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As rightly pointed out, although there are no known causes of developmental coordination disorder; however, there are various theories about its possible causes. Some theories attribute the disorder to biological causes such as prenatal complications as fetal malnutrition. According to Versfeld (n.d.), recent research has shown that the underlying reason for the movement difficulties children with developmental coordination disorder experience is related to atypical brain development that affects how the brain forms connections between different parts of the brain when learning a new skill. Thus, the child’s ability to use information from the senses to plan, adapt, and control movements are impacted. Research has also suggested that children with developmental coordination disorder may have difficulty planning a motor task, organizing movements, performing a coordinated action, and adjusting movements when demands change.
There is a link between developmental coordination disorder, attention, and anxious nature. Children with developmental coordination disorder have an overly cautious, fearful, or anxious temperament with the temperament trait known as behavioral inhibition (BI), which affects a child’s behavior, attention skills, and ability to take on challenges and learn new skills. Furthermore, some children with poor coordination also have generalized joint hypermobility, which is associated with a cautious or fearful nature. According to Versfeld (n.d.), some behavioral inhibition and anxiety behaviors include:
- Cautious or fearful response to an event or situation that is new, challenging, or unpredictable.
- Poor attention and emotional self-regulation-tantrums and meltdowns, distractible, fight or flight response to challenges.
- Avoidance as a strategy to manage negative arousal and anxiety.
- Intolerance of failure; do not like making mistakes, perfectionism.
- Fear of heights, loud and unpredictable noises, busy environments, and uncertainty.
- Social anxiety and separation anxiety.
There are assessment instruments for developmental coordination disorder. For instance, the developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire (DCD-Q) identifies motor coordination problems in children from eight years to 14 and a half. Another screening tool is the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC) (Sadock, Sadock, & Ruiz, 2014, pg. 3539), which is my preference because it indicates gross and fine motor skills for children four years to 16 years of age. Furthermore, MABC has a checklist with a reliable instrument within sections and overall. Since the nature and severity of issues in developmental coordination disorder is broad, an instrument for screening children with developmental coordination disorder must be able to measure a wide variety of motor skills (Sadock et al., 2014, pg. 3539). Another test to consider is the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency for Identifying Children with Motor Impairment (BOTMP). The BOTMP assesses motor skills in children from four and a half years to 14 and a half years old. The BOTMP provides a comprehensive index motor skill (Sadock et al., 2014, pg. 3539).
Pollck, N., Missiuna, C., McKechinie, A., Embrey, T. (2021). Causes of DCD. Retrieved from
Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (2014). Kaplan & Sadock’s synopsis of psychiatry: Behavioral
sciences/clinical psychiatry (11th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer
Versfeld, P. (n.d.). Developmental Coordination Disorder/Dyspraxia. Retrieved from