Children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) have difficulty learning motor skills and performing activities of daily living, such as using a knife and fork, printing, and riding a bicycle. The cause of DCD is not well understood, but our research has shown that children with DCD use their brain differently and show subtle differences in their brain pathways compared to typically-developing children. Our research program aims to further unravel the brain differences in children with DCD in an effort to better understand the disorder and to inform rehabilitation interventions for these children.

Critically ill newborns (such as premature infants or infants with brain injury or heart disease) are at risk for motor impairments in childhood. Our research program aims to better understand the relationship of early brain development and motor outcomes of these at-risk newborns, and how rehabilitation interventions may affect brain and motor outcomes.


Electrophysiological Responses to Emotional Facial Expressions in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder: a Systematic Review
Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Parisa Ghanouni and Jill G. Zwicker
DOI: 10.1007/s40489-018-0134-8

Participation of children with developmental coordination disorder
Research in Developmental Disabilities
Sara Izadi-Najafabadi, Nikki Ryan, Gelareh Ghafooripoor, Kamaldeep Gill, Jill G. Zwicker
DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2018.05.011

Does the Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2 at 3 years of age predict developmental coordination disorder at 4.5 years of age in children born very preterm?
Research in Developmental Disabilities
Clarice Kwok, Margot Mackay, Jennifer A. Agnew, Anne Synnes, Jill G. Zwicker
DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2018.04.003

Developmental coordination disorder is more than a motor problem: Children describe the impact of daily struggles on their quality of life
British Journal of Occupational Therapy
Jill G Zwicker, Melinda Suto, Susan R Harris, Nikol Vlasakova, Cheryl Missiuna
DOI: 10.1177/0308022617735046

Severe retinopathy of prematurity predicts delayed white matter maturation and poorer neurodevelopment.
Archives of disease in childhood. Fetal and neonatal edition
Glass TJA, Chau V, Gardiner J, Foong J, Vinall J, Zwicker JG, Grunau RE, Synnes A, Poskitt KJ, Miller SP
DOI: 10.1136/archdischild-2016-312533
PubMed: 28536205

Occupational therapists' awareness of guidelines for assessment and diagnosis of developmental coordination disorder: Mesure selon laquelle les ergothérapeutes connaissent les lignes directrices relatives à l'évaluation et au diagnostic du trouble du développement de la coordination.
Canadian journal of occupational therapy. Revue canadienne d'ergotherapie
Karkling M, Paul A, Zwicker JG
DOI: 10.1177/0008417417700915
PubMed: 28730904

Intervention and management of developmental coordination disorder: Are we providing evidence-based services?Intervention et traitement d’un trouble du développement de la coordination : Les ergothérapeutes fournissent-ils des services fondés sur les faits scientifiques?
Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Renée Withers, Yoyo Tsang, Jill G. Zwicker
DOI: 10.1177/0008417417712285

The content of a virtual reality program for children with autism: Incorporating stakeholders' input
2017 International Conference on Virtual Rehabilitation (ICVR)
Parisa Ghanouni, Tal Jarus, Jill G. Zwicker, Kristin Mow, Alyssa Ledingham
DOI: 10.1109/icvr.2017.8007464

BrainNetCNN: Convolutional neural networks for brain networks; towards predicting neurodevelopment
Kawahara, J. and Brown, C.J. and Miller, S.P. and Booth, B.G. and Chau, V. and Grunau, R.E. and Zwicker, J.G. and Hamarneh, G.
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.09.046

Neuroimaging and Occupational Therapy: Bridging the Gap to Advance Rehabilitation in Developmental Coordination Disorder
Journal of Motor Behavior
Brown-Lum, M. and Zwicker, J.G.
DOI: 10.1080/00222895.2016.1271295

Smaller Cerebellar Growth and Poorer Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Very Preterm Infants Exposed to Neonatal Morphine
The Journal of Pediatrics
Jill G. Zwicker, Steven P. Miller, Ruth E. Grunau, Vann Chau, Rollin Brant, Colin Studholme, Mengyuan Liu, Anne Synnes, Kenneth J. Poskitt, Mikaela L. Stiver, Emily W.Y. Tam
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.12.024

Reliability of Early Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Necessity of Repeating MRI in Noncooled and Cooled Infants With Neonatal Encephalopathy.
Chakkarapani E, Poskitt KJ, Miller SP, Zwicker JG, Xu Q, Wong DS, Roland EH, Hill A, Chau V
DOI: 10.1177/0883073815600865
PubMed: 26323498

Developmental Coordination Disorder and Its Consequences
Jill G. Zwicker, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
DOI: 10.1123/apaq.2015-0089

