What Exactly is Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)?

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What  is Developmental Coordination Disorder -DCD?

Having DCD means that you sometimes have difficulty coordinating the way your body moves. You may think of yourself as “clumsy”.  DCD can cause problems with the large muscles of your body that you use to run, jump and play sports ( called gross motor coordination).  DCD can cause problems with the small muscles you use to tie your shoes or write your name (fine motor coordination). Sometimes both  can be affected.

DCD can make school activities that require coordination challenging and frustrating, leaving you feeling exhausted. You may have difficulty writing neatly or typing quickly, using scissors, combination locks or handling science equipment. You may find difficulty keeping yourself organized, or participating in gym and after-school sports .

One may also have challenges with everyday activities at home i.e. using a knife and fork to cut food, blow-drying your hair, shaving, flossing your teeth, or putting  earrings on. Your leisure and social life may be affected by DCD.  It may be difficult for you to skateboard, play team sports , respond quickly to your friends by text messaging, or get yourself neatly dressed.

Doctors or psychologists decide that coordination difficulties are DCD when the motor problems affect your schoolwork and your ability to take care of yourself. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to do well in school…it’s just that you may have to work harder or differently than your friends to achieve your goals. Your doctor might have ordered medical tests or have you meet with a specialist before deciding that you have DCD.

It is necessary to make sure that nothing else is causing your coordination challenges. It’s important to know that DCD is NOT contagious and it won’t get any worse. Most adults who have DCD do  well because they have learned to find a way around their motor difficulties and have developed other strengths.



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