly 6% of school-age children have some degree of developmental coordination disorder. Children with this disorder may trip over their own feet, run into other children, have trouble holding objects, and have an unsteady gait.

Developmental coordination disorder may appear alone or in conjunction with other learning disorders, such as communication disorders or disorder of written expression.

Symptoms    Return to top

Children with developmental coordination disorder have difficulties with motor coordination compared to other children the same age. Some common symptoms include:

Exams and Tests    Return to top

Physical causes and other types of learning disabilities must be ruled out before the diagnosis can be confirmed.

Treatment    Return to top

Physical education and perceptual motor training are the best approaches for treating coordination disorder.

Outlook (Prognosis)    Return to top

How well a child does depends on the severity of the disorder. The disorder does not get worse over time. It usually continues into adulthood.

Possible Complications    Return to top

When to Contact a Medical Professional    Return to top

Call for an appointment with a health care provider if you are concerned about your child's development.

Prevention    Return to top

Affected families should make every effort to recognize existing problems early and have them treated. Early treatment is beneficial to future success.

Update Date: 10/18/2008

Updated by: Jennifer K. Mannheim, CPNP, private practice, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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