How OT's can help with DCD

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How Occupational Therapists work children affected by this disorder

July 11, 2016, Chanel Tuffley

The most important part of intervention an OT addresses, is making sure that the sessions are fun. Occupational therapy for children with DCD are typically direct interventions, where the goal is to improve their performance in self-care and academic tasks, as well as looking at facilitating their participation in the classroom and playground. (Hanft & Shepherd, 2008). OT’s pay more attention to a child’s fine motor control, hand function, handwriting, perception and daily activities.

These interventions are generally individualised and involve assessments to discover what area requires attention to improve their underlying motor impairment (Polatajko & Cantin, 2006). As well as educating the parents around the diagnosis and difficulties, OT’s also focus on educating and liasing with their school teacher so that they build skills in recognising and supporting these children in the classroom (Villeneuve, 2009), and in turn are able to gain knowledge around how to create successful experiences for the child in various aspects such as writing and copying, art and design and physical education (Wilson, 2005).


Hanft, B., & Shepherd, J. (Eds.). (2008). Collaborating for student success: A guide for school-based occupational therapy. Bethesda, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.

Polatajko, H. J., & Cantin, N. (2006). Developmental coordination disorder (dyspraxia): An overview of the state of the art. Seminars in Pediatric Neurology. 12. 250-258.

Villeneuve, M. (2009). A critical examination of school-based occupational therapy collaborative consultation. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. 76. 206-218.

Wilson, P. H. (2005). Practitioner review: Approaches to assessment and treatment of children with DCD: An evaluative review. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry. 46. 806-823. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2005.01409.x