Liam's story | Action Medical Research

Liam's story

Developmental coordination disorder

Liam is a determined and confident 14-year-old who dreams of running his own business one day. “I’m half expecting him to become the next Lord Sugar!” says his mum, Lisa.

Liam is now in his GCSE year and enjoying his studies but this hasn’t always been the case. Liam was a bright, happy baby and toddler, but problems arose when he started primary school: he suffered from exhaustion and joint pain, struggled to learn to read and found writing almost impossible.

“It felt like he was bottom of the class, which didn’t seem to tally with his actual intellect,” says Lisa. “He was just so tired and unhappy. Nobody really understood what the problem was – or even whether or not there definitely was one.”

It was only after an occupational therapist visited his school that Liam was tested for Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), aged seven. Once the condition, often also called dyspraxia, was diagnosed Lisa could ensure Liam finally got the support he needed at school. This was not easy: “It was an awful, stressful experience,” Lisa says. The many extra activities required at home to support Liam’s fine and gross motor skills could feel overwhelming, too.

Now, the focus is on what Liam can do, rather than what he can’t: accepting that he will never be able to write properly, Liam has learned to touch-type and Lisa makes sure he gets the extra time and rest he needs.

“One of the hardest things with DCD is that it is usually quite hidden but it can make life really hard,” says Lisa.

Action helped fund the development of handwriting tests and motor assessment tests which are now used globally and more research to help children with DCD is underway.

Liam, now looking to the future and keen to help others, commenting: “It’s not fun to have DCD so if there are ways the research can help then I’m happy to be involved.”

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