• Open Access

Awareness and knowledge of developmental co-ordination disorder among physicians, teachers and parents

Authors


Correspondence:

Brenda N. Wilson, MS, OT(C), Alberta Health Services, Alberta Children's Hospital, 2888 Shaganappi Trail N.W., Calgary, AB, Canada T3B 6A8

E-mail: brenda.wilson@albertahealthservices.ca

Abstract

Background

Obtaining a diagnosis of developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD) is a long, inconsistent and frustrating journey for families, with apparently little awareness of DCD in schools or the medical community.

Methods

An online survey was completed by 1297 participants: parents (n = 501), teachers (n = 202), family/general physicians (n = 339) and paediatricians (n = 255).

Results

Only 20% of the sample had knowledge of DCD, with 41% of the paediatricians and 23% of family/general physicians familiar. Of participants who have awareness, only 11–59% have knowledge of the impact of DCD on social, emotional and physical health. Less than 30% of physicians have awareness of the secondary consequences. Few physicians diagnose DCD and less than one-third believe it is easy to make a diagnosis; this is in contrast to the fact that most parents report confidence in their physician's ability to make a timely diagnosis.

Conclusions

If less than one-half of physicians have knowledge of DCD and even fewer are knowledgeable of the secondary consequences of the condition, it is not surprising that DCD is infrequently diagnosed and that families need to search for support. This survey confirms observations that the condition is not well known and there is a need for greater awareness of DCD.

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