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Vaivre-Douret L, Lalanne C, Golse B (2016) Developmental coordination disorder, an umbrella term for motor impairments in children: nature and co-morbid disorders. Frontiers in Psychology, 7:502    
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Abstract
Background: Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) defines a heterogeneous class of children exhibiting marked impairment in motor coordination as a general group of deficits in fine and gross motricity (subtype mixed group) common to all research studies, and with a variety of other motor disorders that have been little investigated. No consensus about symptoms and etiology has been established. Methods: Data from 58 children aged 6 to 13 years with DCD were collected on DSM-IV criteria, similar to DSM-5 criteria. They had no other medical condition and inclusion criteria were strict (born full-term, no medication, no occupational/physical therapy). Multivariate statistical methods were used to evidence relevant interactions between discriminant features in a general DCD subtype group and to highlight specific co-morbidities. The study examined age-calibrated standardized scores from completed assessments of psychological, neuropsychological, and neuropsychomotor functions, and more specifically the presence of minor neurological dysfunctions (MND) including neurological soft signs (NSS), without evidence of focal neurological brain involvement. These were not considered in most previous studies. Results: Findings show the salient DCD markers for the mixed subtype (imitation of gestures, digital perception, digital praxia, manual dexterity, upper, and lower limb coordination), vs. surprising co-morbidities, with 33% of MND with mild spasticity from phasic stretch reflex (PSR), not associated with the above impairments but rather with sitting tone (p = 0.004) and dysdiadochokinesia (p = 0.011). PSR was not specific to a DCD subtype but was related to increased impairment of coordination between upper and lower limbs and manual dexterity. Our results highlight the major contribution of an extensive neuro-developmental assessment (mental and physical). Discussion: The present study provides important new evidence in favor of a complete physical neuropsychomotor assessment, including neuromuscular tone examination, using appropriate standardized neurodevelopmental tools (common tasks across ages with age-related normative data) in order to distinguish motor impairments gathered under the umbrella term of developmental coordination disorders (subcortical vs. cortical). Mild spasticity in the gastrocnemius muscles, such as phasic stretch reflex (PSR), suggests disturbances of the motor pathway, increasing impairment of gross and fine motricity. These findings contribute to understanding the nature of motor disorders in DCD by taking account of possible co-morbidities (corticospinal tract disturbances) to improve diagnosis and adapt treatment programmes in clinical practice
Projects: GRASP;