Building blocks for life | Action Medical Research

Touching Lives - June 2007

Building blocks for life

These skills include running, jumping, throwing and drawing. By school age, children have acquired a range of movement skills, but occasionally these are not developed enough for the child to function effectively at school. This affects about 5% of school age children who are said to have developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and typically have difficulty with normal activities of daily living.

As they progress through childhood, this lack of movement skill often has long-term effects on academic achievement, social and emotional behaviour. Without help, some of these children do not improve.

Professor David Sugden and his colleagues at the University of Leeds identified 35 children aged between three and six years who, according to the Early Years Movement Skills Checklist developed by the team, were showing coordination difficulties.

The children were all involved in a ten week intervention programme by their teachers.They were set specific activities three to four times a week for about 20 minutes each. The results indicated that the children improved their coordination skills and all but three moved out of the category indicating coordination difficulties.

The implications of this study are that the Early Years Movement Skills Checklist accurately identifies young children with coordination difficulties and that, with help from their teacher, children can improve their coordination skills through the use of individually tailored programmes.

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