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Diagnostic Criteria

UK DCD descriptor (2018) Movement Matters


The descriptor below was developed and agreed by consensus in a group comprised of individuals representing a range of professional bodies and individuals with DCD in the UK which was organised by Movement Matters who represent the UK organisations with an interest in DCD.


Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), also known as Dyspraxia in the UK, is a common disorder affecting movement and coordination in children, young people and adults with symptoms present since childhood.


DCD is distinct from other motor disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke and occurs across the range of intellectual abilities. This lifelong condition is recognised by international organisations including the World Health Organisation.


A person’s coordination difficulties affect their functioning of everyday skills and participation in education, work, and leisure activities. Difficulties may vary in their presentation and these may also change over time depending on environmental demands, life experience, and the support given. There may be difficulties learning new skills.


The movement and coordination difficulties often persist in adulthood, although non-motor difficulties may become more prominent as expectations and demands change over time.


A range of co-occurring difficulties can have a substantial adverse impact on life including mental and physical health, and difficulties with time management, planning, personal organisation, and social skills.


With appropriate recognition, reasonable adjustments, support, and strategies in place people with DCD can be very successful in their lives.


The DSM V Diagnostic Criteria for Developmental Co-Ordination Disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2013)


A.  Motor performance that is substantially below expected levels, given the person's chronologic 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).


The disturbance is not due to a general medical condition (e.g., cerebral palsy, hemiplegia, or muscular dystrophy).


The ICD-11 International Classification of Diseases 11th Revision (2018)

6A04 Developmental motor coordination disorder


Developmental motor coordination disorder is characterised by a significant delay in the acquisition of gross and fine motor skills and impairment in the execution of coordinated motor skills that manifest in clumsiness, slowness, or inaccuracy of motor performance. Coordinated motor skills are substantially below that expected given the individual's chronological age and level of intellectual functioning. Onset of coordinated motor skills difficulties occurs during the developmental period and is typically apparent from early childhood. Coordinated motor skills difficulties cause significant and persistent limitations in functioning (e.g., in activities of daily living, school work, and vocational and leisure activities). Difficulties with coordinated motor skills are not solely attributable to a Disease of the Nervous System, Disease of the Musculoskeletal System or Connective Tissue, sensory impairment, and not better explained by a Disorder of Intellectual Development.








The effects of dyspraxia are different from person to person, and usually include sensory processing difficulties (e.g. hypersensitive to sound, light or touch) and several, or most of the following:


Great service, I needed a diagnosis and support with issues I am facing at work, and the assessment and report have provided that. I can bring the report to my employers, which will hopefully help them understand how they can support me in the workplace. The report is more straightforward to understand than expected, thank you!


Josh Utting (2022)