Students with Motor Coordination Disabilities


Motor Coordination can include difficulties performing movements accurately, in the correct sequence, consistently, or with appropriate force or timing. It can arise as a result of a diagnosed or undiagnosed condition, visual perception difficulties/vision loss, a lack of experience or exposure to particular movement skills, equipment, or environments. 


Cerebral palsy, developmental coordination disorder (DCD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) 

Instructional Accommodation Examples

  • Use chunking to break down the activity into smaller parts, while keeping them relevant, meaningful, and achievable. 
  • Focus on teaching the purpose and rules of various physical activities to promote understanding of the task and to assist the student in planning their movement (e.g., boundaries, rules, objectives of the game). 
  • Focus on specific instructions to provide detailed feedback (e.g., to receive an object, keep your eyes focused on the path of the object). 
  • Co-create success criteria with the student when teaching a movement skill to promote their understanding of the steps to execute the skill (e.g., when jumping rope, the student can describe what steps they will need to take to perform the skill). 
  • Provide consistent reinforcement (e.g., verbal praise) when the student has completed the task to acknowledge the effort it takes.   
  • Ensure that the task is achievable by providing the appropriate accommodations (e.g., when introducing the skill of striking an object with an implement, place a ball on a batting tee to increase chances of success). 

Environmental Accommodation Examples

  • Design a learning environment that allows for the student to practice skills in a consistent way before introducing additional skills (e.g., have the student practice hitting a stationary ball and build gradually once they have achieved success). 
  • Create a learning environment in which students can practice skills, concepts and strategies in different ways (e.g., when teaching a specific skill, use centres where the skill can be practiced in different ways with different equipment). 
  • Provide visuals in the learning space to enhance understanding of instructions and create a flow (e.g., schedule board, anchor charts). 
  • Ensure access to adapted equipment outlined in the student’s Individual Education Plan (e.g., mobility devices). 

Assessment Accommodation Examples

  • Share with the student the learning goals that are being assessed and co-create the success criteria (e.g., allowing the student to choose equipment that works best for them to demonstrate the task). 
  • Provide multiple opportunities for the student to demonstrate the skill in different ways (e.g., take a picture of someone who is demonstrating the learning goal, have the student describe how they can best execute the skill). 
  • Provide a range of tasks related to the learning goal(s) that are being assessed (e.g., set up mini-games within the learning space that the student can rotate through to provide multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning). 
  • Involve the student in the assessment process, giving them a voice to share how they would like to demonstrate their learning of the skills (e.g., when performing a variety of locomotor movements with and without equipment, a student with a mobility impairment may choose to travel using an available piece of equipment like an adaptive tricycle, a scooter board, their prosthetic, or no equipment at all). 

Learn more about supporting students with motor coordination disabilities: