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Developmental Dysphasia

Developmental coordination disorder also known as developmental Dysphasia is a chronic neurological disorder beginning in childhood that can affect planning of movements and co-ordination as a result of brain messages not being accurately transmitted to the body. It may be diagnosed in the absence of other motor or sensory impairments like cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease.

A delay in attaining speech and language functions in children who are otherwise normal – no deafness, no mental retardation or other congenital defects of the lips, palate, and tongue or throat. The defect may be in understanding or in expressing, or both.

Various areas of development can be affected by developmental coordination disorder and these will persist into adulthood, as DCD has no cure. Often various coping strategies are developed, and these can be enhanced through occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy, or psychological training.

In addition to the physical impairments, developmental coordination disorder is associated with problems with memory, especially working memory. This typically results in difficulty remembering instructions, difficulty organizing one's time and remembering deadlines, increased propensity to lose things or problems carrying out tasks which require remembering several steps in sequence (such as cooking). Whilst most of the general population experience these problems to some extent, they have a much more significant impact on the lives of dyspraxic people. However, many dyspraxics have excellent long-term memories, despite poor short-term memory. Many dyspraxics benefit from working in a structured environment, as repeating the same routine minimises difficulty with time-management and allows them to commit procedures to long-term memory.

    Suspicion arises – if there is:

  • Inability to say a single word by 2 years.
  • Failure to speak 2 word phrases by 3 years.
  • Persisting articulation problem beyond 7 years.
  • Failure to respond to familiar names by first – birthday.
  • Failure to identify common objects by name by 18 months.
  • Failure to follow common instructions by 2 years.