The Adult Developmental Coordination Disorder Checklist

Quick facts

  • The first adult screening tool for Developmental Coordination Disorder
  • Allows insight and understanding of areas of difficulty for young and older adults in ways never before possible
  • Used by by Student Support Services in several UK universities
  • Translated into multiple languages, including Hebrew, Dutch, Flemish and Taiwanese
  • Accessed by experts in 29 countries

Adult Developmental coordination disorder (ADC) Checklist
Adult Developmental coordination disorder (ADC) Guidelines


The Adult Developmental coordination disorder Checklist (ADC) is the first screening tool developed specifically to identify the difficulties experienced by adults with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). DCD was previously regarded as a childhood disorder. However, increasing evidence suggests that the motor difficulties experienced in childhood persist into adulthood. Previously, little information was being collected about how these difficulties present in emerging adulthood or their impact on everyday living and there was no standardised screening tools for assessing the level of functional impairment in adults. Thus the key impact of the ADC is that it is currently being used clinically nationally and internationally to clarify areas where support needs to be targeted.

Why this research is important

DCD and overlapping developmental disorders have been the main theme of research at The Dyscovery Centre since its inception over 16 years ago by Professor Amanda Kirby, a GP. The Dyscovery Centre has built up an interdisciplinary team of health and educational professionals who run a service integrating different models of working as well as providing care for over three thousand children mainly from the UK.

It is acknowledged as a tertiary referral centre and receives referrals from paediatricians and child and adolescent psychiatrists from the National Health Service, and is recommended by a number of organisations including the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.

The Centre’s reputation has grown over the years and referrals now range from countries such as Japan, Singapore, Dubai, Ireland, USA, Russia and India. The Centre’s clinical activity provides a sound basis for its continuing research.

Work at the centre has focused increasingly on ‘growing up’ with a developmental disorder and the impact this has on the individual and their families and has produced seminal work in the field which the Centre remains known for.

Using knowledge transfer principles is a central tenet of the work of the team and is a key objective throughout all research work undertaken at the centre. This has been undertaken through translation of materials for differing audiences and in a variety of ways including using new media formats e.g. applications, web sites, print – in mainstream and peer reviewed journals and through presentations, conferences and on the BBC.

How does it work and who benefits?

The Adult Developmental Coordination Disorder Checklist (ADC) is routinely used in the day-to-day clinical activity of the Dyscovery centre, having an impact on clinical decisions for 60 clients since September 2010.

Adults referred to the clinic complete the screening tool to assist clinicians when diagnosing DCD. The screening tool allows an insight and understanding of areas that were reported in childhood along with current areas of difficulty for young and older adults, which was not possible prior to its development, again demonstrating the positive and important impact that the ADC has.

There are four areas that are assessed: past difficulties in childhood, motor, executive functioning skills, and those relating to social behaviour.

The ADC is also freely available on the university’s website where it is accessed by health and education professionals as well as individuals with DCD. The screener has received 2, 272 page views since being uploaded onto the centre’s clinical services web pages in September 2010. Those viewing the screener come from across the UK, Ireland, Belgium and Australia.

The ADC is currently used as a screening tool by Student Support Services in several universities in the UK and Ireland. Here it acts to facilitate directed support to individual students. It is also cited as a screening tool for use by universities in the UK by the group Movement Matters.

The ADC has been used in research projects in the UK and internationally to screen adult participants including: Oxford Brooks University, Eastern Michigan University, the Radbound University, Nijmegen Medical Centre, and Hôpital de la Salpétière.

The ADC has also been translated into Hebrew, Dutch, Flemish and Taiwanese where it has been normed in those countries for use in adults. It is also available on a new international website for research in DCD which can be accessed by experts in 29 countries. A shortened version of the screening tool is also available on the NeuroKnowHow web site. The ADC has also been cited as a screening tool for DCD peer-review articles and books.