Prevalence estimations of comorbid attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and developmental co-ordination disorder in children aged 8 - 9 in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

P M T Dawson, T Nadasan, P Govender


Background. Children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often encounter motor co-ordination difficulties. Little has been documented about the prevalence of comorbid ADHD and developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD), both in South Africa (SA) and globally.

Objective. The purpose of the study was to establish the prevalence and demographics of comorbid ADHD and DCD at 5 sites located within 3 districts of KwaZulu-Natal Province, SA.

Methods. A descriptive observational study was undertaken of 151 children aged 8 - 9 years, both male and female, from 4 population groups. The children were clinically diagnosed with ADHD and were receiving remedial education. Children with any other conditions and/or receiving occupational therapy, physiotherapy and/or psychotherapy were excluded. The Conners’ Teacher Rating Scale, the DCD Questionnaire and the Movement Assessment Battery for Children were administered to confirm comorbid ADHD and DCD.

Results. A 74% prevalence of comorbid ADHD and DCD was identified, with a male-to-female ratio of 2:1. The combined subtype of ADHD was most commonly associated with comorbid DCD.

Conclusion. From the relatively high prevalence figures, it appears that an association between ADHD and DCD exists. Children with ADHD should therefore be assessed for motor skills deficiency and offered appropriate interventions.

Authors' affiliations

P M T Dawson, Private practitioner, Durban, South Africa

T Nadasan, Discipline of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

P Govender, Discipline of Occupational Therapy, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Cite this article

South African Journal of Child Health 2020;14(4):181. DOI:10.7196/SAJCH.2020.v14i4.01676

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-12-14
Date published: 2020-12-14

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