Skip to main content

Road safety education for children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD)

In 2016, 29% of pedestrians killed or seriously injured in preventable road traffic collisions in Great Britain were children under the age of 15 years.

Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), a chronic disorder that affects fine and/or gross motor skills, may be more vulnerable at the roadside compared to their typically developing peers. Current methods of teaching road safety in schools are largely knowledge based and do not necessarily improve behaviour in real traffic situations.

The use of virtual reality may be a viable supplementary teaching method. This project aimed to explore whether children with and without DCD would more accurately locate safe road crossing sites in a virtual city, when the viewpoint was either first-person or third-person.

The findings suggest that typically developing children were more accurate in the first-person condition, whereas children with DCD were equally poor at identifying safe crossing sites in both conditions.

The difference between the performance of typically developing children and children with DCD cannot be explained by self-reported road crossing experience and tentatively suggests that multimodal methods may be needed to effectively teach road safety to children with DCD.


This project is funded by The Waterloo Foundation.

Research lead

Dr Catherine Purcell

Dr Catherine Purcell

Reader: Occupational Therapy

+44 (0)29 225 10961