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Dyspraxia: What You Need To Know

What is dyspraxia?

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.

What does dyspraxia look like?

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.

What causes dyspraxia?

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.

How can you tell if your child has dyspraxia?

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
  • Poor organisation
  • 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

For more information about dyspraxia, take a look at the Dyspraxia Foundation website.

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