It is important to ensure significant others in the child's environment understand his difficulties and acquire the skills to facilitate his learning.
- Community partners and sports groups include many different physical and social activities: swimming lessons, leisure groups, art clubs.
- PTs can collaborate with community leaders already involved with the child with DCD – or suggest to the family new community activities and sport groups.
- Ensure that the community partners focus on participation and integration, and that they provide opportunities for success and inclusion.
- PTs can instruct community partners on effective ways to teach activities to children with DCD.
Intervention Strategies and Resources
- Community partners may benefit from resources such as: A flyer for coaches and sport instructors, Encouraging Participation in Physical Activities, cycling handout. You can also use the template to design specific recommendations for any other activity.
- Videos or websites publicly available on the web can be useful to watch with partners to analyze the movements required to perform the activities. PTs can also get involved in developing community-based sport groups (e.g., for cycling: You Can Ride Two)
- PTs can share information with community partners and sports group leaders about Evidence-Based Practice principles and M.A.T.C.H. strategies.
You Can Ride Two
You Can Ride Two is a program designed to teach children with coordination challenges or other special needs how to ride a two-wheeled bicycle. The course is a skills based program that was initially developed by a pediatric physiotherapist. The program is available in Edmonton, is supported by a Bicycle Commuters Society, and is offered at no cost to parents by a group of dedicated volunteers. More information is available at their website.
Question for Reflection
How do task adaptations and environmental modifications help children with DCD to learn age appropriate motor tasks? Wouldn’t it be better if we gave them more opportunities for practice with unmodified tasks so they learn to perform them properly?Click here for some thoughts on this question
How do task adaptations and environmental modifications help children with DCD to learn age appropriate motor tasks? Wouldn’t it be better if we gave them more opportunities for practice with unmodified tasks so they learn to perform them properly?
Children with DCD don’t tend to learn motor skills either by watching someone else perform a skill or even by repeatedly practicing a skill, in the way that their typically developing peers do. They have difficulty monitoring their motor performance and correcting errors. The research evidence suggests that, with assistance, children can learn to orient their attention to the parts of a task that they are finding challenging and that eventually, many can progress in their ability to attend to different aspects of the task independently by using a consistent problem solving approach to motor tasks. However each new motor task that they encounter will necessitate using their cognitive strategies to successfully perform the task. There are instances in which it will be more important to adapt the task or modify the environment so that the child can be successful, can complete tasks within acceptable timeframes and can participate. Most times, a child’s feeling of accomplishment without being discouraged, and their engagement with peers may be far more important than having a child struggle through a difficult motor task. A balance must be found between the need to perform motor tasks as they are typically completed and adapting the process to achieve meaningful goals and develop self-confidence and self-esteem.