Alessandro Crippa

The association between developmental coordination disorder and other neurodevelopmental conditions: The case of autism

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It is widely recognized that children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) may often copresent other neurodevelopmental conditions. Among these, the most frequent is attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, followed by language impairment, learning disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and other emotional/behavioral difficulties. Although previous evidence has demonstrated that DCD represents a well-defined clinical entity (Blank et al., 2019), the growing observations that motor difficulties may affect such a large percentage of autistic children have recently prompted a debate about the potential of adding a motor to the autism definition in future revisions of diagnostic manuals. In this commentary, I argue that a better understanding of the co-occurrence between DCD and autism can help clinicians and stakeholders in comprehending the reasons for which DCD is still under-recognized in Italy. In particular, I suggest that professionals working with autistic children should timely acknowledge the motor difficulties within the spectrum through the concurrent use of different measures, such as standardized neuropsychological tests, caregiver reports, and (qualitative) kinematic analysis. Furthermore, I also advocate for a systematic assessment of socio-communicative abilities of DCD children to identify possible consequences of the motor difficulties on this domain or even identifying co-occurring autism. Lastly, I argue that there is a need of future studies investigating motor skills between the ages of 2 and 5 using standardized test which have been specifically developed for that age range


  • Developmental coordination disorder
  • DCD
  • autism
  • differential diagnosis
  • co-occurrence
  • multimodal evaluation


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