Best practice principles for management of children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD): results of a scoping review

Chantal Camden, B Wilson, Amanda Kirby, D Sugden, C Missiuna

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Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a prevalent health condition that is frequently unrecognized despite the substantial evidence that has accumulated regarding how it affects children's health, education and skills. Most literature focuses on measurement of impairment and description of intervention approaches for individual children; little is known about the principles that should guide best practice and service delivery for children with DCD as a population. The purpose of this study was to identify these principles. Methods A scoping review was used to 'map' the information available to inform intervention and service delivery. Scholarly and grey literature written in English was identified in six databases, using a combination of keywords (e.g. guidelines, management, models and DCD); a 'snow-balling' technique was also used in Canada and the UK to access clinical protocols used in publicly funded health care systems. Over 500 documents were screened: 31 met inclusion criteria as they outlined practice principles for children with DCD as a population. Data regarding best practices were independently extracted by two reviewers and then compared with achieve consistency and consensus. Results Two over-arching themes emerged, with five principles: (1) Organizing services to efficiently meet the comprehensive needs of children (e.g. Increasing awareness of DCD and coordination; Implementing clearly defined pathways; Using a graduated/staged approach); (2) Working collaboratively to offer evidence-based services (e.g. Integration of child and family views; Evidence-based interventions fostering function, participation and prevention). Conclusion Numerous documents support each of the principles, reflecting agreement across studies about recommended organization of services. While these principles may apply to many populations of children with disabilities, this review highlights how essential these principles are in DCD. Researchers, managers, clinicians, community partners and families are encouraged to work together in designing, implementing and evaluating interventions that reflect these principles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-159
Number of pages12
JournalChild: Care, Health and Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Developmental Coordination Disorder
  • Scoping study
  • Best practice
  • DCD
  • childhood disability
  • intervention
  • rehabilitation
  • service delivery


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