Did you play pro football, stand out as a college basketball star or gracefully dance and tumble as a gymnast? Yet your child can’t seem to walk a straight line without tripping over his/her own foot? Before you sign your child up for private coaching lessons, read on….
*6% of children between the ages of 5-11 have Developmental Coordination Disorders (DCD) or “clumsiness”.
*5-6% of all school aged kids have potential learning disabilities and of that population 90% have coordination or visuomotor problems.
Hypotonia or low muscle tone could be the main contributor to this “clumsiness.” This is commonly a result of low birth weight, poor prenatal care or higher neonatal care needs.
Children with DCD often demonstrate abnormal or immature movement patterns, poor motor control or floppy or slouched body posturing. It may also be difficult for these children to imitate asked movement patterns/skills or follow 2-3 step commands.
Further, their association of spatial awareness is altered making it more common for them to lack hand-eye coordination or be at greater risk of falling or running into obstacles.
Interventions that attempt to improve these deficits and overall motor performance must be individualized and task specific if change is expected. Though PT will not “cure” this disorder, it will provide that individualized attention while helping build confidence, improve strength and possibly re-teach correct movement patterns to allow children to be more successful with age appropriate gross motor skills and in turn make them more motivated to be active vs. sitting at home playing Nintendo DS or watching TV.
Kristen Collins, PT, DPT
Info taken from Physical Therapy for Children, 2000.