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What are paediatric co-ordination problems?

Co-ordination is the body’s ability to repeatedly execute or control a movement or sequence of movements smoothly and accurately. Paediatric co-ordination problems occur when a child’s movement becomes unsmooth, inconsistent and inaccurate. Co-ordination difficulties may occur in isolation or along with other problems such as neurological problems, learning difficulties and developmental problems.

Challanging balance exercises on uneven terrain.Above: Challanging balance exercises on uneven terrain.

What causes co-ordination problems in children?

Co-ordination problems in children are caused by:
  • Central nervous system problems
  • Joint problems
  • Processing disorders
These can be caused by a range of things, including:
  • Brain injuries
  • Spinal Cord injuries
  • Congenital disorders (for example Cerebral Palsy)
  • Infection
  • Poor proprioception

What are the symptoms of co-ordination problems in children?

Co-ordination problems may be displayed through symptoms including:
  • Delays in reaching developmental milestones, (for example crawling, walking etc.)
  • Clumsiness
  • Unable to move smoothly
  • Gross-motor co-ordination difficulties (for example problems standing on one foot, jumping, walking)
  • Fine-motor co-ordination difficulties (tying shoelaces or writing for example)
  • Head oscillates due to inability to keep it in correct position
  • General unsteadiness and slight shaking
  • Poorly judged movements
  • Poor balance
  • Poor handwriting
  • Falling over more than usual

What can physiotherapy do to help children with co-ordination problems?

Research has shown that physiotherapy can help to improve co-ordination problems; however the severity of the disorder will determine how much progress your child will make. Physiotherapy treatments for co-ordination problems include:
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Facilitating normal movement / learning movement patterns
  • Fine motor control activities
  • Practising gross-motor activities (for example jumping, hopping)
  • Postural control activities
  • Balance exercises
  • Co-ordination skills practice (for example throwing and catching)

What are the benefits of physiotherapy for children with co-ordination problems?

Physiotherapy can be of great benefit to children with co-ordination problems. These benefits include:
  • Improved posture and gait
  • Increased strength
  • Able to perform equally with peers
  • Improved handwriting

Co-ordinating activities whilst movingAbove: Co-ordinating activities whilst moving


Paediatric co-ordination problems may arise due to brain injuries, congenital disorders (Cerebral Palsy for example), as well as spinal cord injuries. Children may show any number of symptoms such as clumsiness, unsmooth lack of control with movement, shaking and general unsteadiness, poor balance and poorly judged movements. Physiotherapy can help improve co-ordination through treatments including strengthening and balance exercises, as well as practising co-ordination skills like throwing and catching.

To book an appointment or for more information about paediatric co-ordination problems contact us or call 0330 088 7800.

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