What is Dyspraxia?
Dyspraxia, also known as Development Coordination Disorder (DCD), affects fine and/or gross motor skills in children and adults. Dyspraxia often co-occurs with other neurodevelopmental conditions such as dyslexia but can also exist on its own. Dyspraxia affects around 5% of school-aged children and difficulties often continue into adolescence and adulthood. Males are more likely to be affected than females and the condition may run in families.
Individuals with dyspraxia have many strengths such as:
- Being creative and original thinking.
- Good at strategic thinking and problem-solving.
- Determined and hard-working.
- Highly motivated.
Dyspraxia affects the following areas:
Individual's with dyspraxia have difficulties with the gross and fine motor skills. They may seem to be clumsy or lack coordination. They may find motor skills (tasks involving movement) hard to learn and difficult to retain.
- The individual may be clumsy – bumping into things, tripping over frequently.
- They may have difficulty with ball games (throwing, kicking and catching).
- Many people struggle to hold stationary and may have an awkward pen grip.
- Eating with cutlery, without dropping food down themselves can be challenging.
- Using scissors can be uncomfortable and challenging.
- Individuals may be slow to dress themselves and unable to fasten clothing/tie shoelaces.
Speech involves the body organising and carrying out movements to create sound, so therefore speech may be impaired or delayed.
- Verbal dyspraxia can occur in conjunction with general motor difficulties or can occur in isolation.
- Read more about verbal dyspraxia.
- Individuals with a verbal dyspraxia may have delayed language and speech development.
- They may struggle to speak clearly, particularly ‘on the spot’ or in complex conversations.
- Some people with dyspraxia have difficulty keeping up with conversations.
- There may be long pauses before an individual responds to a question or comment
- Read more about supporting speech and language difficulties on our website.
Individuals with dyspraxia may have difficulty in planning and organising thoughts and ideas.
- Individuals may have difficulty organising their thoughts, their body and/or equipment.
- They may be slower than peers to process verbal information such as instructions.
- They may be untidy or seem ‘messy’.
- Focusing attention, remembering information and managing time can be challenging for individuals with dyspraxia.
Every person is unique so it’s important to find out what their individual strengths and difficulties may be.
Individuals can become frustrated and have low self-esteem because they feel less able than their peers. They may also feel misunderstood if others do not appear to appreciate or recognise their difficulties which, in some cases, may lead to challenging behaviour.