Getting the run around: accessing services for children with developmental co-ordination disorder

Child Care Health Dev. 2005 Jul;31(4):449-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2005.00524.x.


Background: Accessing services for children with developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD) is frequently difficult for parents who have to navigate both health and education systems to find a diagnosis and appropriate interventions.

Method: A qualitative study design incorporating a phenomenological perspective was utilized to understand the nature of the experiences of these parents in attempting to access support for their children with DCD. Twelve parents, whose children attended the Kids Skills Clinic at the University of Western Ontario and were identified as having DCD, were interviewed by the second author. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using constant comparative method. Member checking, peer checking and code-recoding were carried out to enhance rigour in data analysis.

Results: A number of themes emerged focusing on the common problems experienced leading to occupational therapy referral. Parents' journeys to seek and access services for their children with DCD were characterized by a sense of maternal knowing, experience of frustration, trivialization of the problem, a sense of 'going it alone', and 'getting the run around'.

Conclusions: Implications for health and educational professionals working with children, in terms of recognition of DCD and referral for services, are described.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Attitude to Health
  • Child
  • Developmental Disabilities / physiopathology
  • Developmental Disabilities / psychology
  • Developmental Disabilities / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Motor Skills / physiology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Ontario
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Psychomotor Disorders / physiopathology
  • Psychomotor Disorders / psychology
  • Psychomotor Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • School Health Services / organization & administration
  • Self Care
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology