Diagnostic services for developmental coordination disorder: Gaps and opportunities identified by parents

Erin S. Klein, Melissa Licari, Skye Barbic, Jill G. Zwicker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Affecting one in 20 children, Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder impacting a child's ability to learn motor skills. Despite its high prevalence, DCD is under-recognized and under-diagnosed, causing unnecessary frustration and stress for families who are seeking help for their child. This study aimed to understand how parents procure diagnostic services and their perspectives on needed supports and services to improve early identification and diagnosis of DCD. Methods: Using a multi-pronged recruitment strategy, we circulated the impACT for DCD online questionnaire to parents of children (<18 years) in British Columbia with suspected or diagnosed DCD. Data were analysed descriptively using medians/interquartile ranges for continuous data and frequencies/percentages for categorical data. Open-ended questions were analysed using exploratory content analysis. Results: A total of 237 respondent data were analysed. Parents identified poor awareness and understanding of health care professionals and educators regarding aetiology, symptomology, and impacts of DCD, affecting timely access to diagnostic services. Long waitlists were also a barrier that often led families with financial means to procure private diagnostic assessments. Conclusion: A standard of care is needed for streamlined diagnostic services, enabling early identification and early intervention. A publicly funded, family-centred, collaborative care approach is critical to assess, diagnose, and treat children with this disorder and to mitigate the secondary physical and mental health consequences associated with DCD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13130
JournalChild: Care, Health and Development
Volume50
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

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