Predictive subnetwork extraction with structural priors for infant connectomes
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Brown, C.J. and Miller, S.P. and Booth, B.G. and Zwicker, J.G. and Grunau, R.E. and Synnes, A.R. and Chau, V. and Hamarneh, G.
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-46720-7_21

Parents' experiences of splinting programs for babies with congenital limb anomalies
Kim M. Durlacher, Cynthia Verchere, Jill G. Zwicker
DOI: 10.3233/prm-150337

Tract-Based Spatial Statistics in Preterm-Born Neonates Predicts Cognitive and Motor Outcomes at 18 Months.
Duerden EG, Foong J, Chau V, Branson H, Poskitt KJ, Grunau RE, Synnes A, Zwicker JG, Miller SP
DOI: 10.3174/ajnr.A4312
PubMed: 25929880

Neonatal Pain and Infection Relate to Smaller Cerebellum in Very Preterm Children at School Age
The Journal of Pediatrics
Manon Ranger, Jill G. Zwicker, Cecil M.Y. Chau, Min Tae M. Park, M. Mallar Chakravarthy, Kenneth Poskitt, Steven P. Miller, Bruce H. Bjornson, Emily W.Y. Tam, Vann Chau, Anne R. Synnes, Ruth E. Grunau
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.04.055

Diagnosis and management of developmental coordination disorder.
Harris SR, Mickelson EC, Zwicker JG
DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.140994
PubMed: 26009588

Sensory Processing and Sleep in Typically Developing Infants and Toddlers
Am J Occup Ther
Mark Vasak, James Williamson, Jennifer Garden, Jill G. Zwicker
DOI: 10.5014/ajot.2015.015891

Brain Imaging Increases Our Understanding of Developmental Coordination Disorder: a Review of Literature and Future Directions
Curr Dev Disord Rep
Meisan Brown-Lum, Jill G. Zwicker
DOI: 10.1007/s40474-015-0046-6

Effect of internal versus external focus of attention on implicit motor learning in children with developmental coordination disorder
Research in Developmental Disabilities
Tal Jarus, Parisa Ghanouni, Rachel L. Abel, Shelby L. Fomenoff, Jocelyn Lundberg, Stephanie Davidson, Sarah Caswell, Laura Bickerton, Jill G. Zwicker
DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2014.11.009

Early neonatal pain exposure and brain microstructure interact to predict neurodevelopmental outcomes at 18 months corrected age in children born very preterm
International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience
Jillian Vinall, Jill G. Zwicker, Ruth E. Grunau, Vann Chau, Kenneth J. Poskitt, Rollin Brant, Anne R. Synnes, Steven P. Miller
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2015.04.132

Prediction of Motor Function in Very Preterm Infants Using Connectome Features and Local Synthetic Instances
Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention -- MICCAI 2015
Colin J. Brown, Steven P. Miller, Brian G. Booth, Kenneth J. Poskitt, Vann Chau, Anne R. Synnes, Jill G. Zwicker, Ruth E. Grunau, Ghassan Hamarneh
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-24553-9_9

Comment on the Paper by van den Bosch et al. Entitled ¿Prematurity, Opioid Exposure and Neonatal Pain: Do They Affect the Developing Brain': The Impact of Subtle Messaging
Liisa Holsti, Jill G. Zwicker, Ruth E. Grunau
DOI: 10.1159/000442081

Sensory Processing Patterns in Children Born Very Preterm
Am J Occup Ther
Stephanie C. Crozier, Jennifer Z. Goodson, Margot L. Mackay, Anne R. Synnes, Ruth E. Grunau, Steven P. Miller, Jill G. Zwicker
DOI: 10.5014/ajot.2016.018747

Parent perspectives on occupational therapy assessment reports
br j occup ther
Elizabeth Makepeace, Jill G Zwicker
DOI: 10.4276/030802214x14151078348396

Effectiveness of a Summer Camp Intervention for Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder
Physical & Occupational Therapy In Pediatrics
Jill G. Zwicker, Harpreet Rehal, Sharan Sodhi, Morgan Karkling, Alissa Paul, Mike Hilliard, Tal Jarus
DOI: 10.3109/01942638.2014.957431

Vincristine and fine motor function of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemiaLa vincristine et la motricité fine chez les enfants ayant une leucémie aiguë lymphoblastique
Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Cheryl L. Sabarre, Shahrad R. Rassekh, Jill G. Zwicker
DOI: 10.1177/0008417414539926

Motor impairment in very preterm infants: implications for clinical practice and research
Dev Med Child Neurol
Jill G Zwicker
DOI: 10.1111/dmcn.12454

Quality of life domains affected in children with developmental coordination disorder: a systematic review.
Zwicker JG, Harris SR, Klassen AF
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2012.01379.x
PubMed: 22515477

