Developmental coordination disorder

Handb Clin Neurol. 2020:174:3-20. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-64148-9.00001-6.


Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects children's ability to execute coordinated motor actions, resulting in slow, clumsy, or inaccurate motor performances and learning difficulties (of new motor tasks or to adapt previously learned gestures to a modified or additional constraint). In the course of development, children with DCD exhibit a diversity of motor signs, including fine and gross motor problems with impaired postural control and balance, and sensorimotor coordination or motor learning difficulties. The prevalence ranges between 1.8% and 8%, depending on the diagnostic criteria used, based on the cutoff of motor scores from standardized scales. Four main hypotheses have been postulated to explain DCD in terms of deficits in visuospatial functions, procedural learning, internal modeling, or executive functions. Neuroimaging studies are scarce but have highlighted several brain regions, including the parietal, frontal, and cerebellar cortices. Meta-analyses have supported task-oriented approaches as effective therapies to improve motor performance in children with DCD.

Keywords: Child; Developmental coordination disorder; Etiology; Pathogenesis Brain substrates; Therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cognition
  • Executive Function
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Motor Skills Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Motor Skills Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Postural Balance