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Keywords:

  • aetiology;
  • Developmental Coordination Disorder;
  • joint hypermobility syndrome

Abstract

Background  Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS) and Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) are two childhood disorders usually identified separately. DCD is a heterogeneous condition with little known of the underlying aetiology of the disorder. This paper examines the potential overlap between DCD and JHS and examines children with DCD for symptoms which may be consistent with a diagnosis of JHS. Implications for research and clinical practice are considered.

Methods  A questionnaire covering a range of symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of JHS and related autonomic nervous systemic symptoms was completed by parents from 27 children with DCD and compared with responses from parents of 27 typically developing children.

Results  Children with DCD showed a significant difference from the group of typically developing children on questions regarding hypermobility, pain and autonomic nervous system symptoms, typifying JHS.

Conclusions  This study has shown a similarity in symptoms seen in some DCD children to those with a diagnosis of JHS. In addition, children are also presenting with multi-system symptomatology including those involving the autonomic nervous system. This study reinforces other recent work showing the reverse pattern of JHS children showing similar functional similarities to DCD children. This has implications for future research in DCD in order to understand the underlying aetiology of this complex disorder. In addition, it is important for clinicians to be aware of these findings in order to provide appropriate and tailored support and treatment for children presenting with differing patterns of co-ordination difficulties. Children with DCD and JHS may require appropriate podiatry as well as recognition of their symptoms of pain and how this may affect participation in physical activity.