Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology


Terminology used in research reports of developmental coordination disorder

Lívia C Magalhães  a1 c1, Cheryl Missiuna  a2 a3 and Shirley Wong  a4
a1 Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.
a2 School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
a3 CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
a4 McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


A systematic search was performed of all articles from January 1995 to December 2005 published in peer-reviewed journals on children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). Criteria were applied to ensure that articles included DCD so 319 articles were included in the analysis. Since the publication of a systematic search conducted in 1994, the number of publications in this field has greatly increased across countries and disciplines. The term DCD was used in 52.7% of the articles. Other terms were used less frequently: clumsy children (7.2%), developmental dyspraxia (3.5%), handwriting problems (3.1%), hand–eye coordination problems (2.8%), sensory integration dysfunction (2.5%), deficits in attention, motor control, and perception (2.5%), minor neurological dysfunction (2.2%), and several other scattered terms (23.5%). The data indicated that progress has been made in the usage of the term DCD, but a standardized approach has not yet been achieved. Without consistent use of the term DCD, there is limited communication of research results internationally, slowed progress in understanding the condition, and limited development of intervention and management programmes for children with DCD.

(Published Online October 18 2006)
(Accepted June 16 2006)

c1 Escola de Educação Fisica, Fisioterapia e Terapia Ocupacional, Depto. de Terapia Ocupacional, Av. Antônio Carlos, 6.627 – Campus Pampulha, 31270-901 Belo Horizonte – MG, Brazil. E-mail: