Developmental coordination disorder (guide)


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Page last updated: 15/10/2022

Developmental coordination disorder

This article is a complete guide on developmental coordination disorder.

It provides a background to this disorder as well as knowledge of the symptoms and causes of this disorder.

In addition to this, it touches on many different methods that may be used as cures. 

Developmental coordination disorder (guide)

Developmental coordination disorder is a condition present in children where a child may not be able to perform specific motor movements that other children of their age can perform.

This disorder is not a mental disorder as these children have accurate intelligence levels as compared to their peers.

What defines developmental coordination disorder?

Developmental coordination disorder is a disorder that affects the ability of the brain to coordinate effectively with the body, which causes children to be unable to perform specific tasks.

This disorder is quite common amongst school children, and the effects usually continue into adulthood.

This disorder is generally characterized by an inability to perform specific simple tasks.

Children who are affected by developmental coordination disorder tend to be unable to perform actions such as tying their shoelaces or changing their clothes.

However, apart from these actions, they are generally normal. 

This disorder affects children in many ways.

Many people may mistake this disorder as a mental illness, although it is categorized as a developmental problem.

This could lead to these children being put behind others of their age in terms of their education as well as socialization.

However, children who are affected with developmental coordination disorder often have normal IQ and can perform mental tasks just as well as other children of their age. 

You may have noticed that many of the children who have developmental coordination disorder, usually stay at home due to their inability to cope with the pace of the outside world.

They are sometimes misunderstood as being lazy.

This causes a type of isolation in society, which could lead to further mental and physical conditions. 

Developmental coordination disorder is still not understood properly in society.

If you are a parent of a child with this disorder, you may find it difficult to keep your child in the same class as their peers.

However, treating them like one would treat a child with a mental illness often causes more harm as they are completely healthy, mentally. 

It is also important to understand that, while children with developmental coordination disorder, may be unable to perform certain tasks, they can comprehend the action in their minds.

In other words, they ‘know’ how to do things, but their brains cannot coordinate this with their bodies.

This disorder may continue into adulthood.

However, many adults with Developmental coordination disorder can lead normal lives with the right treatment.  

Developmental coordination disorder (guide)

Possible Causes

The slow development of the brain causes developmental coordination disorder.

Children who are affected by this disorder have underdeveloped brains as compared to children of their age.

However, more research is needed to confirm this as these children often have a normal IQ.  

Developmental coordination disorder (guide)

Researchers have determined that developmental coordination disorder is likely caused by a lack of coordination and the brain and the nerves that control the body’s ability to perform motor skills.

This could be due to a lack of nutrition during childhood or a low birth weight. 

Developmental coordination disorder is also believed to be caused by a lack of balance in the brain’s functioning.

This could explain why these children can perform certain tasks while they seem to be perplexed when doing other tasks.

It could also be the cause of the continuous effects into adulthood.

However, these symptoms may also be caused by a learning disorder or other mental condition.

Patients with mental conditions may often experience an inability to perform certain tasks as well.

In addition to this, children with learning disorders should be treated separately as these are significantly different from developmental coordination disorder.  

Most of these cases develop in young children.

Adults who have developmental coordination disorder have probably taken it from their childhood days.

While normal children may also begin to develop this disorder, many children are born with this.

However, there is no evidence to suggest that this disorder is inherited or has genetic roots.

Developmental coordination disorder (guide)


If you are concerned that your child has developmental coordination disorder, you should look for certain symptoms that usually indicate the presence of this disorder.

However, because these symptoms are usually similar to those found in other disorders, you should take your child to a qualified medical practitioner for a diagnosis. 

Children with developmental coordination disorder may show signs of symptoms such as: 

  • The child may not be able to coordinate simple motor movements like other children of their age. For example, if children their age learn to walk, it may take a child with developmental coordination disorder a few more months to learn how to perform the same basic motor task. This could include simple actions such as sitting, crawling, or walking.  
  • Another symptom of developmental coordination disorder is that the child is often slow to learn how to do things. Although some children take time to learn new things, it makes take your child additional time before they learn how to perform the same actions. 
  • Children with developmental coordination disorder may often get themselves hurt. They may bump into objects even though they have normal eyesight. This may adversely affect their overall quality of life greatly. 
  • In addition to the overall slowness of movement, children with developmental coordination disorder often trip over while walking. Contrary to what most people believe, this has nothing to do with absent-mindedness.

