Commentary on “A Range of Service Delivery Modes for Children With Developmental Coordination Disorder Are Effective: A Randomized Controlled Trial”

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“How can I apply this information?”
Physical therapists frequently deliver individual physical therapy (PT) intervention. This study allows physical therapists to consider 3 group-based modes of intervention for children identified as having developmental coordination disorder (DCD). Physical therapists may train school assistants to provide group intervention or implement group-based PT in a school or clinic. Use of trained school assistants as intervention providers for children with DCD is a unique consideration for physical therapists. The consistent outcome for group-based intervention was an improvement in motor function on standardized tests, without clear evidence of change in self-competence or participation based on group. Results of this study were based on a wide variance of participants (≤15th percentile) as measured by the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC). Families of children with DCD may be interested to know that group-based intervention delivered at school may be less costly than group-based intervention in the clinic.
“What should I be mindful about when applying this information?”
Although group-based intervention resulted in a change on standardized motor tests, other studies that implement task-oriented therapy for children with DCD first determine and quantify individual goals.1 Participants in this study received group interventions based on “fundamental” gross and fine motor skills, not goals determined by the child or family. Perhaps if children were grouped by related goals, scores on goal-related scales might have provided more meaningful results.
In some countries, it is not likely that children with DCD will receive school-based PT if they are in the higher percentile range (ie, between 5th and 15th percentiles on the MABC). However, group-based, rather than individual, PT could be provided in the clinic setting for this population. This may be more labor intensive for the clinic PT, but it would provide children with peer modeling and socialization opportunities, similar to summer camps, another group-based intervention option.2 In addition, physical therapists may use the MABC-2 and the DCDQ'07 to assist in the identification of DCD.

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