Project details


Aetiology, early precursors and co-morbidity of Developmental Coordination Disorder, a population based study.

Developmental coordination disorder Pediatric rehabilitation Motor development

Prof. dr. M. Hadders-Algra
prof. dr. C.K. van der Sluis
J.F. van Hoorn

Nature of the research:
Population based cohort study Data base study

Fields of study:
pediatrics neurology rehabilitation

Background / introduction
Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), sometimes also referred to as clumsy children, lack the motor skills required for everyday activities such as dressing and undressing, tying shoelaces, playing and writing. DCD is estimated to affect 5-6% of school-aged children. Surprisingly little is known about the aetiology of DCD. The little that is known of the aetiology implicates neurological involvement. After cerebral palsy it is the second diagnosis most often seen in pediatric rehabilitation.
Research question / problem definition
The aim of this explorative study – in an area where so little is known – is to investigate early factors in Developmental Coordination Disorder in 4 to 12 year old children in the Netherlands, using data from a large population based cohort (Lifelines). More specific, we aim to assess:
• Which pre-, peri- and postnatal factors are associated with DCD? We focus on obstetrical factors, early childhood factors, and social background factors.
• What are early predictors of DCD?
• How much comorbidity is seen in combination with DCD, with special attention to ADHD en obesity?
DCD is determined with the DCDQ and the DCDDaily-Q, a recently developed parental questionnaire to assess motor function in daily life. The data will first be analysed with simple univariable statistics, most likely non-parametric statistics as distributions in the paediatric field usually are not normal. Next multivariable statistics will be used to adjust for confounders, e.g. the age of the child, or parental education in the analysis of the associations between obstetrical factors and DCD. The level of statistical significance will be set at p=0.05.
The student is supposed to
help with data-analyses of LifeLines data. And write a Master Thesis.
If a student is interested there are possibilities to attend outpatient paediatric rehabilitation clinics
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th edn. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2013.

Blank R, Smits-Engelsman B, Polatajko H, Wilson P; European Academy for Childhood Disability. European Academy for Childhood Disability (EACD): recommendations on the definition, diagnosis and intervention of developmental coordination disorder (long version). Dev Med Child Neurol. 2012. 54: 54-93.

Van Hoorn JF, Maathuis CGB, Hadders-Algra M. Neural correlates of paediatric dysgraphia. Dev Med Child Neurol 2013; 55 (suppl 4):65-8.
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