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Developmental coordination disorder

We focus our research DCD in children aged 5-16 years. In particular, we want to learn about DCD in the context of important childhood skills such as handwriting, ball skills and cycling.

What is Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)?

It is the term used to refer to children who have movement difficulties that are unexplained by a general medical condition, intellectual disability or neurological impairment. Frequently described as "clumsy", children with DCD may have difficulties at home when dressing (manipulating buttons and zips, tying shoelaces) or learning to ride a bike. At school, such children may find PE challenging (throwing and catching, running and jumping) and have difficulties with their handwriting. DCD is commonly associated with other developmental disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, specific language impairment and emotional and/or behavioural problems.

Participate in our research

If your child visits us to take part in a project they will be fully assessed in line with the DSM-5 criteria for DCD. We will provide a report for the parent which summarises the findings of the assessment.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Mellissa Prunty
Dr Mellissa Prunty - Mellissa is the Divisional Lead for Occupational Therapy at Brunel University London. She is a children's Occupational Therapist by background. She qualified from the MSc (pre-reg) programme at Glasgow Caledonian University in 2010. She previously completed a BSc (Hons) in Kinesiology at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada, while on athletic scholarship for women’s basketball. She completed her PhD on handwriting difficulties in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), which she undertook at Oxford Brookes University under the supervision of Prof. Anna Barnett, Dr. Mandy Plumb and Dr. Kate Wilmut. Mellissa has worked in a variety of childrens' services and specialises in working with children with coordination difficulties. She founded the children's occupational therapy research clinic at the university which investigates key skills and participation in childhood including handwriting, activities of daily living and cycling. The clinic currently offers placements to occupational therapy students at the university. Separate to this Mellissa co-led the development of wheelchair basketball and disability sport on campus. She has organised a series of inter-professional training days for health care students and has incorporated wheelchair basketball into the occupational therapy curriculum. The wheelchair basketball project has now expanded into the local community and a new club for children and adults is now underway (Brunel Bulls). Mellissa joined Brunel University London as a Lecturer in October 2013.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 21/11/2023