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Examining the cognitive profile of children with Developmental Coordination Disorder

Sumner, E., Pratt, M. L. & Hill, E. L. ORCID: 0000-0003-3130-1271 (2016). Examining the cognitive profile of children with Developmental Coordination Disorder. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 56, pp. 10-17. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2016.05.012


Background. While primarily a motor disorder, research considering the cognitive abilities in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is limited; even though these children often struggle academically.

Aims. The present study aimed to characterise the IQ profile of children with and without DCD, and to identify whether children with DCD exhibit specific cognitive weaknesses.

Methods and Procedures. 104 children participated in the study. Fifty-two children (mean age, 9 years) with a diagnosis of DCD were matched to 52 typically-developing children by age and gender. Cognitive ability was assessed using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV).

Outcomes and Results. Children with DCD performed poorer than their peers on processing speed and working memory measures. Individual analyses revealed varied performance in the DCD group across all cognitive indices, despite displaying Full-Scale IQs in the typical range. Discriminant function analyses show processing speed and working memory performance predicted only 23% of between-group variability.

Conclusions. Children with DCD present with a heterogeneous cognitive profile, lending support to individual case analyses in research and when designing educational assistance plans. The motorically-demanding nature of the WISC-IV processing speed tasks raises specific concerns about using this index of the IQ assessment in this population. Research and practical implications are raised.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2016. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Publisher Keywords: Cognitive ability, Developmental Coordination Disorder , (DCD), Diagnosis, Intelligence, Motor impairment
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
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