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The DST as a diagnostic tool 2

Updated: Apr 29, 2021

9 years old child with mild DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder).

The DST can be used as a diagnostic tool, to assess rehabilitation progress. In addition to patients' performance, much can be learned from their spontaneous choices, such as leading leg, position of hands, climbing technique, etc.


Instruction: jump up the stairs.

Performance: patient jumps with both legs.

Observation: patient pushes relatively equal with both legs, but lands a bit loudly. Might indicate a weak lower extremity, weak core muscles or poor coordination.


Instruction: climb two stairs at a time.

Performance: patient climbs reciprocally, with no preference to either leg, but pushes his left thigh with his hand for support.

Observation: might indicate a difficulty of the quads and glutes, or with maintaining balance.


Instruction: climb up backwards.

Performance: patient struggles to plan his movement, first uses one hand and rotates his right leg, then lifts himself up using both handrails.

Observation: patient uses a lot of rotation and fixates his hands. Stairs' height is too challenging.


*At a lower height patient performs the task without the handrails, but still rotates his body to compensate on muscle weakness or ankle ROM.


Instruction: touch the lower stair with the toes of each leg.

Performance: patient succeeds with his right leg, but not with his left leg. In the second try he rotates his body, lifts his heel higher than when performing with the right leg, and puts more weight on his left toes to push himself back up.

Observation: might indicate a weakness of the right leg, pure muscle weakness, difficulty in maintaining balance over the right leg, or difficulty with coordination.


Instruction: climb up and down sideways.

Performance: patient uses 'step to' technique when climbing, and a reciprocal (step over) technique when going down. On his second attempt he succeeds climbing reciprocally.

Observation: patient first uses an easier method for climbing, and only later uses a more complex, yet efficient, method. Might indicate difficulty in movement planning or coordination.

Video Guide 5


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