Doctor's Notes on Motor Skills Disorder
Motor skills disorder, also called motor coordination disorder or motor dyspraxia, is a childhood disorder that causes problems with the development of motor skills needed for daily or school activities.
Symptoms of motor skills disorder vary depending on the age of the child when diagnosed. Symptoms of motor skills disorder in young infants may include hypotonia (floppy baby) or hypertonia (rigid baby). Older infants may have delays in sitting, standing, or walking, and toddlers may have difficulty feeding themselves. Symptoms of motor skills disorder in older children include difficulty learning to hold a pencil, and a tendency to knock over drinking glasses more often than expected. As children age, motor skills disorder can cause children to avoid physical activities such as dancing, gymnastics, swimming, catching or throwing a ball, writing, or drawing. Symptoms of motor skills disorder may also include a propensity to fall or trip more often than others, an inability to complete motor tasks adequately, bruises or superficial skin injuries due to being "clumsy,” inability to judge spatial distances, difficulty shutting off faucets, turning off devices, and trouble putting together puzzles or toys.
Motor Skills Disorder Symptoms
Children with this disorder have variable symptoms, depending on the age of diagnosis (as with most childhood disorders).
- Young infants may present with non-specific findings, such as hypotonia (floppy baby) or hypertonia (rigid baby).
- Older infants may be delayed in their ability to sit, stand or walk.
- Toddlers may have difficulty feeding themselves.
- Older children may have a hard time learning to hold a pencil, and tend to knock over drinking glasses more often than expected.
As children with this disorder age, they often avoid physical activities, especially those requiring complex motor behaviors such as:
- catching or throwing a ball,
- writing, or
This is due to the individual's propensity to fall or trip more often than others and their inability to complete motor tasks adequately. These individuals may have more bruises or superficial skin injuries due to being "clumsy". They may often feel unable to judge spatial distances and have difficulty with shutting off faucets, turning off devices, and tend to have trouble putting together puzzles or toys.
Motor Skills Disorder Causes
There is no known exact cause of this disorder; however, it is often associated with physiological or developmental abnormalities such as:
- developmental disabilities (cognitive deficits),
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and
- mathematics or reading learning disorders.
It should be differentiated from other motor disorders, such as:
- cerebral palsy,
- muscular dystrophy, and
- inherited metabolic disorders.
There are so many childhood diseases, infectious and noninfectious, that it would be impossible to list them all here. However, we will introduce some of the most common ones, including viral and bacterial infections as well as allergic and immunologic illnesses.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.