The association between developmental coordination disorder and other developmental traits

Raghu Lingam, Jean Golding, Marian J Jongmans, Linda P Hunt, Matthew Ellis, Alan Emond
Pediatrics 2010, 126 (5): e1109-18

OBJECTIVE: To explore associations between developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and attention, language, social skills, and academic ability in a population-based cohort.

METHODS: We analyzed data (N = 6902) from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Probable DCD was defined as children below the 15th centile of the ALSPAC Coordination Test aged 7 years with functional impairment in activities of daily living or handwriting, excluding children with neurologic difficulties or an IQ of <70. Four developmental domains were assessed by using standardized tests between the ages of 7.5 and 9 years: attention; language skills (expressive language, comprehension, short-term memory); social skills (nonverbal skills and social communication); and academic ability (reading and spelling). The worst 5% of each trait was used to define impairment. We used multiple logistic regression models to assess the association between probable DCD and each trait. Our final model controlled for IQ, socioeconomic factors, and other developmental traits not in the domain assessed.

RESULTS: A total of 346 (5.0%) children met criteria for probable DCD. Probable DCD was associated with difficulties in attention (odds ratio [OR]: 1.94 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.17-3.24]), nonword repetition (OR: 1.83 [95% CI: 1.26-2.66]), social communication (OR: 1.87 [95% CI: 1.15-3.04]), reading (OR: 3.35 [95% CI: 2.36-4.77]), and spelling (OR: 2.81 [95% CI: 2.03-3.90]).

CONCLUSIONS: Children with probable DCD had an increased risk of difficulties in attention, social skills, reading, and spelling. These additional difficulties need to be screened for during assessment and considered when formulating interventions.

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