Danita Morin & Heather Karras

Quality of Life of Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder

Authors: Heather Karras, Danita Morin, & Dr. Jill Zwicker

Introduction. Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is primarily a motor disorder, which affects a child’s ability to perform daily activities. Consequently, the child’s emotional and psychosocial functioning may be significantly impacted. Evidence suggests that children with DCD may experience lower quality of life than typically developing peers, but this has not been explicitly examined. Objectives. The purpose of this study is to examine the domains of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) that are most affected in 8-12 year old children with DCD. Differences in HRQOL of children with and without DCD and differences between parent and child reports were explored. Methods. In this cross-sectional study, quantitative data were collected from 50 children with DCD [Mean (SD) age: 9.8 (1.2) years] and their parents using the Kidscreen-52 and the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire. Analysis of data included descriptive statistics and one-way ANOVAs with correction for multiple comparisons to determine significant differences between children with DCD compared to published data on typically-developing children, and between parent and child reports. Linear regression analyses were used to determine if motor scores, comorbidities, and family demographics are associated with HRQOL. Results. Children with DCD report significantly lower HRQOL scores than the reference population samples. In all domains except Financial Resources, caregivers of children with DCD report significantly lower HRQOL scores than the norms. In many areas of HRQOL, caregivers of children with DCD have a significantly lower perception of their child’s HRQOL than the self-report perspective of the children. Parents of children with DCD report significantly more emotional and behavioral disturbances than the normative sample. Conclusion. This research aims to contribute to shaping the body of knowledge surrounding the effect of DCD on HRQOL. Findings inform targets of occupational therapy for children with DCD, beyond motor skill intervention.