Monitoring the Educational Performance of Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder


Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) are a heterogeneous group who have a marked impairment in the performance of functional motor skills. Provision for these children is usually made via a paediatrician through occupational or physiotherapy, though with a prevalence rate of 5%, regular provision is rarely possible due to limited professional resources


The project sought to answer a number of questions, including:

  • What are the courses of DCD over a 4 year period?
  • Are there profiles which show variability and others stability?How is comorbidity displayed?
  • Do associated disorders change over the period of time?
  • Are there individual progression patterns and/or can clusters of progression be identified?
  • How do the clusters of progression relate to educational intervention/attention?
  • Do the views of children, teachers and parents agree with each other with respect to each child's level of performance?


This study followed a group of 26 children (aged 9 to 11 years) previously involved in an intervention study for two years.


The study involved a systematic monitoring of 26 children over a two-year period and was not restricted to motor performance data but included a number of educational profiles - educational achievement, social competencies, self-concept, behaviour and other specific abilities such as language. A significant feature of this work was the tracking of individual children using a variety of qualitative and quantitative approaches and building up longitudinal profiles.


From the results it has been possible to develop a number of different profiles. Eight of the 26 children have consistently shown stability in all areas during the study. Fifteen children have profiles which have shown variability, while the remaining three children have consistently scored poorly in their movement skills and received ongoing support in school for academic subjects. Seven children continue to display comorbidity: four children have behavioural difficulties, three have dyslexia and 15 children continue to receive support in school for academic work


The study has confirmed that children with DCD show varying profiles over a period of time and that the profiles have distinct characteristics related to events in the child's life.

Project Publications

Chambers, M.E. & Sugden, D.A. (2005) Early Years Movement Skills. Description, Diagnosis and Intervention. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons.

Sugden, D.A. & Chambers, M.E. (Eds.) (2005) Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder. London: Whurr Publishers Ltd. 319pp.

Sugden, D.A. & Chambers, M.E. (in press) Stability and change in children with developmental coordination disorder. Child: Care, Health and Development.