UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Navigating the healthcare and school systems when your child has developmental coordination disorder Klein, Erin


Developmental coordination disorder is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that is under-recognized, under-diagnosed, and under-treated. No standard of care exists in British Columbia to assist families to access diagnostic and rehabilitative services and supports. To affect change, it is imperative to understand parent perspectives on needed resources to access diagnosis and treatment. A cross-sectional study using the impACT for DCD questionnaire explored barriers and facilitators families encounter when navigating school and healthcare systems in British Columbia. This study aimed to understand parent perspectives and priorities regarding needed resources and programs. Descriptive data analysis for close-ended questions was used to understand data trends. Inferential statistics were utilized to understand differences between variables. Content analysis was used to explore emergent themes from open-ended questions. Families identified barriers to access a timely diagnosis, which included their own limited awareness and poor understanding from healthcare professionals and educators. Long waitlists for publicly funded assessments and inconsistent access to school-funded clinical evaluations possibly led families to seek private testing. A lack of dedicated funding for treatment, coupled with inconsistent access to school-based therapy, likely contributed to obtaining private treatment for families who had the resources to pursue this option. There was a decline in active therapy with age, with younger children more likely to receive therapy. Changing priorities of social and emotional function for older children, in conjunction with increasing financial burden, likely led to this decline in therapy use. Parents reported that inconsistent access to classroom supports may have contributed to social and emotional challenges for their children. Families identified the need for funded diagnostic services, coupled with education for healthcare professionals, educators, and the community. Collaborative partnerships between physicians, therapists, and educators are integral for early detection. Children with DCD require funded, multidisciplinary treatment that addresses physical, social, and emotional function. At school, children with DCD need classroom supports, to enable successful participation in the curriculum. Regrettably, all children in this study presented with social and emotional challenges, suggesting that the current service model in British Columbia is not meeting their needs, necessitating policy changes to increase supports and services for children with DCD.

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