Speech Therapy

Developmental Coordination Disorder

Children who suffer from autism spectrum disorders have a problem with social communication. Problems with social communication can also lead to a developmental coordination disorder as well. Children who suffer from this disorder have trouble in synchronising their motor movements.

Developmental Coordination Disorder: This coordination disorder of motor movements develops in conjunction with another developing disorder (like any of the autism spectrum disorders). The other names for this disorder are clumsiness, congenital maladroitness, clumsy child syndrome or motor function disorder.

Diagnosis: This disorder is usually recognised when the a few developmental milestones of the child, like walking, dressing up et. are not achieved properly.

This is because, both the large and small muscles of the body in the child fail to coordinate properly. This lack of coordination makes catching a ball, buttoning up, tying shoe laces et. very difficult for a child.

The Disorder and Social Communication: Since children are frustrated with their inability to perform tasks that their peers perform easily, they may choose to sit out of social outings and activities like sports and games.

The non-performance and boycotting of social activities adds to their communication problems and also leads to conflicts with their peers.

Symptoms: There are no common traits that exist in all the children suffering from this disorder. They are bound to vary. While a few might have problems with buttoning up and tying laces, the others may find difficult catching a ball or reproducing visual symbols.

But, if at least two motor activities that should be normal are below par along with the child’s IQ, then the child should be taken for treatment. Let us look at a few symptoms-

  • slight shaking and unsteadiness
  • abnormal or below par muscle tone
  • problems with reproducing written work or symbols
  • problems with visual perception.

Treatment: There is no standard treatment available for this developmental coordination disorder. The treatment and therapy programs would vary for each child. Working with an occupational therapist can help children restore their academic skills while others with motor problems can have them rectified which would also benefit their communication problems with their peers.

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