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What is the treatment for developmental coordination disorder (DCD)?

There is no cure for DCD, also known as developmental dyspraxia, but physiotherapy and occupational therapy can help the child learn the more complex motor skills by breaking down the difficult skill into smaller components and practising until mastery is achieved. Being able to master a new skill helps to reduce frustration and produce a sense of accomplishment in the child. The health care team will also encourage the child to participate in an active lifestyle to prevent long-term health complications.

How is a child diagnos​ed with DCD?

"A paediatrician will first have to rule out other possible causes of the motor difficulties and “clumsiness”. Following that, a thorough assessment by a physiotherapist and/or occupational therapist will help gather more information about the child’s motor difficulties and come up with a plan for treatment," say ​Aye Aye Myint and Chua Shuzhen, Senior Physiotherapists, Rehabilitation Department​, ​​KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth​​ group.​​​​​

Some suggested activities to improve motor coordination in all children

(Note: All activities should be done under parental supervision. Please check with your doctor or physiotherapist / occupational therapist if you are unsure.)

  • Strengthening the shoulder muscles:
    • Wheel-barrowing
    • Pull-ups
    • Push-ups
  • Strengthening the core (trunk) muscles:
    • Sit-ups
    • Bridging
  • Developing hand-eye coordination and visual tracking skills:
    • Throwing and catching a ball
    • Playing tennis, table-tennis, baseball, football
  • Developing bilateral (right-left) coordination:
    • Cycling, swimming, throwing and catching a ball, climbing up a ladder
  • Developing hand skills:
    • Playing five-stones
    • Squashing and rolling play dough with both hands
    • Playing the piano
  • Developing balance:
    • Tandem walk
    • Stand on one leg, eyes open or eyes closed
    • Walk backwards
    • Hop on one leg

Ref: T12