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Dyspraxia or developmental coordination disorder? Unravelling the enigma
  1. John Gibbs1,
  2. Jeanette Appleton2,
  3. Richard Appleton3
  1. 1Department of Paediatrics, Countess of Chester Hospital, Chester, UK
  2. 2Neonatal Unit, Wirral NHS Trust (Arrowe Park Hospital), Upton, Wirral, UK
  3. 3The Roald Dahl EEG Department, Paediatric Neurosciences Foundation, Royal Liverpool Children’s NHS Trust (Alder Hey), Liverpool, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr J Gibbs
    Department of Paediatrics, Countess of Chester Hospital, Liverpool Road, Chester CH2 1BQ, UK; john.gibbs{at}


Dyspraxia is an enigma to many people, both professional and lay alike—what is it, how does it relate to developmental coordination disorder and associated conditions, how common is it, how is it recognised and diagnosed and how should it be managed? This article attempts to unravel this enigma by: dealing with the terminology of coordination difficulties from the “clumsy child syndrome” through “dyspraxia” to “developmental coordination disorder (DCD)”; briefly examining the debate as to whether dyspraxia or DCD should be regarded as a medical or social disorder; discussing the differential diagnosis of dyspraxia or DCD; considering the assessment of children with dyspraxia or DCD; reviewing the range of current treatment approaches in the UK.

  • DAMP, disorder of attention and motor perception
  • DCD, developmental coordination disorder
  • MBD, minimal brain dysfunction

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  • Competing interests: None.

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