The identification of children with developmental coordination disorder by class and physical education teachers

J P Piek, K Edwards
British Journal of Educational Psychology 1997, 67: 55-67

BACKGROUND: Children diagnosed with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) have difficulty performing coordinated movements. In addition, these children have been found to have long-term social, emotional, behavioural and academic problems. Early identification is therefore important, and teachers may be very useful in this identification process.

AIMS: In the present study, the ability of physical education and class teachers to identify children with coordination problems using the Movement Assessment Battery for Children checklist was assessed.

SAMPLES: A total of 171 children was initially assessed. From this sample, 32 children found to have coordination problems were compared with 32 control children, matched on age, sex and Verbal IQ.

METHODS: Motor coordination difficulty was identified in children aged between 9 and 11 years using the performance test of the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC; Henderson & Sugden, 1992). These scores were then compared with the scores on the MABC checklist which was given to the child's class and physical education teachers.

RESULTS: Class teachers were only able to identify 25 per cent of the children with DCD, whereas physical education teachers were able to identify 49 per cent of the DCD children.

CONCLUSION: These differences were discussed in relation to the contextual settings in which the children were tested, based on the theory described by Sugden & Sugden (1991) in the development of their Motor Competence Checklist (MCC).

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