Treatment for Kids With Developmental Coordination Disorder
The Understood Team
At a Glance
There are a number of ways specialists can help kids with DCD.
Occupational therapy and physical therapy are key treatments for kids with DCD.
There are no medications to treat DCD.
Whether you suspect that your child has
developmental coordination disorder (DCD) or you know for sure, it’s important to get treatment as early as possible. But what does that involve?
There is no medication or “cure” for DCD (
sometimes known as dyspraxia). There are therapies that can help improve motor skills, however. Different types of specialists may work with kids who have DCD.
Occupational therapists focus on coordination. Physical therapists may work on muscle strength. And other professionals may treat challenges that often co-occur with DCD.
Learn more about treatment for kids with DCD.
Therapies for DCD
Occupational therapy is the primary treatment for DCD. It helps kids gain motor skills and learn to do basic tasks that are needed for school and everyday living. These tasks include things like writing, typing, tying shoes and getting dressed.
An occupational therapist (OT) may work on multiple aspects of motor control. These include:
An OT may start by
doing an evaluation to determine where a child has weaknesses. (There are
other professionals who can also evaluate for movement issues.) From there, the therapist will come up with techniques and activities to address those weak spots. There are a number of ways OTs can help kids with DCD learn specific tasks and improve skills.
Your child’s school may provide occupational therapy for free through an
. There are also private OTs who work with kids for a fee. (Some insurance companies may cover OT for DCD.)
Kids with DCD may also get physical therapy (PT) to help improve weak muscles that are needed for motor activities. PT can help improve balance and coordination, too. That can make it easier for kids with DCD to do some basic daily living and school tasks.
Treatment for Co-Occurring Issues
DCD rarely occurs on its own, so kids with this condition may get treatment for other issues, as well. Many kids with DCD also have
, for example. To treat ADHD symptoms, they may take
medication or do
behavior therapy. Other issues that commonly co-occur include:
Kids might also get
accommodations in class. These might include worksheets that have the problems already written on them. Students might also get verbal and visual demonstrations to help with directions.