Toward an Understanding of Developmental Coordination Disorder

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Sheila E. Henderson University of London

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Leslie Henderson Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, London

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We consider three issues concerning unexpected difficulty in the acquisition of motor skills: terminology, diagnosis, and intervention. Our preference for the label Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) receives justification. Problems in diagnosis are discussed, especially in relation to the aetiology-dominated medical model. The high degree of overlap between DCD and other childhood disorders appears to militate against its acceptance as a distinct syndrome. In this context, we emphasize the need to determine whether incoordination takes different forms when it occurs alone is combined with general developmental delay or with other specific disorders in children of normal intelligence. Studies of intervention have mostly shown positive effects but do not, as yet, allow adjudication between different sorts of content. We suggest that the study of DCD and its remediation would benefit greatly from the employment of the simple but rich paradigms developed for the experimental analysis of fully formed adult movement skills.

Sheila E. Henderson is with the School of Psychology at the Institute of Education, University of London, UK. Leslie Henderson is with the Division of Neuroscience and Psychological Medicine at Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, UK. E-mail: <l.henderson@ic.ac.uk>.

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