Monday, February 11, 2013

Interventions for Developmental Coordination Disorder

Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology published a research review on the efficacy of interventions to improve motor performance in children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD).  Twenty six studies were included in the review.  Interventions were placed into four different types: 1) task-oriented intervention, (2) traditional physical therapy and occupational therapy, (3) process-oriented therapies, and (4) chemical supplements. The results indicated the following:
  • strong effects were seen with task oriented intervention and traditional physical and occupational therapy
  • weak effect with process oriented interventions
  • the evidence for chemical supplements for children with DCD was insufficient for a recommendation
Overall, the researchers concluded that task oriented intervention produced stronger effects.  Process oriented interventions are not recommended to improve the motor performance of children with DCD. 

Process oriented interventions are broad based and target an underlying process that the child has not developed sufficiently.  An example of this would be to improve kinesthetic function which in turn may improve functional motor performance.

Task oriented interventions focus on the task itself.  Working with the child's skills, the task is usually taught directly or broken down into component parts.  In general, a task oriented approach has been more successful for children with DCD.


Bouwien, C M  et al.  Efficacy of interventions to improve motor performance in children with developmental coordination disorder: a combined systematic review and meta-analysis. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. Volume 55, Issue 3, pages 229–237, March 2013.

Kirby, A. and Sugden, D. Children with developmental coordination disorders. J R Soc Med. 2007 April; 100(4): 182–186.

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