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Diagnostic Interview for Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DIDA)

The International clinical practice recommendations for DCD (2018)[1] are in line with DSM-5/ICD-10[2] and for the first time include recommendations for working with adults with DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder).

In the UK the term ‘Dyspraxia’ is often used. According to the Dyspraxia Foundation this incorporates DCD and the current document thus relates to both terms and conditions. The term ‘DCD’ is used in the current document to be consistent with internationally recognised terminology and following on from international consensus meetings in 2016/2017.

UK DCD descriptor (2018)

The descriptor below was developed and agreed by consensus in a group comprised of individuals representing a range of professional bodies and individuals with DCD in the UK which was organised by Movement Matters who represent the UK organisations with an interest in DCD.

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), also known as Dyspraxia in the UK, is a common disorder affecting movement and coordination in children, young people and adults with symptoms present since childhood.

DCD is distinct from other motor disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke and occurs across the range of intellectual abilities. This lifelong condition is recognised by international organisations including the World Health Organisation.

A person’s coordination difficulties affect their functioning of everyday skills and participation in education, work, and leisure activities. Difficulties may vary in their presentation and these may also change over time depending on environmental demands, life experience, and the support given. There may be difficulties learning new skills.

The movement and coordination difficulties often persist in adulthood, although non-motor difficulties may become more prominent as expectations and demands change over time.

A range of co-occurring difficulties can have a substantial adverse impact on life including mental and physical health, and difficulties with time management, planning, personal organisation, and social skills.

With appropriate recognition, reasonable adjustments, support, and strategies in place people with DCD can be very successful in their lives.

Diagnostic Interview for Developmental Coordination Disorder in Adults (DIDA)

The DIDA attempts to support those needing to make a diagnosis. It offers a process for the assessor to follow in order to identify whether the criteria for diagnosis are met and to be able to operationalise them.

The interview protocol provides some concrete examples concerning the person’s
performance in the past (e.g. in childhood/school days) and their current performance in order to establish the likelihood of a DCD diagnosis.

The aim is to explore if the person has a pattern of motor symptoms and signs that demonstrate that the person is most likely to have DCD and not another condition.

DIDA focuses predominantly on the core motor symptoms of DCD.

It is also important to remember that DCD impacts on the person’s life far more widely than ‘just’ the motor domain alone, BUT motor difficulties need to have been present to be able to fulfill the criteria for diagnosis.

** No motor symptoms - either now, or in the past = no DCD **

For confidence in the diagnosis there is a need to elicit examples of impact on daily life and activities in the past and currently.

This includes examples:
when the person was in school (pre/primary and secondary schools)
at home
in work/study
and in leisure.

Childhood difficulties must be established as they indicate that this is not a new disorder arising in adulthood (such as being caused by a brain tumour, or head injury or other condition such as Multiple Sclerosis), but a disorder that has been present since a young age.

Examples are required of the impact of having motor difficulties that relate to socialising, relationships and family life, along with types of chosen hobbies and the impact the challenges have had on the person’s self-confidence known to be related to DCD.

Where possible, gaining information from different sources can help to provide a clearer picture of impact. This may include parents/partners/and friends (where appropriate) who are able to contribute additional information especially about past performance in childhood. This is called triangulation of information.

Additional and relevant information

‘Other’ motor conditions need to be excluded to ensure that a diagnosis of DCD is the correct one. Such conditions include Cerebral Palsy, Stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Muscular Dystrophy. If there is any concern suggest the person sees their GP.

DCD often co-occurs with other conditions, e.g. Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental Language Disorder.

Presence of symptoms of these conditions does not preclude a diagnosis of DCD.

In addition, conditions such as anxiety and depression may also co-occur and need to be considered.

If there is any concern relating to mental wellbeing it is suggested that the person sees their GP for further support.

[1] See for more information on adults with DCD and the European Guidelines for DCD.
[2] American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed. Arlington: Author.
   World Health Organization (2016). International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. 10th Revision: World Health Organization. Available from: see the complete document with guidelines on administration and to download it go to:

Download DIDA

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