About this blog.

My son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at 24 months. I created this blog to bring meaning to the often-confusing label. Sometimes I have answers. Other times, just more questions.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Developmental Coordination Disorder

At Brad's recent evaluation (second opinion), the developmental pediatrician gave Brad a new diagnosis - "developmental coordination disorder" or "DCD." DCD is often used interchangeably with the term "dyspraxia." In theory, DCD is the term favored in the US, although in my experience, dyspraxia is widely used in common parlance in the US.

The New York Times reports that approximately 6% of school age children have some degree of this disorder. Like PDD and sensory processing disorder, DCD is hard to define.

The DSM-IV criteria follows:
A. Performance in daily activities that require motor coordination is substantially below that expected given the person's chronological age and measured Intelligence. This may be manifested by marked delays in achieving motor milestones (e.g., walking, crawling. sitting), dropping things, "clumsiness," poor performance in sports, or poor handwriting.

B. The disturbance in Criterion A significantly interferes with academic achievement or activities of daily living.

C. The disturbance is not due to a general medical condition (e.g., cerebral palsy, hemiplegia. or muscular dystrophy) and does not meet criteria for a Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

D. If Mental Retardation is present, the motor difficulties are in excess of those usually associated with it.
In light of C (above), technically, Brad's PDD diagnosis should rule out DCD. (Or maybe it's the other way around?) Moving on.

Wiki describes the motor challenges associated with DCD as follows:
  • Poor timing.
  • Poor balance (sometimes even falling over in mid-step). Tripping over one's own feet is also not uncommon.
  • Difficulty combining movements into a controlled sequence.
  • Difficulty remembering the next movement in a sequence.
  • Problems with spatial awareness, or proprioception.
  • Some people with dyspraxia have trouble picking up and holding onto simple objects due to poor muscle tone.
  • This disorder can cause an individual to be clumsy to the point of knocking things over and bumping into people accidentally.
  • Some dyspraxics have difficulty in determining left from right.
  • Cross-laterality, ambidexterity, and a shift in the preferred hand are also common in people with dyspraxia.
  • Dyspraxics may also have trouble determining the distance between them and other objects.
  • Some dyspraxics have difficulty achieving and maintaining continence either of bladder or bowel or both. Bedwetting or nocturnal enuresis is common.
Wiki indicates that the following speech and language problems are associated with DCD:
  • Difficulties controlling the speech organs.
  • Difficulties making speech sounds
  • Difficulty sequencing sounds within a word
  • Forming words into sentences
  • Difficulty controlling breathing and phonation.
  • Slow language development.
  • Difficulty with feeding
The Wiki description certainly fits Brad's present condition, but I'm skeptical as to the role of dyspraxia with respect to Brad's speech for two reasons. First, the Wiki description is unofficial and therefore should not be relied upon as authority. Second, Brad had a significant receptive language deficit at 24 months. (Early Intevention pegged his receptive language at 10 months when he was 24 months old.) My understanding is that a motor planning deficit, such as DCD, does not cause a receptive language delay (although it could cause an expressive language delay because talking itself requires motor coordination or praxis). Moreover, DCD doesn't account for the Brad's social deficits. While dyspraxia may play a role in Brad's speech challenges today, including phonological problems and stuttering (or "groping"), DCD doesn't appear to tell the whole story.

Update: The DCD label was included in Brad's "impression" report; it was part of his official diagnosis.


Anonymous said...

This is some really informative stuff. Thanks for the info. Having a son who is diagnosed with SID/SPD, I'm always interested in the various aspects of sensory integration, etc. Thanks!

Laura said...

ha! I'm still trying to figure it out.

Laura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.