PURPOSE The National Health Service in Scotland published a best practice framework to support occupational therapists and physiotherapists to deliver effective services for children with developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD); however, adherence is variable. To highlight areas for development, this study compared the care pathway within a paediatric DCD service against the NHS Scotland framework. METHODS A partnership of researchers and clinicians based in the United Kingdom conducted a qualitative study with 37 participants (N = 13 interview participants, N = 24 workshop participants). In-depth interviews and/or workshops were used to map the DCD service against the NHS framework. Identified gaps were aligned with four key stages of the care pathway. Qualitative analysis software was used to analyse the data. RESULTS Core principles to guide future development were identified for each phase of the pathway. These core principles related to the NHS framework and focused on issues such as involving the family, defining clear pathways and enhancing children's participation. Participants identified potential strategies for service improvement such as developing community-based interventions and information provision. CONCLUSION Challenges when providing services for children with DCD include confusing service pathways and poor partnership working. It is, therefore, important that clinicians utilise collaborative working strategies that support children's participation. IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION There are numerous challenges related to the implementation of best practice principles into the provision of therapy services for children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). It is important that AHPs seek ways of engaging parents and educational professionals at all stages of the care pathway in order to ensure optimum service provision for the child. Addressing participation is an important aspect and community-based strategies may be particularly beneficial, both as a preventative activity and as an intervention approach.