Child: Care, Health and Development
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Edith Cowan University - Open Access Support Scheme 2020
To allow for accurate and timely diagnosis of developmental coordination disorder (DCD) key stakeholders must be familiar with and be able to identify features of this disorder. No studies to date have investigated the awareness of DCD among key stakeholders in Australia.
An online survey was complete by 494 Australian participants: primary caregivers (n = 153), teachers (n = 149), allied health professionals (n = 165) and medical professionals (n = 27).
DCD and related terms were among the least known childhood disorders. Approximately half of the sample were familiar with the term DCD but every stakeholder group were more familiar with the term dyspraxia. Allied health professionals demonstrated greater knowledge of the features of DCD, particularly motor features. Every stakeholder group showed poor recognition of the social and psychological effects of DCD. A relatively low percentage of allied health (53%) and medical (33%) professionals reported they had identified or diagnosed DCD and less than 20% of these felt that the DSM‐5 contained adequate information to make a DCD diagnosis. Most teachers (82%) believed they should play a role in identifying early warning signs of this disorder, and 80% believed there are children in the school system who were labelled as lazy or defiant when they have motor skills impairments. Primary caregivers were supportive of a diagnosis of DCD being provided; however, only 16% were confident that a physician would provide an accurate and timely diagnosis.
Key stakeholders play a unique and important role in the identification of children with DCD. Though most participants acknowledge the role that they play, all stakeholder groups demonstrated poor familiarity with the term DCD and low levels of knowledge about the features of this disorder. Improved familiarity and knowledge of the disorder is needed for access to appropriate services and improved long‐term outcomes for this condition.
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