Below is an overview of the behavioral characteristics which are often evident in individuals with DCC. Please understand every individual is different. The abilities and characteristics for each child or adult with DCC may vary.

  • Delays in attaining developmental milestones (for example, walking, talking, or reading). Delays may range from very subtle to highly significant.
  • Clumsiness and poor motor coordination, particularly on skills that require coordination of left and right hands and feet (for example: swimming, bike riding, tying shoes, driving).
  • Atypical sensitivity to sensory cues (for example: food textures, certain types of touch) but often with a high tolerance to pain.
  • Difficulties with multidimensional tasks, such as using language in social situations (for example: jokes, metaphors), appropriate motor responses to visual information (for example: stepping on others’ toes, handwriting runs off the page), and the use of complex reasoning, creativity and problem solving (for example: coping with math and science requirements in middle school and high school, budgeting).
  • Challenges with social interactions due to difficulty imagining potential consequences of behavior, being insensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others, and misunderstanding social cues (for example: being vulnerable to suggestion, gullible, and not recognizing emotions communicated by tone of voice).
  • Mental and social processing problems become more apparent with age, with problems particularly evident from junior high school into adulthood.
  • Limited insight into their own behavior, social problems, and mental challenges.

These symptoms occur in various combinations and severity. In many cases, they are attributed incorrectly to one or more of the following: personality traits, poor parenting, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, Nonverbal Learning Disability, specific learning disabilities, or psychiatric disorders. It is critical to note that these alternative conditions are diagnosed through behavioral observation.

In contrast, DCC is a definite structural abnormality of the brain diagnosed by an MRI. These alternative behavioral diagnoses may, in some cases, represent a reasonable description of the behavior of a person with DCC. However, they misrepresent the cause of the behavior.