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Developmental Co-ordination Disorders (DCD)

therapy at Ryegate

The Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD) team is made up of occupational therapists, physiotherapists and therapy assistants who specialise in working with children up to 16 years old who have DCD and other related developmental disorders.

We are based at the Ryegate Children’s Centre in Sheffield.

What to expect

When a child comes to see us, we carry out comprehensive assessments of their motor skills. If appropriate, this may lead to a diagnosis of DCD.

We ask children to do activities using their hands such as drawing, using scissors or playing fiddly games, as well as gross motor activities such as running, jumping, throwing and catching.

Sometimes the assessments can be quite long, but this helps us to really understand your child’s needs.

We then provide advice and activities to help children develop their skills.

Achieving goals

Our service focuses on helping children and families to achieve their own goals relating to important things in their day to day lives.

Goals include a broad range of functional motor tasks such as getting dressed, using a knife and fork, riding a bike, handwriting, playing ball games or using scissors.

Often children are given activities to work on at home. Where appropriate, we will also liaise with school.

Our therapy assistants can sometimes provide additional help to work on specific goals.

We also run some groups to help with particular skills, such as learning to ride a bike.

We see children until all of their goals have been addressed. However, as children’s needs can change as they get older, they may be re-referred back to the DCD team at any time after they have been discharged if they need to work on new skills.

About DCD

The term Developmental Co-ordination Disorder is frequently shortened to ‘DCD’. Children with DCD have significant difficulties with fine and gross motor skills that impact on their day to day life. Sometimes DCD is referred to as ‘dyspraxia’.

DCD relates to difficulties with movement when there is no other specific reason or diagnosis that might impact on a child’s motor skills.

DCD often occurs with other developmental disorders, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyper-activity Disorder (ADHD), Dyslexia and Dyscalculia.

Motor skills

‘Motor skills’ refers to skills involving movement.

‘Fine motor’ tasks are those activities that involve using your hands, so children with DCD might struggle with tasks such as handwriting, using scissors, using cutlery, managing clothes fastenings, or opening food packets.

‘Gross motor’ relates to larger movements, so children with DCD might have difficulties with activities such as riding a bike, doing P.E., co-ordinating swimming strokes, or playing ball games.

When learning new tasks involving motor skills, children with DCD benefit from having clear instructions and a ‘step by step’ approach.

Children with DCD do not have general problems with learning, but just find it difficult to get the hang of tasks needing good motor skills. For children with DCD, skills can be mastered with lots of practice!


If you are concerned that your child may have DCD, then they can be referred to the DCD team at the Ryegate Children’s Centre for assessment.

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