Developmental Coordination Disorder in UK children aged 6 -18 years: Estimating the cost

Mary Cleaton, Paula Lorgelly, Amanda Kirby

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    Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a Neurodevelopmental Disorder with an estimated prevalence of between 2 % and 6 % in school-aged children (APA, 2013; Lingam et al., 2009). Although DCD is primarily defined by motor difficulties, associated symptoms and consequences have been noted including: reduced fitness levels; increased risk of being overweight and obese; difficulties with executive functioning; reduced educational achievement; poor social functioning; increased risk of negative self-concept; and increased risk of mental health difficulties, particularly anxious and depressive symptoms (Cleaton and Kirby, 2018). This results in both children with DCD and their parents having reduced quality of life (Cleaton et al., 2019; Wuang et al., 2012; Zwicker et al., 2013). Individuals with DCD have also noted strengths and abilities, including empathy (Tal-Saban and Kirby, 2019), resilience (Missiuna et al., 2008), humour (Missiuna et al., 2008) and creativity (Everatt et al., 2008; Missiuna et al., 2008).

    Although once thought of as a childhood condition, it is now accepted that DCD is typically a lifelong disorder. Approximately 70 % of individuals continue to demonstrate significant motor difficulties through adolescence and into adulthood (Losse et al., 1991), both with skills learned in childhood such as activities of daily living and handwriting (Kirby et al., 2008) and new skills such as learning to drive (Kirby et al., 2011). Difficulties with executive functioning also persist (Tal-Saban et al., 2014a) as do mental health and self-esteem problems: adults with DCD report lower levels of life satisfaction, participation and quality of life and higher levels of anxiety and depression, (Hill and Brown, 2013; Kirby et al., 2013; Tal-Saban et al., 2014b). There is also evidence of higher rates of depression affecting unemployed people with DCD (Kirby et al., 2013).
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBritish Journal of Occupational Therapy
    Early online date7 Sept 2019
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Sept 2019


    • Developmental Coordination Disorder
    • Great Britain
    • Children
    • Young People
    • Neurodevelopmental disorders
    • School-aged children
    • Burden-of-illness
    • costs and cost analysis
    • Motor Skills Disorders
    • occupational therapy


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