BACKGROUND: Previous studies have emphasized the importance of early identification of children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) to prevent the development of secondary academic, emotional and social manifestations of the disorder. The aim of this study was to develop a valid parent and teacher questionnaire--the Children Activity Scales for parents (ChAS-P) and for teachers (ChAS-T)--to identify children aged 4-8 years at risk for DCD and to examine the reliability and validity of these questionnaires.

METHODS: The questionnaires' content and face validity were established, and then cut-off scores were determined based on responses of 355 teachers and 216 parents. Internal consistencies were also calculated. Factor analyses were performed, and construct validity was determined by examining the questionnaires' ability to discriminate between 30 children aged 5-6.5 years diagnosed with DCD and 30 typically developing children. Concurrent validity was examined by comparing questionnaire scores with those of the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (M-ABC).

RESULTS: High values were obtained for internal consistency (0.96-0.94) for the ChAS-T and the ChAS-P respectively. Factor analysis revealed four distinct factors within the ChAS-P and three within the ChAS-T, reinforcing the theoretical validity of the items selected and appropriateness for identifying DCD. Construct validity was indicated by finding significant differences between the groups' scores on the ChAS-T and the ChAS-P. Significant correlations between the children's scores on the questionnaires and those of the M-ABC confirmed their concurrent validity.

CONCLUSIONS: Initial results suggest that the ChAS-T and Chas-P are reliable tools to identify children at risk for DCD.

Published in: Child Care Health and Development, 2006, 32, 6, 619-632, Special issue about DCD.