Are you coordinated?

Did you know there is a disorder called Developmental Coordination Disorder?  Do you trip and  fall down a lot, and clumsy overall?  Were you a struggling student, but never understood why?  Was getting dressed a real chore and sitting in a chair difficult, anything to do with writing, avoided as much as possible?  It sounds similar to ADD, doesn’t it, but it’s different and this disorder varies by degree far and wide.  Meaning you can have this disorder without being clumsy or not too noticeably clutzy. You might just be awkward, like a soccer player that is not a smooth runner, a little herky-jerky with movements and slow.  Or, some baseball maneuvers aren’t as “fluid,” but take a second to process before picking up the ball, then making a step, then throwing the ball.  Instead of it being a “quick” powerful combination of moves, the process takes a second too long- often Resulting in the runner being safe at first.  Or maybe you just practiced long enough, but you still aren’t the graceful player.

I only know this disorder, because our 11-year-old son was recently diagnosed with this as a learning disability by an independent psychologist we found via our insurance.  Her professional opinion, and testing results, gave us leverage to have the school psychologist (and team) to meet with us to discuss the testing results, and in turn, schedule to perform their own tests within 60 days (legally they must have completed in that time frame).  Within this time period, determination if they agree with original assessment, and further investigation for more specific learning issues.  Also, to determine, if he qualifies for Occupational Therapy/Speech Therapy, etc. special programs through the district.

With that said, the original diagnosis was based upon various tests performed AND questionnaire answers by myself, my husband, and our son’s teacher.  Interesting enough, our answers pegged him as ADD, but the tests did not support that at ALL.  There was a discrepancy.  So interestingly enough, the last two bullet points below, the psychologist didn’t feel 100% applied to our son and was considering removing them, but ended up leaving as possible issues, because DCD on its own, might not qualify for assistance (IEP) through the school district.  Not to mention, they could still apply after more in-depth study of the student.

Diagnosis received was DSM 5:

  • Specific learning disorder and impairment in written expression.  Moderate severity
  • R/O Developmental Coordination Disorder
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (she thinks this is only because our son becomes frustrated and acts out to us and in the classroom due to DCD- she did not see this in testing or her interactions with our son)
  • Unspecified Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (again, the tests taken did not support ADD, but all our answers on the questionnaire led to that as a result) *Also, DCD tends to go hand-in-hand with ADD, as well.  Typically someone who has DCD will have another disability with it (Dyslexia, Sensory processing disorder, Austism) or no others.

The crazy thing about Developmental Coordination Disorder, not too many people are familiar or have heard of it and it could easily be missed because the level of function and issues vary per kid so widely!  Often, they are misdiagnosed as ADD alone.  I read another blogger had posted their son was ADD, but medicine wasn’t helping.  A few years later, and more testing, eventually it was discovered he had both ADD and DCD.  In the material I’ve been reading, at least 1 child in a classroom had DCD.

Are they falling through the system like my son?  My son wouldn’t fit in the remedial classes, his intelligence is grade level, but there are things just too difficult in the regular classroom setting due to this issue.  Blogging about this helps me to better organize my thoughts and understanding the material I’m reading, the results of tests, and conversations had with doctors/professionals.  If this can help any other parent out there, thinking WHAT IS WRONG… something is not right with my kid.  It shouldn’t be this hard.  You might want to check into DCD.

GREAT ARTICLE  (They’re Bright but Can’t Write) I just read, portions of this describe my son perfectly.  It might apply to someone you know?

Wikipedia provides a simplified definition.  See also Dyspraxia.

 

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8 thoughts on “Are you coordinated?

    1. I don’t know… we have more testing to be done to see if the school/district psychologist agrees with the other psychologist’s original diagnosis. We’re in the process of testing AGAIN. They might be able to determine more specific learning disability and if more than 1 thing going on- but this DCD condition- it matches my son and I feel like we’re getting answers. Now we need help with occupational therapists and IEP. (regardless of what diagnosis the school psychologist provides, he needs occupational therapy for writing and expressing himself in speech.)

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    1. A lot of people aren’t familiar with DCD. As I’m learning, hopefully, if there’s another parent out there experiencing similar issues, they might want to read more on this subject. 🙂 Thanks for linking.

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  1. Well, he’s going through another set of tests through the school, their special education director, the occupational/speech therapist, and district psychologist. Performing some of the same tests, and additional ones. Honestly, everything I’m reading, all the material found on DCD websites… they all match him exactly. On the surface, he seems like an ordinary, average kid. Not clumsy, but awkward at times. It’s just there are certain things in the classroom, tasks, he just can’t do or it takes him FOREVER to complete. Anything to do with short term memory, writing, spelling- I feel, deep down in my heart, this seems to be the right diagnosis…which is not what I’d want because the more I’m reading, he’s not likely to “grow out’ of this. However, we do have a 2nd round of testing set. We’ll know more in 60 days. (so next school year!)

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  2. Hmmmmm. Ok so the psychologist in me is irked, intrigued, skeptical and wants you to get a second and third opinion before running with this. Simply put, a “label” can be stuck on for the rest of Gibson’s life, and if it is the wrong label, he will be screwed. So while it is awesome he might finally get some LONG awaited help in school, I implore you to tread carefully in these murky waters. I have been mislabeled as an adult and I know just how hard it is to shake that label.

    I would love to talk to you at greater length about this. I am a tad busy with family in town, but we will talk soon!xoxoxoxo

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