Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

Research Student: Vicky McQuillan

Photo of Vicky McQuillan

The progression over time of profiles of children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD)

Submission Date: August 2017

The longitudinal data on DCD is sparse and much pre-dates the international consensus on diagnosis of DCD and the development of tools standardised for use with children over the age of 12 years.  It is well recognised that motor deficiency is a major problem in children with DCD and also in other groups and that children with DCD have associated characteristics with other non-motor problems in areas such as attention control, communication and social interaction and specific learning difficulties.

There is very little research examining the combination of motor and other characteristics that may influence the stability of motor development over time.  I believe that there is none so far that examines the relationship of motor and associated characteristics to participation in everyday activities for children with DCD. 

As we now have a clear consensus on diagnosis of DCD and tools standardised for motor development of adolescents, I propose to investigate the profiles of children with DCD with and without associated characteristics in relation to their motor development and participation over time with the aim of contributing to our understanding of the progression of children with DCD.

Background

I am an occupational therapist specialist in developmental paediatrics.  I have worked in the NHS and independent sector.  I am also a lecturer in occupational therapy.

I studied M Ed (Educational Psychology) at Manchester University.

I worked in community paediatric occupational therapy services in child development centres and schools with children from 0-19 years. 

What motivated me to undertake PhD study?

Children with DCD differ from typically developing children in many ways, yet they do not all present with the same difficulties. They commonly have associated difficulties in non-motor areas and may meet the criteria for diagnosis with one or more other developmental conditions.

The children with DCD that I worked with were so heterogeneous and had such different outcomes that I wanted to try and understand which factors are associated with more favourable outcomes. My masters dissertation involved investigating groups of children with DCD and other children who had poor handwriting. 

What makes me passionate about my subject?

Historically there has been criticism of the lack of seamless care between health and education, particularly if a child presents with difficulties that meet the criteria for more than one diagnosis. Children with DCD more often than not fall into this group and yet little is currently known about the impact of particular associated characteristics on the child’s progression. 

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

I aim to continue my research and collaborate with colleagues from different disciplines to contribute to the further understanding of developmental conditions and to help improve outcomes for the children and their families.

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