Is Dyspraxia a Disability?
Source for the dyspraxia keyring card image: https://dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/christmas-dyspraxia-keyring-card/
There is a wide debate as to whether dyspraxia is a disability or not.
While dyspraxia is not considered a specific learning disability in America, it is considered a disability worldwide.
In the U.K. for example, dyspraxia is looked upon as a “motor disability” as it can affect a person’s fine or gross motor skills.
Support for dyspraxic pupils and students
Pupils and students at school, college or university who have dyspraxia can get specialist learning support for their academic work.
Support at school
Teachers can ensure the following support procedures are put in place for school pupils with dyspraxia:
- Not allowing teachers and peers to compare a dyspraxic pupil to a more “able” pupil.
- Praising every effort “and small accomplishment” by a dyspraxic pupil. This can help a pupil who feels like a failure to raise their self-esteem.
- Allowing a dyspraxic pupil extra time to complete their tasks.
- Teaching a pupil in small bursts.
- Allowing the pupil to rest if necessary.
- Ensuring the pupil understands what they have been taught and to repeat if needed.
- Teaching on a 1:1 basis, with minimal distractions, where appropriate.
Support at college and university
College and university staff can help dyspraxic students with the following:
- Giving students special guidance with completing tasks in their current course of study and giving options of further study and employment.
- Giving students formal academic and practical tuition to help students plan and organise their work.
- Providing students with examples of essays, projects and reports for them to complete.
- Breaking down processes to steps and giving students the opportunity to provide feedback of their understanding.
- Giving students “strategies to compensate for poor memory and organisational skills such as mnemonics, timetables, flow charts, mind maps, handouts and word processing software. If dyspraxic university students apply for disabled students’ allowance (DSA), it can include special software for mind maps, flow charts and word processing.
- DSA can also include a Dictaphone for recording classes, lectures and seminars and photocopying costs.
- Informing students of relaxation techniques, assertiveness and confidence building.
- Ensuring strategies are put in place for students to safely handle laboratory and cooking equipment in practical aspects of courses.
Support for dyspraxic adults at work
Employers can put the following workplace reasonable adjustments in place for adults with dyspraxia:
- Ensuring that they avoid handwritten tasks.
- Using speech-to-text or other software, or a smartphone or a tablet, in particular tasks.
- Breaking down tasks into smaller steps and demonstrating them.
- Encouraging initial accuracy with a task and the increasing the speed “once the task has been accomplished.”
- Adapting or encouraging avoidance of tasks that require use of “very good fine motor skills.”
- Providing “guidance for organisation and planning” where employers need to complete tasks to a deadline.
Dyspraxia as a hidden disability
According to the Equality Act (2010), dyspraxia is considered a disability.
Dyspraxia could be known as a hidden disability because nobody can tell if someone has dyspraxia just by looking at them.
Understood’s Is Dyspraxia a Learning Disability? https://www.understood.org/en/learning-thinking-differences/child-learning-disabilities/dyspraxia/is-dyspraxia-a-learning-disability
University of St Andrews Dyspraxia: https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/hr/edi/disability/dyspraxia/
Dyspraxia Foundation’s How can teachers help? https://dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/dyspraxia-children/teachers-help/
Dyspraxia Foundations Further/Higher Education: https://dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/dyspraxia-children/furtherhigher-education/
Movement Matters Information for employers: http://www.movementmattersuk.org/dcd-dyspraxia-adhd-spld/developmental-disorders-documentation/dcd-and-employment.aspx