Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

Contact Details

Emeritus Professor David Sugden

Emeritus Professor of Special Needs in Education

Professor of Special Needs in Education in the School of Education.  He has held major leadership roles in the University including Acting Vice Chancellor, Pro Vice Chancellor, Dean of three separate faculties and Head of School. He has an academic background in developmental psychology, special education and physical education. Taught in primary, secondary and special schools plus lecturing at college and university level in the UK and the USA.

Research Interests

  • motor development and motor impairment in children
  • assessment, nature and intervention strategies for children with developmental coordination disorder
  • construction and development of assessment instruments-general motor impairment, hand functions
  • physical activity for children with special educational needs

Current Research Projects:

  • Assessment and intervention of developmental coordination disorder (DCD) in pre-school children (with Dr Mary Chambers)
  • Field studies of planning and execution of movements in children with DCD
  • Deaf children and movement competence.
  • Part of National Children's Study (USA)  a longitudinal study of the health of 100,000 children from birth to emerging adulthood.
  • Hand functions and Virtual Learning Environment in chidlren with DCD (In Psychology).

Member of numerous academic organisations including BPS, ACPP, NASPSPA, NASEN, PEAUK, Chartered Psychologist and Fellow of the International Academy for Research into Learning Disabilities; International Fellow of Kinesiology; Felleow of the British Physical Education Association.

Research grants have been obtained from SCOPE, ESRC, Action Research, Sports Council, NHS.


Teaching has included masters level courses on children with learning difficulties, movement skill difficulties and emotional and behavioural difficulties plus courses on generic aspects of special educational needs. Currently runs postgraduate Course on Provision for Children with Developmental Disorders-ASD,DCD. ADHD, Dyslexia.

PhD Supervision

He has successfully supervised 40+ stduents at doctoral level in topics concerning special educational needs, developmental disorders and motor development and impairment.

Key Publications

Journal Articles

  • Barnett AL, Hill EL, Kirby A, Sugden DA, ‘Adaptation and Extension of the European Recommendations (EACD) on Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) for the UK context’, Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 35.2 (2015), 103-115
    DOI: 10.3109/01942638.2014.957430

  • Sugden DA, Ruddock S, Piek J, Morris S, Hyde C, Wilson P, ‘Executive systems constrain the flexibility of online control in children during goal directed reaching and grasping’, Developmental Neuropsychology, 39.1 (2014), 51-69

  • Camden C, Wilson B, Kirby A, Sugden DA, Missiuna C, ‘Best practice principles for management of children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD): results of a scoping review’, Child Care, Health and Development 2014
    DOI: 10.1111/cch.12128

  • Sugden DA, ‘Multi-Level and Ecological Models of Developmental Coordination Disorder’, Current Developmental Disorders 2014

  • Kirby A, Sugden DA, Purcell C, ‘Diagnosing developmental coordination disorder’, Archive of Disease in Childhood, 99.3 (2013), 292-296
    DOI: 10.1136/archdischild-2012-303569

  • Sugden DA, ‘The aggregation of marginal gains in relation to ecological intervention and support for children with additional needs’, Hilary Place Papers

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