The Effects of Physiotherapy in Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder

The Effects of Physiotherapy in Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder

Developmental coordination disorder, also known as ‘DCD,’ is a motor skills disorder that affects 5-6 percent of all school-aged children. DCD is a condition characterized by impairments in gross motor, postural, and/or fine motor performance that impairs a child’s ability to perform the skilled movements required for daily living, including academic and self-care tasks.

These movement issues are not caused by any neurological conditions or cognitive impairments. Because research now indicates that DCD is more than just a childhood condition, early intervention is both beneficial and proactive. You might want to look for physiotherapy Dee Why.


Developmental coordination disorder is a common childhood disorder that usually affects children between the ages of 6 and 12. In the 1990s, researchers estimated that DCD affected 10% to 19% of school-aged children.

According to more precise diagnostic criteria and definitions, the current prevalence is estimated to be 5% – 8% of all school-age children. It is more prevalent in boys than in girls (2:1). Because the behaviour of boys with motor in coordination may be more difficult to manage at home and in the classroom, this difference is frequently associated with a higher referral rate for boys.


DCD is frequently associated with a number of diagnostic conditions. If more than one of these conditions is present, more than one diagnosis should be provided.

Children with DCD typically achieve early major motor milestones (e.g., walking) within the normal range, but may struggle to learn new motor skills (e.g., riding a tricycle). To meet the diagnostic criteria for DCD, the child’s motor coordination difficulties must have an impact on his or her ability to perform in self-care and/or academic areas (e.g., difficulty with buttons/zippers, drawing/painting).

  • Given the child’s opportunity for skill learning, learning and execution of coordinated motor skills is below age level.
  • Motor difficulties significantly impair daily living activities, academic productivity, prevocational and vocational activities, leisure, and play.
  • Onset is in the early stages of development.
  • Motor coordination problems are not explained better by intellectual retardation, visual impairment, or other neurological conditions that affect movement.

DCD is diagnosed in boys slightly more frequently than in girls. Children with DCD may also have additional conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and speech/language impairments. They may also struggle with self-esteem, behavior, and social and/or emotional issues. Because movement is so difficult for them, they may develop health problems. They may have poor fitness, be overweight, and suffer from heart disease as a result of inactivity.

How Effective Is Physiotherapy Treatment after Diagnosis

Physiotherapists are knowledgeable about normal and abnormal movement patterns, motor control, motor learning and development, and so on. They are useful in determining which areas require attention and in developing programmers for children with DCD. Physiotherapists can also educate and inform families and caregivers, as well as teachers and community workers.

Physiotherapy can assist children in becoming more active, improving their balance, increasing flexibility, strengthening muscles, improving core stability, developing coordination skills, and practicing motor skills. Physiotherapy can also help to reduce the long-term consequences of low activity levels such as obesity and poor cardiovascular health. Physio Dee Why can help you with this.

How Do Physical Trainers (PTs) Work

PTs help children with DCD improve their muscle strength, coordination, and balance. They also assist them in developing skills that will improve their daily activities and overall quality of life. Treatments for your child’s programmers may include:

  • Improve strength Your PT will teach you and your child muscle-building exercises. They will look for games and enjoyable tasks that will help them gain strength, lose weight, and improve their heart health. All of this is a part of sports physio.

There is some evidence for doing a strength training programmers that targets specific big muscles in the trunk (abdominals and back extensors), arms (pectorals major, deltoids, biceps, triceps), and legs (pectorals major, deltoids, biceps, triceps) (gluteus maximums, gluteus medias, quadriceps, hamstrings, gastronomies). Strength training helps to build muscle, which is important for joint protection and bone density. Strength gains should be translated into better performance on functional tasks.

  • Improve balance Your child’s PT may teach them exercises to help them improve their balance, such as standing on one foot.

It is frequently possible to create games for strengthening activities with children. Animal movements can be used to strengthen. Bear walking (on hands and feet, arm and leg on same side move together), duck walking (squat walk with hands on hips), frog jumps (start and end from a squat position), kangaroo jumps (upright, feet together), dog walk (crawling position, wag tail, scratch ear), wheelbarrows (straight trunk, no saggy tummy), swinging from monkey bars (walking one arm at These activities contribute significantly to the improvement of balance.

  • Improve body awareness Your PT may have your child participate in obstacle courses to teach them how to plan movements while having fun.

Children with DCD frequently struggle to make use of sensory information from their visual, tactile (touch), proprioception (joint position sense), and vestibular (speed and direction of body movement) systems. They can usually detect the sensation, but they cannot accurately interpret or analyze the sensory information to make good movement choices. Making the child aware of individual or combined sensory input may be beneficial, but this must be done in conjunction with functional tasks.

  • Improve skills through task-oriented and task-specific learning. Your child may pick up new skills, such as riding a bike. Your PT may advise you to make changes (such as using a three-wheeled bike or training wheels for bike riders) to keep your child safe as they learn new activities.


There has been a lot of research done to try to find the best way to help a child with DCD. Because each person’s condition is slightly different, one treatment strategy will not work for everyone. As a result, it is recommended that you try different physiotherapy services to ensure that your child receives the best treatment possible. To know more Talk to our Physiotherapy Experts


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