Is Dyspraxia a Disability?

A girl is hiding a face behind a big iPad.

Featured image by Helena Lopes,

What is Dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia is a neurodivergent condition that affects how the mind processes actions, usually affecting coordination and movement, balance, and organisation abilities. Motor difficulties include poor hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness, which can make it difficult for people with dyspraxia to carry out everyday functions such as writing, cooking, and driving a car.

How does Dyspraxia affect people?

Dyspraxia does not affect a person’s intelligence, meaning they may have thoughts and ideas, but can struggle to express these coherently. This can lead to stammering or confused speech. People with dyspraxia often do not know they have this neurodivergence, and are often mistaken as ‘clumsy’. However, this can cause people with dyspraxia frustration and negative mental health, as they feel misunderstood or frustrated that they cannot express themselves clearly or perform tasks quickly.

How common is Dyspraxia in the UK?

Dyspraxia is thought to affect up to 6% of the entire population, and up to 2% of people are severely affected by dyspraxia. However, dyspraxia often goes undiagnosed and is believed to be more common than many realise. It’s estimated that 5% of school-aged children may display some features of dyspraxia. Males are more likely to be affected by dyspraxia than females and the condition often continues into adulthood.

Is Dyspraxia a Disability?

Dyspraxia (or Developmental Coordination Disorder DCD) is a neurodivergence which affects fine and gross motor skills, coordination, and processing. It is estimated that around 10% of the population has dyspraxia. As dyspraxia is a life long neurodivergent condition, it is protected under the Equality Act 2010 and disability law.

Is Dyspraxia a learning disability under the Equality Act?

The Equality Act 2010 refers to physical or mental impairments that have a substantial and long-term adverse effect on someone’s ability to carry out everyday activities. This encompasses dyspraxia, which falls within the definition. As a result, dyspraxia is a protected disability under the Equality Act. This means that people with dyspraxia shouldn’t face any discrimination and should be provided with ‘reasonable adjustments’ for their disability. These adjustments include:

  • Ensuring that disabled people aren’t at a significant disadvantage to non-disabled people due to certain practices or criteria. 
  • Ensuring that disabled people aren’t at a significant disadvantage to non-disabled people due to a physical feature. 
  • Where a disabled person would, but for the provision of an auxiliary aid, be put at a substantial disadvantage in comparison.

Is dyspraxia considered a disability in the workplace?

Dyspraxia can affect an individual’s ability to plan and coordinate movements, so it can clearly impact their ability to work. Since work involves everyday activities and dyspraxia hinders those, it’s considered a disability under the Equality Act 2010.

However, not everyone with dyspraxia will need accommodations to work. The nature of the work will influence this, as will the severity of the condition, which can vary widely. Some people will be able to carry out their roles without any adjustments at all, whereas others will need more significant accommodations.

Some job applications ask: “Do you consider yourself to have a disability?”

This gives candidates the opportunity to decide for themselves whether they need accommodations during the recruitment process. Knowing the day-to-day effects of their condition, candidates are obviously best-placed to make this decision. 

Can dyspraxia hinder performance in the workplace?

People with dyspraxia are also the only people who’ll know how much their everyday work could be affected by the condition. Some people with dyspraxia develop compensatory techniques to help them carry out particular work duties. Employers also have a duty to provide reasonable accommodations, whether it’s assistive technology, modified workspaces, or additional training and support.

Whether dyspraxia hinders workplace performance depends largely on the type of work people do. If manual dexterity or fine hand-eye coordination is required, it can be problematic. For instance, typing or using tools might be difficult for those with dyspraxia. Similarly, they might face issues with organisational and time management tasks.

On the other hand, there are many workplace scenarios where dyspraxics thrive. Their eagerness for people to understand their condition means that they often become expert communicators, with the ability to empathise with others, listen closely and delegate tasks to people. This potent combination of skills means people with dyspraxia can be highly effective leaders.

Support for dyspraxic pupils and students

A male teacher is showing a workbook to two female pupils.

Image by Gustavo Fring,

While dyspraxia does not affect a person’s intelligence, difficulty processing information and using motor skills can impact on students’ progress and achievement, so it’s important that students with dyspraxia receive the support available to them.

For example, they could benefit from additional time in examinations to process the information, 1-1 support for subjects such as maths, clearer instructions in subjects such as food technology or woodwork, and consideration in sports.

Some people with dyspraxia can develop a stammer, as they can take longer to process their thoughts and explain themselves. This may be mistaken for a lack of confidence, so it’s important teachers give their students with dyspraxia time to respond.

Teachers can help school pupils with the following:

  • Allowing the student 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
  • Explaining a task verbally before demonstrating it, rather than doing both at the same time
  • Minimising distractions around the board
  • Setting homework at the beginning of the lesson
  • Teaching on a 1:1 basis, with minimal distractions, where appropriate

Support for dyspraxic adults at work

A female employer and a male employee are sitting opposite each other.

Image by Tima Miroshnichenko,

As every individual is different, it is best for employers to speak with their employees 1-1 about how they can best support them. However, the following reasonable adjustments could help adults with dyspraxia make the most of their skills in the workplace:

  • Minimising 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 increasing the speed once the task has been accomplished.
  • Adapting or avoiding tasks that require the 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

A person is hiding behind some window blinds.

Image by Noelle Otto,

Dyspraxia is considered to be a hidden disability as the physical signs can be difficult to recognise. Dyspraxia is also less well known and often misunderstood, many people with dyspraxia do not realise they have the condition until later in life. For example, many people think they are simply ‘clumsy’, and as the condition does not affect intelligence, many people with dyspraxia can learn a wide range of skills, they just may have taken a little longer than other people.

To find out if you have traits of dyspraxia, try taking our online dyspraxia test.

Blog Author

April Slocombe