A common developmental disorder is being missed as it often coexists with other neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD or autism.
Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) affects about one child in every Australian classroom but is little known, even among health professionals and educators.
DCD effects motor skills and coordination so children with DCD have trouble with getting dressed, eating, writing, running, or playing.
But because it is obscured by other conditions a DCD diagnosis can often be delayed and children can wait several years for treatment once parents first raise concern.
Researchers at Victoria University in Melbourne and Telethon Kids Institute in Perth surveyed parents of 443 children across Australia for the Impact for DCD Survey, the largest survey ever conducted in the world on family impacts of the condition. Their report provides an evidence-based blueprint to better support children with DCD and their families.
VU co-researcher Dr Jacqueline Williams says the report aims to raise awareness and ensure better standardised diagnosis, treatment and support for the lifelong disorder. It calls on state and federal governments to recognise DCD and provide financial support for improved therapies and services.
As DCD children are eligible only until age seven for NDIS ‘developmental delays’ funding, many parents also report significant and long-term out-of-pocket expenses for therapists such as exercise physiologists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists or psychologists.
Telethon Kids co-researcher Dr Melissa Licari said more than 80% of families surveyed reported DCD negatively affected their child’s potential at school because teachers were unaware of the condition, and nearly all were concerned about the social and emotional health of their child.
The report recommends
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