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Introduction

Children who have developmental coordination disorder (DCD) have previously been given a wide variety of diagnoses, including but not limited to developmental dyspraxia, motor impaired, clumsy child syndrome, perceptual motor difficulties, and sensory integrative dysfunction (Baxter, 2012; Blank, Smits-Engelsman, Polatajko, & Wilson, 2012; Sugden & Chambers, 2005). Over the past several years, physicians, therapists, and school personnel have identified common characteristics that apply to most of these children. Common characteristics include but are not limited to low muscle tone, balance deficits, awkward running pattern, difficulty following two- to three-step motor commands, learning difficulties, poor interactive play skills, perceptual deficits, slower response time, and decreased fitness levels (Barnett, Hill, Kirby, & Sugden, 2015; Blank et al., 2012; Blank et al., 2019; Cairney, Hay, Veldhuizen, & Faught, 2011; Cignetti et al., 2018; Dannemiller, Mueller, Leitner, Iverson, Parker, & Kaplan, 2020). The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA’s) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) identifies a diagnostic category of DCD for children who meet the following qualifying conditions: (1) marked impairment in development of motor coordination; (2) impairment that interferes with academic achievement or activities of daily living (ADLs); (3) coordination difficulties that are not due to a general medical condition or pervasive developmental disorder; and (4) if mental retardation is present, the motor difficulties are in excess of those usually associated with it (APA, 2013). ICD-10-CM codes were updated in 2018. The code for DCD is now F82 and the condition is located under the category “Specific Developmental Disorder of Motor Function” (ICD-10Data.com, 2018).

The prevalence of DCD is estimated to be 5% to 6% of all school-age children (APA, 2013; Blank et al., 2019; Dannemiller et al., 2020; Pieters et al., 2012). Because of this high prevalence, physical therapists are called on frequently to provide assessments and interventions for children with DCD (Miyahara, Hillier, Pridham, & Nakagawa, 2017; Smits-Engelsman et al., 2018).

Children with DCD often exhibit multiple comorbidities (Blank et al., 2019; Cignetti et al., 2018; Dannemiller et al., 2020; Pieters et al., 2012; Wilson, Ruddock, Smits-Engelsman, Polatajko, & Blank, 2013; Wilson et al., 2017). Because of the complexity of DCD, physical therapists address not only impairments in strength, balance, and coordination, but also impairments in respiration and endurance (Cairney et al., 2011; Cairney & Veldhuizen, 2013). Boys with DCD have been found to spend less time participating in activities that require moderate to vigorous physical activity and more time in low-intensity physical activities (Poulsen, Barker, & Ziviani, 2011; Smits-Engelsman, Mgalhaes, Oliveira, & Wilson, 2015). Parents of children with DCD have identified additional concerns as their children have matured. For example, early concerns in the areas of motor ability and play evolved into concerns with ...

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