AbstractThe aim of this thesis was to investigate key themes of emerging adulthood in young adults with motor co-ordination difficulties from both a parental and personal perspective using a mixed method approach. A number of studies over the past twenty years have considered longer term outcomes in children with Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD) (Losse et al., 1991, Cantell et al., 1994, Cousins and Smyth,2003) but few have considered the social experiences of these young people and the views of their parents as they move into further and higher education. This study has focused particularly on the 16-25 year age group, a time of emerging adulthood and continuing developmental change (Arnett, 2000), which differs from the key previous study in adults by Cousins (2003), which centred around an older age group. Emerging adults in further and higher education with motor difficulties completed questionnaires alongside a cohort of parents of these individuals. A subset from each group were also interviewed. A retrospective analysis of case notes of those seen in childhood from a clinical setting was also undertaken, in order to consider changes from childhood. Students were matched with a cohort of students without any reported difficulties. Social behaviour including driving, drinking, and leisure pursuits were compared with typically developing students. An additional comparison was made with students who considered themselves to be 'clumsy' but had a diagnosis of Dyslexia, in order to compare current support in Further and Higher Education. This study has highlighted the persistent, pervasive and variable nature of DeD with over 50% of students reporting some level of impairment in an area of their life. These difficulties included learning to drive a car, difficulties with planning and organising themselves and their property, and continuing motor difficulties especially with handwriting and everyday tasks. Differences in social behaviour were also noted compared with control students. This study provides evidence that even in this resilient group who had reached further and higher education, DCD does not disappear for all once they reach adulthood.
Kirby, Amanda.H. (2008) Emerging adulthood and developmental co-ordination disorder. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.