OTTAWA, Sept. 16, 2011 /CNW/ - Canadian students are back in the
classroom, but some will find the experience a challenge. It's
estimated that as many as six per cent* of school age children have
poor coordination that affects their ability to learn. This
under-recognized motor-based learning disability is called
Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) and Canadian physiotherapists
play a key role in the early identification, assessment and management
of the condition.
DCD is difficult to diagnose — it affects patterns of motor behaviour,
but there are no medical or neurological conditions which could explain
the poor coordination. Children with DCD appear awkward or clumsy, and
they have difficulty performing common everyday tasks which can
interfere with school performance and regular daily activities.
"Children with DCD may have problems tying their shoes, buttoning
buttons, or catching a ball," says physiotherapist Lisa Rivard, a
member of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, who works at CanChild
Centre for Childhood Disability Research at McMaster University.
"Physiotherapists help children learn how to direct their body to
accomplish the task at hand."
Teachers are often the first to notice trouble with fine motor skills,
like an inability to properly form printed letters or draw objects, but
children with DCD may also have difficulties with recreational
activities, such as jumping rope or learning to ride a bicycle. The
route to DCD diagnosis can be long, says Rivard, so early intervention
"Usually families have some inkling that something's not quite right
with their child," says Rivard. "If that suspicion's there, then it's
important to see a health professional, such as a physiotherapist, as
soon as possible to learn strategies to manage the motor difficulties."
Physiotherapists are skilled in the assessment of body mechanics and
movement patterns, providing valuable information to help physicians
diagnose DCD. Early physiotherapy intervention can help a child with
DCD to succeed at challenging physical activities by teaching movement
skills and improving strength, flexibility, agility and endurance.
"As physiotherapists our goal is to give children with DCD and their
families the information they need to be able to overcome future
challenges on their own, outside of the clinic environment," says
To find a physiotherapist with experience treating children, visit www.physiotherapy.ca, or to learn more about DCD, visit CanChild Centre for Child Disability Research.
*Figure courtesy of the American Psychiatric Association
SOURCE Canadian Physiotherapy Association
For further information:
For information and interview, contact Tara Jackson, Public Relations Manager, Canadian Physiotherapy Association at 1-800-387-8679, x222, or firstname.lastname@example.org.