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Developmental co-ordination disorder

We provide assessments and interventions for developmental co-ordination disorder alongside our in house occupational therapists.

What is developmental co-ordination disorder?

Developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD) is a specific developmental disorder of motor function and impacts an individual’s gross and fine motor skills and their ability to complete certain daily tasks. DCD may also be known as Dyspraxia. In addition to affecting motor skills, memory, perception, speech and processing may also be impacted by DCD.

There are a number of indicators which may suggest that an individual could benefit from having an assessment or intervention, including:

DCD affects individuals in different ways, and when specific needs have been identified, they can then be addressed.

Specific developmental disorder of motor function

  • A disorder in which the main feature is a serious impairment in the development of motor co-ordination that is not solely explicable in terms of below developmentally appropriate general intellect or of any specific congenital or acquired neurological disorder. Nevertheless, in most cases a careful clinical examination shows marked neurodevelopmental immaturities such as choreiform movements of unsupported limbs or mirror movements and other associated motor features, as well as signs of impaired fine and gross motor co-ordination.
  • The term includes:
  • Clumsy child syndrome
  • Developmental:
  • Co-ordination disorder
  • Dyspraxia

International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, tenth edition (ICD-10)

A. Motor performance that is substantially below expected levels, given the person's chronological age and previous opportunities for skill acquisition. The poor motor performance may manifest as coordination problems, poor balance, clumsiness, dropping or bumping into things; marked delays in achieving developmental motor milestones (e.g., walking, crawling, sitting) or in the acquisition of basic motor skills (e.g., catching, throwing, kicking, running, jumping, hopping, cutting, colouring, printing, writing).

B. The disturbance in Criterion A, without accommodations, significantly and persistently interferes with activities of daily living or academic achievement.

C. Onset of symptoms is in the early developmental period.

D. The motor skill deficits are not better explained by intellectual disability (intellectual development disorder) or visual impairment and are not attributable to a neurological condition affecting movement (e.g., cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, degenerative disorder).

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5)

Our process

At HSR Psychology we ensure that we meet the needs of children and young people. To achieve this we ensure that any specific assessments, intervention, or direct work, is only carried out following an initial discussion.

An initial discussion allows us to understand the background and your expectations of our involvement. Having an initial discussion ensures any services we provide appropriately identify or address needs.

Our process for any specific assessments, intervention, or direct work is as follows:

Step 1: Contact us

We will usually be contacted by the child or young person, parent or carer, or another professional (eg education or health).

You can contact us or complete a referral

Step 2: Arrange an initial discussion

An initial discussion allows us to understand the background and your expectations of our involvement. Arrange an initial discussion

Step 3: Review our recommendations

Following an initial discussion we will send you an email that includes:

  • Next steps recommendations - to provide a bespoke package of support. For example:
    • Assessments
    • Reports
    • Information gathering
    • Meeting
    • Interventions
    • Consultancy
    • Reviews
  • Costing - we will provide costings for any services recommended.

Step 4: Let's get started

On receipt of the next steps recommendations and costing you can decide how to proceed. Once you have decided contact us to arrange the chosen services.

How is developmental co-ordination disorder assessed?

For a formal diagnosis of DCD, a cognitive assessment must be carried out to rule out a cognitive explanation of any motor difficulties. For instance, if a child or young person’s cognitive abilities were assessed as age 7, then it would not be expected for their motor skills to be of a higher age. If motor skills are at a significantly lower age than a cognitive age then that discrepancy could determine whether a child or young person has DCD or not. Our in house occupational therapists carry out the movement and daily functioning assessments, and our psychologists will complete the cognitive assessment.

Full cognitive assessment

A cognitive assessment is carried out to ensure that the motor difficulties do not have a cognitive explanation. Some of the areas which may be assessed during a cognitive assessment include:

Cognitive assessments also provide a profile of strengths and weaknesses, which enables us to provide strategies tailored to use strengths and support areas of need.

DCD is assessed by a multidisciplinary team and includes a number of assessments which will be chosen depending on the individual being assessed. An assessment for DCD will involve a full cognitive assessment alongside a selection of motor assessments. Assessments will be discussed during the initial discussion.

Which assessments do we use for developmental co-ordination disorder?

There are a range of assessments which can be used when assessing for DCD, although children and young people will not need all of the following assessments, they have all been included for your information:

  • WAIS - Wechsler adult intelligence scale is a cognitive assessment which measures; retention of information, reasoning, information processing, organisation of information and verbal comprehension
  • WISC-V - Wechsler intelligence scale for children can provide a profile of strengths and difficulties, including; verbal comprehension, working memory, processing speed, auditory working memory and general ability
  • BAS 3 - British ability scales assess children’s intellectual functioning and measure; verbal and spatial ability and non-verbal reasoning
  • Movement ABC-2 - Movement assessment battery for children assesses fine motor, balance and ball skills in children and young people from age 4
  • Beery VMI - Beery-Buktenica developmental test of visual-motor integration assesses visual-motor skills through asking individuals to copy various shapes and images
  • SNAP IV - The SNAP IV is a questionnaire frequently used as a screener to identify underlying attention difficulties which may be causing behaviours associated with DCD
  • Sensory Profile - A sensory profile may be carried out in order to identify alternative explanations for any DCD associated behaviours
  • DASH-17 - Detailed assessment of speed of handwriting assesses handwriting speed and legibility, which can provide further insights into motor skills and co-ordination
  • Over 17 adult developmental co-ordination checklist - This can be used with adults as a screener, or as part of a comprehensive assessment
  • Functional assessment - This provides information on how the difficulties impact an individual’s daily life: home, school and social and is collated from questionnaires, observations and interviews

The particular assessments chosen will depend on the child or young person’s needs and situations and will be discussed during an initial discussion.

What happens after an assessment?

After an assessment the information will be collated to show a profile of an individual’s strengths and difficulties. Following an assessment, a report will be provided with the findings and may include recommendations.

Following an assessment, our psychologists might recommend a specialist intervention to target particular areas of needs, or to work on coping strategies using identified strengths. If DCD is identified then a referral to a physiotherapist or occupational therapist may be required, and this can be done in house.

Understanding DCD in more detail and learning how to provide appropriate support helps children and young people to be happy, safe and ready for life’s challenges, which is why we offer psychoeducation of needs to parents/carers and education staff.

What interventions do we support?

Our team support many interventions. Interventions may be related to the following:

We also provide consultancy and recommendations in relation to environmental strategies or support. To find out about interventions which we can support, please contact us.

Developmental co-ordination disorder can impact multiple areas of a child or young person’s daily life, in particular fine and gross motor skills. Early needs identification can lead to effective intervention to provide strategies and techniques. To book an Initial Discussion, or to find out more, then please contact us to speak to a member of our team.

Arrange an Initial Discussion

Arrange an Initial Discussion to find out how we can help. The initial discussion lasts 1-1.5 hours, comes with a written recommendation summary and is a starting point to identify needs. The cost is £195.

  • No waiting lists
  • Experienced psychologists
  • Includes recommendation summary

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What makes us different

Access to a named psychologist

Focus on mental health and wellbeing

Joined-up approach

Bespoke services to meet needs

Multidisciplinary team

Holistic approach

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Flexible, consistent, and competitively priced

We provide bespoke solutions to suit all budgets and requirements for children and young people aged 0-25 in homes, education settings and the community. Our clinical, educational and child psychology services are cost effective.

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Make a referral

To make a referral and arrange an initial discussion please complete our referral form.

Make a referral

Contact us

Ready to get started? The next step is to speak to our team to find out more about the services we provide and how we can help. Call us on 0161 820 9229 or email

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