Identification of emotional and behavioral problems by teachers in children with developmental coordination disorder in the school community.


Current evidence on the co-occurrence of Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) and psychosocial problems mainly concerns parent-reported information, but rarely includes teacher information. The aim of this study was (1) to investigate the teachers’ identification of emotional and behavioral problems in children with DCD and (2) to examine the performance of the teacher version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ-T) compared with the Teacher Report Form (TRF) in children with DCD. We assessed primary school children (202 boys, 200 girls, range 4-10.8 years, mean age 7.2 years) for DCD following the DSM IV-TR criteria. Emotional and behavioral problems were measured with the TRF (n=327) and the SDQ-T (n=361). DCD was established in 23 (5.7%) children, 16 boys and 7 girls (mean age 7.0 years). Children with DCD had a higher proportion of clinical scores on both the TRF Total Problem Scale (TRF TPS) and SDQ-T Total Difficulties Score (SDQ-T TDS). Children with DCD had increased odds on the TRF domains Thought (odds ratio, OR: 5.39), Externalizing (OR: 4.12) and Internalizing (OR: 4.42) problems, and on all SDQ-T-domains and Total Difficulties score (OR: 7.30). In the DCD group the SDQ-T TDS correlated strongly (Spearman’s rho 0.80) with the TRF TPS and demonstrated a moderate agreement (Cohen’s Kappa 0.53). In conclusion, teachers identified significantly more emotional and behavioral problems in children with DCD compared with their peers. The SDQ-T showed moderate agreement with the TRF in identifying emotional and behavioral problems in children with DCD.