Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Developmental Coordination Disorder

  • Fred R. VolkmarEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_2034-3


Short Description or Definition

Children who present marked difficulties with motor movements have been known since ancient times. Terms like “cerebral palsy” have been used in the past particularly to refer to situations where these problems appear to relate to some specific process, e.g., birth trauma. Although a medical etiology is sometimes seen, this is less likely in cases that are less severe. The term “developmental coordination disorder” is currently used.


In DSM-IV, this condition is defined based on the presence of motor difficulties greater than expected (given age or developmental level) and not due to some other conditions like autism. Motor difficulties are sometimes seen with other developmental problems, e.g., language or learning disorders. Interestingly some work has been done on the constellation of social-emotional difficulties, motor, and attentional problems (the DAMP syndrome; see Ehlers et al. 1997).


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References and Reading

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. Text revision.Google Scholar
  2. Ehlers, S., Nyden, A., Gillberg, C., Sandberg, A. D., Dahlgren, S. O., Hjelmquist, E., et al. (1997). Asperger syndrome, autism and attention disorders: A comparative study of the cognitive profiles of 120 children. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry & Allied Disciplines, 38(2), 207–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Gillberg, C., & Kadesjo, B. (2003). Why bother about clumsiness? The implications of having developmental coordination disorder (DCD). Neural Plasticity, 10(1–2), 59–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Gillberg, C., & Kadesjoe, B. (2000). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and developmental coordination disorder. In T. E. Brown (Ed.), Attention-deficit disorders and comorbidities in children, adolescents, and adults (pp. 393–406). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.Google Scholar
  5. Smyth, M. M., & Mason, U. C. (1997). Planning and execution of action in children with and without developmental coordination disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38(8), 1023–1037.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Volkmar, F. R., & Martin, A. (2011). Essentials of child and adolescent psychiatry. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins.Google Scholar
  7. Wann, J. (2007). Current approaches to intervention in children with developmental coordination disorder. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 49(6), 405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Child Study Center, Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics and PsychologyYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA