Clumsy kids who don't 'grow out of it'

Apr 04, 2011
Clumsy kids who don't 'grow out of it'

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is widely recognized by the medical community, and there are a number of therapies in place. But as many as six percent of all children suffer from the less familiar Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Demonstrating a lack of refined motor skills, children with DCD tend to have a more difficult time playing sports and staying organized at school. They appear to be uncoordinated — and many parents think they'll grow out of it. But research shows that may not be true.

Now Dr. Orit Bart and her colleagues at Tel Aviv University's Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions have developed a questionnaire to assess how DCD kids socialize, and participate in daily activities, which may lead to new treatments and interventions.

"DCD kids are often described as clumsy. Because they're usually of average to above-average intelligence, their disorder is rarely considered grave," says Dr. Bart, a world-recognized expert in DCD. But she cautions that the disorder can have a profound effect throughout their lives.

Results can be crippling

Dr. Bart's continuing research demonstrates that, if untreated, children with DCD may also have to cope with more severe social and emotional issues as adults. Children with DCD report feeling more lonely, are more likely to try drugs and alcohol, and have more difficulty in mastering basic life skills like driving. Her recent research, reported in the journal Research in Developmental Disabilities, concludes that a voluntary lack of participation in after-school activities can exacerbate the problem.

But if the disorder is diagnosed, intervention is possible. Children diagnosed with DCD can be monitored and, if they show a lack of interest in group activities, can be encouraged to participate. It is generally accepted in the field of education that participation in group activities is a key to health and well-being, a vital part of the emotional development of children and teenagers.

Links to ADD

In their study, Dr. Bart and her colleagues monitored 50 five-to-seven-year-olds who met the diagnostic criteria of DCD. They also observed 25 children without DCD. For both groups, they applied a number of motor assessment tests recognized by American and Canadian school boards.

The results confirmed a relationship between participation patterns and motor ability. Kids with DCD participated less. Dr. Bart says that these low participation levels should be studied in more depth so that therapists can help them grow into fully functional and satisfied adults.

Previous research of Dr. Bart's found a link between DCD and the attention deficit disorders ADD and . About half of all children with ADD or ADHD also have DCD. Medication for attention deficit disorders appears to work in alleviating some of the motor coordination symptoms expressed in DCD, but more research is needed.

Dr. Bart's continuing research suggests that with DCD tend to feel more emotionally isolated, less coherent and less optimistic about life than kids without DCD. "DCD appears to run in the family, although we have not yet identified any genes for it," says Dr. Bart. "We hope to know more about this disorder so we can help youngsters live fuller, more productive lives."

Explore further: Early exposure to antidepressants affects adult anxiety and serotonin transmission

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New research on developmental co-ordination disorder

Nov 23, 2010

New research has found children with developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD) previously known as dyspraxia have an increased risk of difficulties in attention, reading, short-term memory and social skills.

Kidney transplants: Expanding the pool of available organs

May 20, 2010

In the United States over 80,000 people are on the kidney transplant waiting list, and thousands die each year waiting for transplants. For most dialysis patients, kidney transplantation increases their chances of survival.

Mind out of balance, body out of balance

Jan 22, 2009

Many of the 40 million American adults who suffer from anxiety disorders also have problems with balance. As increasing numbers of children are diagnosed with anxiety, Tel Aviv University researchers have discovered that ...

Recommended for you

Mindfulness helps teens cope with stress, anxiety

1 hour ago

As the morning school bell rings and students rush through crowded corridors, teenagers in one Portland classroom settle onto mats and meditation pillows. They fall silent after the teacher taps a Tibetan ...

Study links suicide risk with insomnia, alcohol use

3 hours ago

A new study is the first to show that insomnia symptoms mediate the relationship between alcohol use and suicide risk, and that this mediation is moderated by gender. The study suggests that the targeted ...

Echolocation acts as substitute sense for blind people

10 hours ago

Recent research carried out by scientists at Heriot-Watt University has demonstrated that human echolocation operates as a viable 'sense', working in tandem with other senses to deliver information to people with visual impairment.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.