We all know of a child, whether it be within our family or within the local community that has difficulty with their motor skills. In fact, a Ballarat Council investigation has found 8.5% of Ballarat’s children are considered developmentally vulnerable in terms of physical health and wellbeing compared to the state of Victoria at 7.8%! This includes ‘physical readiness for the school day, physical independence as well as gross motor and fine motor skills. (The state of Ballarat’s children, 2015, Ballarat City Council).

Whether it is a difficulty reaching motor milestones such as running or jumping or the child performs these tasks with less coordination, this substantial difficulty in coordinating movements has previously been difficult to diagnose. Over the last decade, there has been further development in the investigation into this lack of coordination.

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a disorder of motor coordination. It is still unknown whether children with DCD have these issues due to poor motor planning i.e. how the brain puts the plan together or poor motor execution i.e. how the brain communicates with the muscles. Whichever the case may be, a diagnosis of DCD is currently made by exclusion. That is, a child must not have the presence of any other neuromuscular condition such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy.

DCD has a significant impact in many facets of a child’s life. This lack of motor coordination can create isolation and exclusion in social situations. Many children that have DCD avoid certain activities as they feel they are not capable or cannot keep up with their peers. There is also a reduction in a child’s ability to perform everyday tasks and can even have a significant impact on academic achievement.

Some of the common signs associated with DCD include:

-          Clumsy or awkward movements compared to similar aged children

-          Poor body and spatial awareness

-          May be issues with gross motor (jump, run), fine motor skills (handwriting) or both

-          Discrepancy between skills i.e. reasonable intellectual or language skills whilst poor motor skills present

-          Difficulty planning movement or sequences of movements

-          Difficulty learning new motor skills

-          Reduced balance

-          Reduced endurance i.e. fatigues quickly with tasks

Come in to Ballarat Allied Health for a consultation with our Physiotherapist, Emily Izard, if you are concerned with your child's motor development. You can book online or phone the clinic on 5334 1113.

Note: Emily is registered as a provider to see NDIS clients above the age of 6 or self managed NDIS funds for children below the age of 6

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice and is used for educational purposes only. If you are having pain or health related complaints, please seek out a licensed healthcare professional.

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