Motor Skills Disorder
(as defined by the American Academy of Pediatrics)
Motor skills disorder, also known as developmental coordination disorder, is diagnosed when motor skills problems significantly interfere with academic achievement or activities of daily living. Motor skills disorder involves a developmental delay of movement and posture that leaves children with coordination substantially below that of others of their age and intelligence level.
It is frequently overlooked in children with ADHD due to its nonspecific cluster of symptoms—yet it can affect children’s lives by interfering with writing and other academic activities or preventing children from participating at their classmates’ level in sports and play. Children with ADHD and other learning disabilities frequently have motor skills disorder as well. Motor skills disorder involves a developmental delay of movement and posture that leaves children with coordination substantially below that of others of their age and intelligence level.
Motor skills disorder may be first identified when a preschooler or kindergartner is unable to perform age-appropriate skills such as buttoning buttons and catching a ball, or an elementary school child struggles with writing or sports activities. A child with motor skills disorder may have difficulty with the mechanics of writing, with planning motor actions, or with memorizing motor patterns. While many young children with ADHD but no motor skills disorder may seem clumsy in their younger years, their awkwardness is related more to inattentiveness or impulsivity than to poor motor control and is frequently outgrown. A child with ADHD and coexisting motor skills disorder may not outgrow her clumsiness.
If your child is diagnosed with developmental coordination disorder, she may be referred to a pediatric occupational therapist for individualized therapy and, particularly if her deficits negatively affect her academic performance or daily skills, be recommended for special gym activities at school to promote hand-eye coordination and motor development and improve specific skills.
For more on this topic, please visit: Motor Skills Disorders