Although these symptoms may be present in many individuals, the DSM-5 has laid certain guidelines that may indicate that a child has developmental coordination disorder.

These include:

  1. Your child develops basic motor skills much slower than the standard for their age. 
  2. These symptoms appear in early childhood. 
  3. There are no other disorders that can explain the behavior of the child. This means that the child should not have any prior behavioral or mental disorder. 
  4. This disorder has to prevent the child from performing basic daily tasks, and it may interfere with their academic achievements as well.  

Management & Treatment

Developmental coordination disorder is a developmental disorder and requires a complex procedure to be treated effectively.

This disorder presents as a chronic pathological condition and has comorbid stress, anxiety and other problems.

If your child is diagnosed with developmental coordination disorder, you may need to combine both physiological as well as psychological therapies to reduce the effects of the disorder. 

Treatment options include: 

Physical education- This is usually part of a learning therapy in which a child is provided with various physical exercises that may help strengthen the coordination between the brain and the body.

This may include games, sports as well as activities such as running and cycling.

Occupational therapists often manage occupational therapy- Children with developmental coordination disorder.

They may work with your children to help them adjust to their condition. This includes looking for alternatives in place of actions that are difficult for them to accomplish.

If a child has difficulty in tying their shoelaces, you can provide them with shoes that don’t require laces.

Similar steps can be taken with activities such as walking or writing. 

There are no medications that can help cure developmental coordination disorder.

Although you may be able to manage it, people with developmental coordination disorder often experience the same symptoms as adults.

However, the good news is that, unlike much mental illness, it is not a chronic disorder and does not worsen over time. 

Developmental coordination disorder (guide)

Some helpful resources:

  1. If you are a parent of a child who has developmental coordination disorder and you want techniques on how to manage your child’s disability, you should consider reading: “Developmental Coordination Disorder: Hints and Tips for the Activities of Daily Living Kindle Edition.” This is an excellent resource in terms of providing information on how to manage your child’s daily activities.
  1. Another great resource for learning more about this disorder can be found in “Developmental Coordination Disorder and its Consequences.” This book provides helpful information for parents of children with this disorder. You may find valuable information regarding various techniques that can help you design a system that will help your child live a normal life. 
  1. If your child is affected with this disorder and feels difficulty in adjusting to daily life, then “My Friend Josh has DCD: A Picture Book to Help Your Child Understand Developmental Coordination Disorder,” will help them understand that they are not alone. This a great motivational resource for children.
  1. Many children with this disorder are unable to tie their shoelaces. Consider buying them a pair of “Casual Slip-On Shoes.” These are easy to slip on and are perfect for such children.
  2. Developmental Coordination Disorder is another helpful resource to understand developmental coordination disorder.


Developmental coordination disorder is a developmental disorder that affects up to 5% of all children.

It is characterized by the slow development of motor skills and a lack of tuning of the brain’s signals with the body.

Children with this disorder might be unable to perform certain daily tasks such as writing or tying their shoelaces.

This disorder cannot be cured.

However, with proper management, a child can live a normal life. 


Is developmental coordination disorder a learning disability?

Developmental coordination disorder is not a pure learning disorder.

It is a developmental disorder as the children who have this disorder have normal brains.

However, their brains cannot connect with the body to perform certain actions. 

What causes developmental coordination?

Developmental coordination disorder is caused by the inability of the brain to coordinate certain muscle movements.

This could be caused by a low birth weight as well as possible brain damage.

However, in a majority of cases, it is a by-birth defect.

What are the characteristics of developmental coordination disorder?

Developmental coordination disorder is characterized by slow movement as well as a child’s inability to carry out certain tasks suitable for children of their age.

For example, they may have difficulty tying their shoelaces or writing. 

Is dyspraxia a developmental disorder?

Dyspraxia is classified as a developmental disorder, according to the DSM-5.

This means that it is a disorder that affects the natural development of the body.

What are some of the signs and symptoms of developmental delays?

You may notice signs that your child is developing at a slower pace than standards for their age group.

For example, they might begin to crawl months after the average age at which other children begin to crawl.

It may take them months to learn how to perform certain simple motor actions such as tying their shoelaces. 

What are developmental disorders?

Developmental disorders are disorders that affect how children develop their basic skills.

This may hinder or slow down their development.


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