Children with DCD will often have difficulties with dressing, particularly with fasteners (buttons, snaps, etc.).

This video clip compares the task of buttoning up a shirt for a typically developing eight-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy with DCD.

Why is Dressing Difficult?

Limited strength and fine motor skills: Finger strength and fine motor skills are required for managing small fasteners, zippers and buttons. When these are limited, it can make dressing frustrating and time-consuming. This was illustrated in the clip you just watched comparing an eight-year-old child without DCD and a 13-year-old with DCD trying to do up a button.

Poor body awareness: This can make it difficult to figure out which direction to arrange clothing or shoes to get them on correctly and how to get arms and legs into the right holes.

Poor Balance: Poor balance can make it very hard to dress your lower half. Imagine the balance required when putting on a sock. Try to do this standing up with your eyes closed to see how difficult this task might be for a child with DCD.

Relying on vision: Children with DCD do not always get the ‘feel’ of the movement required in a motor task and must rely on vision to help them. This is awkward for some dressing tasks such as doing up snaps on jeans or putting on a sweater or jacket.

Planning and ordering tasks: Getting dressed involves several steps that must occur in the correct order which can be a big challenge for a child with DCD. Getting pants on requires you to find the front and back, position them correctly, hold onto the pants, and to pull them on one leg at a time while balancing on the other leg. A child must also remember which article of clothing has to go on first such as pants before shoes.