Parental perception of children with developmental coordination disorder


ckground: Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder which affects 5% of school aged children. DCD leads to immature movement skills and an underdeveloped repertoire of fine and gross motor skills in children. For parents with children with DCD, understanding and recognizing the early signs and symptoms of DCD is incredibly difficult, and most parents only acknowledge these early signs once their child is older and has been diagnosed with DCD. Currently, no literature has examined parents understanding of DCD in the early developmental years, pre-diagnosis. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of parental perceptions and misconceptions of their children who were identified as probable DCD (pDCD). Methods: Thirty parents, all of whom had children scoring below the 5th percentile on a test of motor abilities (ie, pDCD) were interviewed about their children's abilities to complete activities of daily living. Results: Three salient themes were identified: (1) Negative Affect – parents reported their children having negative feelings toward activities that had a high degree of motor demand, (2) Inaccurate Perception of Behaviour – parents attributed their child's inappropriate behaviours to the child being clumsy or lazy; and (3) De-emphasizing difficulties – parents would downplay their child's symptoms and become defensive when discussing their child's struggles. Conclusion: These findings indicate that a greater emphasis should be placed on educating parents in the early years regarding the signs and symptoms of DCD to ensure that children are receiving the treatment they need.