Navigating the staircase of education and life: What adolescents and young adults with Developmental Coordination Disorder have to share
This research study addresses the notion that, despite early beliefs that children would ‘grow out’ of their motor difficulties, there is strong evidence that Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), a chronic physical health condition with early onset of developmental motor problems, is persisting throughout childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood. There is also growing evidence of social and emotional problems associated with DCD and of the impact of DCD on educational achievement, activity engagement, participation in activities and relationships, and employment in adulthood. Much of the research involving the impact of living with DCD has focused on children. Much less is known about the impact of DCD on activities and participation during adolescence and adulthood. Additionally, little is known about the pedagogy that should guide best practice and service delivery for adolescents and young adults with DCD. This single case study explored the home, school, and community experiences of an adolescent, emerging young adult living with DCD. The descriptive phenomenological approach of Edmond Husserl was used to analyze and interpret two semi-structured interviews, and further analysis took place using a grounded theory approach. Five general structures or themes emerged from the data: DCD is more than a physical disability, varied service provision and accommodations are essential, every environment brings challenges and successes, attachment and relationships are key to success, and personal outlook is an important determinant of attainment. This research may contribute to an awareness of knowledge and developmental differences that can be useful to environments that support adolescents and young adults with DCD.