Developmental Coordination Disorder: the impact on the family

Mary Cleaton, Paula Lorgelly, Amanda Kirby

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    Purpose: Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with an estimated prevalence of 2-6 % in school-aged children. Children with DCD score lower in multiple quality-of-life (QOL) domains. However, the effect of a child’s DCD on their parents’ and family’s QOL has not previously been assessed in a UK population. We aimed to assess parental and family QOL within UK families containing at least one child aged 6-18 years who was diagnosed with DCD.

    Methods: A mixed-methods study was designed, using an online questionnaire that incorporated the Family QOL Scale and the 12-Item Short Form Health Survey.

    Results: The emotional and disability support domains of family QOL were markedly negatively affected by DCD, with lack of support by medical and educational professionals cited as a major source of stress. Parental mental health was also negatively affected. In many cases, the child’s DCD impacted on parental work-life, family social life and siblings’ wellbeing.

    Conclusions: Having a child with DCD has a considerable impact on families. This needs to be recognised by healthcare and other professionals; otherwise, services and support may not be appropriately targeted and the negative sequelae of DCD may ripple beyond the individual with costly social and economic consequences.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages10
    JournalQuality of Life Research
    Early online date10 Dec 2018
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Dec 2018


    • Developmental Coordination Disorder
    • DCD
    • Family quality of life
    • healthcare support
    • emotional support
    • Family
    • Parent
    • Work life
    • Sibling


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