A DCD module for physiotherapists: increase in self-reported knowledge and skills

In this ‘In Brief’, we will explain why we developed the DCD PT module, the process we used to develop and evaluate it, and what we found when physiotherapists used it. We will also outline the potential benefits of using this evidence-based online tool.

Why was the DCD PT module developed?

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a chronic medical condition with potentially negative health consequences. Physiotherapists (PTs) can improve the lives of children with DCD but, in order to do so, must use evidence-based approaches to management. Online modules with synthesized evidence-based information, can illustrate best practices through interactive media and can be available on an ongoing basis to allow clinicians to learn at their own pace and use the embedded resources as needed. An online evidence-based DCD module could thus support PTs to implement best DCD practice.

How did we develop and evaluate the DCD PT module?

Nine Canadian PTs from varied clinical settings, having different experiences working with children with DCD were interviewed to document their DCD content needs and format preferences. Their recommendations were summarized and guided the development of the module. In addition, evidence from the literature was synthesized and organized into five sections: 1) Identification 2) Planning Interventions and Goals 3) Evidence-Based Practice 4) Management and 5) Resources. Case scenarios, clinical applications, videos, links to resources, and interactive learning opportunities were also embedded. The module was posted online on a secure section of CanChild’s website. Fifty PTs from different work settings across Canada completed online questionnaires before and after completing the module; 43 of the PTs also completed a third online questionnaire 2 months later. The questionnaires assessed the impact of the module on PTs' self-perceived DCD knowledge and clinical skills (e.g., using best approaches), as well as about PT DCD clinical practice.

What were the study findings?

PTs perceived the module to be comprehensive and useful. Results indicated an increase in self-reported DCD knowledge and skills, and this increase was maintained two months later. The videos were particularly appreciated to illustrate best practices in DCD. PTs reported feeling more confident to implement best practice and many of them reported using the resources embedded in the module with their clients (e.g., flyers to raise awareness about “What is DCD”, tools to set up collaborative goals with children).

What are the potential benefits of using the DCD PT module?

The DCD PT module seems to have the potential not only to increase PTs’ knowledge and skills but also to support them in implementing evidence-based services for children with DCD. Future studies will need to evaluate the impact of the use of the evidence-based resources embedded in the module on the quality of the services delivered to children with DCD and resulting improvements in their quality of life.

The DCD PT module is now available.

This project was funded by the Ontario Physiotherapy Association (Kim Wolny) Research Grant - Physiotherapy Foundation of Canada.

For more information about the DCD PT module development and impact, please see the following references:

Camden, C., Rivard, L., Pollock, N., Missiuna, C. Knowledge to Practice in Developmental Coordination Disorder: Impact of an Evidence-Based Online Module on Physical Therapists' Self-Reported Knowledge, Skills, and Practice. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics. 2015 Mar 19. doi: 10.3109/01942638.2015.1012318. [Epub ahead of print]

Rivard, L., Camden, C., Pollock, N., Missiuna, C. Knowledge to Practice in Developmental Coordination Disorder: Utility of an Evidence-Based Online Module for Physical Therapists. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics. 2014 Dec 3. doi: 10.3109/01942638.2014.985414. [Epub ahead of print]

Levac, D., Glegg, S. M., Camden, C., Rivard, L. M., Missiuna, C. Best practice recommendations for the development, implementation, and evaluation of online knowledge translation resources in rehabilitation. Physical Therapy. 2015 Apr;95(4): 648-62. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20130500. Epub 2014 Oct 9.

If you want more information on the DCD PT module, please contact Chantal Camden, co-PI.