What is Dyspraxia?
Dyspraxia is an impairment that affects fine and/or gross motor coordination – it particularly affects the planning, organization, and timing of movements. Single movements or tasks may be done well, but it is harder to coordinate several different movements or tasks, especially when there is time pressure.
Dyspraxia is also called Development Co-ordination Disorder (DCD). Its effects can be mild, but can also affect participation and functioning of everyday life skills in play, education, work, and employment.
Prognosis for Dyspraxia
- Feet swinging and tapping when seated
- Hands clapping or twisting
- Hands flapping when running or jumping
- Unable to stay in one place longer than 5 minutes
- A loud and shrill voice
- Moves awkwardly
Constantly bumping into objects and falling
- Difficulty pedaling tricycle
- No sense of danger (jumps from inappropriate heights)
- Messy eater; prefers to eat with hands
- Spills liquid from drinking cup
- Avoids construction toys (blocks, Legos, puzzles)
Treatments influence prognosis
For those with DCD, occupational and physical therapy can help with fine and gross motor deficits. In addition, for Dyspraxia other treatments may include behavioral optometry, psychological interventions, and speech and language therapy.
A diagnosis of dyspraxia can be made by a clinical psychologist, an educational psychologist, a pediatrician, or an occupational therapist. Any parent who suspects their child may have dyspraxia should see their doctor.
Causes of Dyspraxia
Scientists do not know what causes dyspraxia. Experts believe the person’s nerve cells that control muscles (motor neurons) are not developing correctly. If motor neurons cannot form proper connections, for whatever reason, the brain will take much longer to process data.
Common co-occurring conditions in Dyspraxia
It is quite common for people to have dyslexia alongside other specific learning difficulties. These are called co-occurring difficulties and they include things like ‘dyspraxia’ and ‘attention Deficit Disorder’.