Canadian Doctors and Teachers Overlook Developmental Coordination Disorder
Special study finds that doctors overwhelmingly call for more research on this condition, and that teachers believe that children affected by motor skills impairments have been mislabeled.
A special health study on Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion for the non-profit Multidisciplinary Team with a Vision (MTV) finds that the level of awareness about this condition is particularly low among Canadian parents, physicians and teachers.
The online survey of a sample of 1,297 respondents sought to gauge perceptions on DCD—a credible and well-researched condition that affects motor performance. DCD becomes apparent in childhood and persists into adulthood. Coordination difficulties caused by DCD affect the person’s ability to perform everyday tasks. While children with DCD typically have average cognitive abilities, they struggle to hold a pencil, tie their shoes, or participate in sports. Children with DCD are at greater risk for depression, social isolation, and suicide.
The study found that only nine per cent of family doctors and 23 per cent of pediatricians interviewed have made a diagnosis of DCD, in spite of the fact it impacts one child in every average sized classroom. In addition, less than a third of the pediatricians who are familiar with the condition have associated it with social skills challenges and depression.
A large majority of teachers (78%) believe there are children in the school system labelled as lazy or defiant who in fact have gross and/or fine motor skills impairments, and only 23 per cent feel there are adequate support professionals for special needs children in the school system.
Most parents (94%) believe education and health care should work together to help identify early childhood conditions, and only 48 per cent agree that there are adequate resources in place to support children with specific conditions.
“This study validates what we know clinically and what we have learned in smaller, regional studies,” said Nancy Pollock, Investigator for Childhood Disability Research at McMaster University. “Most people who are in a position to help children with DCD don’t know about it.”
Download the presentation “DCD – The Missing Diagnosis” (PDF)
Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)
Kristine Neil, Vice President, Research
+403 543 2144
Methodology: From December 2010 to February 2011, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 594 physicians, 501 Canadian parents, and 202 Canadian teachers. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 4.0% for the sample of physicians, +/- 4.4% for the sample of parents, and +/- 6.9% for the sample of teachers. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.