What is Dyspraxia?
Dyspraxia is a neurological condition that affects co-ordination and movement. It is also known as developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD)
Signs of Dyspraxia in early years
- Delays in crawling and walking
- Difficulty with self-feeding
- Showing unusual body postures during their first year
- Trouble playing with toys that involve good co-ordination, such as stacking up bricks
Signs of dyspraxia in older children, teenagers and adults
- Issues with co-ordination, balance and movement
- Problems with learning new skills
- Finding it hard to think and remember information whether it is at school, work or during leisure activities
- Difficulty with carrying out daily living skills, such as getting dressed, tying shoelaces or preparing meals to a set time
- Frustration and impatience with daily tasks such as washing up and tidying
- Difficulty with writing, typing, drawing and grasping small objects
- Trouble with coping in social situations, such as making friends and avoiding group activities in fear of being bullied for clumsiness
- Issues with managing your emotions
- Problems with time management, planning and personal organisation
- Issues with perception, for example not knowing how to answer a question such as, “Does this shirt make me look fat?” This is similar to a trait of autism.
- Clumsiness, i.e. tripping over yourself, bumping into things and spilling or dropping things
- Not knowing your left from your right, similar to dyslexia
- Trouble with participating in sports that require good co-ordination skills such as tennis, football and basketball. People who have dyspraxia can also struggle with playground activities such as hopping or jumping and participating in physical education classes.
- Difficulty with carrying out other activities that require good co-ordination skills such as riding a bike, dancing and playing video games
- Sensitivity to touch, such as being ticklish and jumping when someone touches you. This is similar to a trait of autism.
- Having illegible handwriting, similar to dysgraphia
- Having a passive response style due to problems with processing
- Difficulty with walking up and down stairs
- Swinging or moving their arms and legs a lot due to having trouble keeping still. This is similar to a sign of ADHD.
- Difficulty with following instructions – similar to dyslexia
- Low self-esteem
- At school, college and university, people with dyspraxia may prefer to study on a one to one basis rather than in a group.
- Behavioural problems that often stem from the person’s frustration with their symptoms
Dyspraxia can also affect fine or gross motor skills as well as speech. It can also concur with other types of neurodiversity such as dyslexia, ADHD or autism. Some of the signs of dyspraxia can also be present in dyslexia, ADHD, autism and dysgraphia.
The exact causes of dyspraxia are unknown, but “it is thought to be caused by a disruption in the way messages to the brain” are sent to the rest of the body. The condition is also said to be hereditary and it can affect people of all ages.
NHS Dyspraxia (developmental co-ordination disorder) in adults: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/developmental-coordination-disorder-dyspraxia-in-adults/
NHS Symptoms of Developmental co-ordination disorder in children: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/developmental-coordination-disorder-dyspraxia/symptoms/
Dyspraxia Foundation’s What is Dyspraxia?: https://dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/about-dyspraxia/
Medical News Today’s What Is Dyspraxia?: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/151951
Exceptional Individuals Am I Dyspraxic? Webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufToZHiLRgM&t=1s