Dyspraxia is a term commonly used to describe Developmental Coordination Disorder, or DCD. It is a fairly common disorder that affects motor coordination and occurs across the range of intellectual abilities - it is not linked to cognitive abilities. Dyspraxia affects language, perception and thought, specifically causing issues with coordination.
A person with dyspraxia may have a variety of difficulties which may also change over time. This could involve both fine motor coordination and gross motor coordination, and can impact a person’s functioning in education as well as in employment.
A child with dyspraxia may experience difficulty with self care, writing and riding a bike. These continue into adulthood, affecting things like learning to drive or other new skills. There may be problems with time management and planning, personal organisation and emotional difficulties. People may also experience difficulty with memory, processing and perception.
Dyspraxia can occur on its own in a person, but it can often coexist with other conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia, language disorders and social, emotional or behavioural impairments.
Research suggests that in people with dyspraxia, there is an immaturity of neurone development in the brain, as opposed to brain damage. There is no known cause of this and people with dyspraxia don’t have any neurological abnormality that may explain the condition.
In pre-school children the following may occur:
Being late to reach milestones such as rolling over, sitting up, standing, walking or speaking
Inability to jump, kick a ball etc when their peers are able to
Difficulty judging how to behave around other people
Difficulty in understanding positional concepts such as "on” or "in front of”
Difficulty walking up or down stairs
Needs to be taught skills rather than learning instinctively
Frequent falling over
Difficulty in holding pens/pencils
Finds jigsaws or shape sorting games difficult
In school aged children the following may occur:
Avoiding PE and joining in with games
Difficulty in remembering or following instructions
Difficulty in writing
Performs badly in a class setting but improves when working one-to-one
Difficulty in copying work from a board at the front of class
Many of the difficulties listed for a pre-school child above, with little improvement