Perinatal and neonatal predictors of developmental coordination disorder in very low birthweight children.
Zwicker JG, Yoon SW, Mackay M, Petrie-Thomas J, Rogers M, Synnes AR
DOI: 10.1136/archdischild-2012-302268
PubMed: 23264434

Score for Neonatal Acute Physiology–II and Neonatal Pain Predict Corticospinal Tract Development in Premature Newborns
Pediatric Neurology
Jill G. Zwicker, Ruth E. Grunau, Elysia Adams, Vann Chau, Rollin Brant, Kenneth J. Poskitt, Anne Synnes, Steven P. Miller
DOI: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2012.10.016

Motorische Ungeschicklichkeit aus der Perspektive der Neurowissenschaft
Zeitschrift für Sportpsychologie
Jill Zwicker, Benjamin Holfelder
DOI: 10.1026/1612-5010/a000087

Developmental coordination disorder: A review and update
European Journal of Paediatric Neurology
Jill G. Zwicker, Cheryl Missiuna, Susan R. Harris, Lara A. Boyd
DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpn.2012.05.005

Developmental Coordination Disorder: A Pilot Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study
Pediatric Neurology
Jill G. Zwicker, Cheryl Missiuna, Susan R. Harris, Lara A. Boyd
DOI: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2011.12.007

Canadian Pain Society Abstracts, 2012.

Developmental Coordination Disorder in School-Aged Children Born Very Preterm and/or at Very Low Birth Weight: A Systematic Review
Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics
Jessica Edwards, Michelle Berube, Kelcey Erlandson, Stephanie Haug, Heather Johnstone, Meghan Meagher, Shirley Sarkodee-Adoo, Jill G. Zwicker
DOI: 10.1097/dbp.0b013e31822a396a

Brain activation associated with motor skill practice in children with developmental coordination disorder: an fMRI study
International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience
Jill G. Zwicker, Cheryl Missiuna, Susan R. Harris, Lara A. Boyd
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2010.12.002

Brain activation of children with developmental coordination disorder is different than peers.
Zwicker JG, Missiuna C, Harris SR, Boyd LA
DOI: 10.1542/peds.2010-0059
PubMed: 20713484

Effectiveness of Treadmill Training in Children With Motor ImpairmentsAn Overview of Systematic Reviews
Pediatric Physical Therapy
Jill G. Zwicker, Tanja A. Mayson
DOI: 10.1097/pep.0b013e3181f92e54

Neural correlates of developmental coordination disorder: a review of hypotheses.
Zwicker JG, Missiuna C, Boyd LA
DOI: 10.1177/0883073809333537
PubMed: 19687388

A reflection on motor learning theory in pediatric occupational therapy practice.
Zwicker JG, Harris SR
DOI: 10.1177/000841740907600108
PubMed: 19341020

Cognitive versus Multisensory Approaches to Handwriting Intervention: A Randomized Controlled Trial
OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health
Jill G. Zwicker, Allyson F. Hadwin
DOI: 10.1177/153944920902900106

Cognitive Versus Multisensory Approaches to Handwriting Intervention: a Randomized Controlled Trial
OTJR: Occupation, Participation, Health
Jill G. Zwicker, Allyson F. Hadwin
DOI: 10.3928/15394492-20090101-06

Quality of life of formerly preterm and very low birth weight infants from preschool age to adulthood: a systematic review.
Zwicker JG, Harris SR
DOI: 10.1542/peds.2007-0169
PubMed: 18245409


Current Projects
Developmental Coordination Disorder: Through the DCD Research Clinic at Sunny Hill Health Cenre for Children, we aim to identify and diagnose children with DCD who meet the diagnostic criteria for the disorder and to provide education and resources to children and families with DCD. As part of this clinical service, we will be establishing a database over time of children with DCD from which to answer many important questions about the disorder, including the impact of DCD on children and families, intervention and outcomes for children with DCD, and neuroimaging studies to better understand the neurobiology of the disorder.

Brain Development and Motor Oucomes of Premature Newborns: We have conducted serial MR scans of premature infants (within weeks of birth and again at term-equivalent age) and collected detailed neonatal clincial data to characterize early brain development of these babies. We are following this cohort throughout childhood and assessing their motor development at 18 months and 36 months corrected age, 4.5 years and 8 years. Our aim is to determine brain and clinical predictors of motor impairment in children born preterm.

Honours & Awards

Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Career Development Award - 2014-2018

Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar Award - 2014

Research Group Members

Janet Rigney
Sara Izadinajafabadi
Sara Leckie, Research Assistant
Kamaldeep Gill
Gisela Gosse
Isobel Fishman
Julia Schmidt, Postdoctoral Fellow
Alexandra Mackay
Shie Rinat, Graduate Student-Brain, Behavior and Development
Sarah Fletcher, Student