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Dyspraxia: A Fumble to Tumble

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Dyspraxia is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects physical coordination. Read below to learn more about this.

Written by

Dr. Shikha

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Abhishek Juneja

Published At December 9, 2022
Reviewed AtDecember 9, 2022

What Is Dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia is a movement and coordination issue caused by a disruption in the messages transmitted from the brain to the muscles. Early childhood is when it is most commonly diagnosed, but it can also develop later in life as a result of an illness or a brain injury. Dyspraxia can affect adults as well. It affects things like handwriting and tying shoelaces, as well as motor abilities like catching and riding a bike.

Dyspraxia or developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a condition in which children do not develop appropriate motor abilities for their age. While some toddlers outgrow the problem, the majority of teenagers and adults continue to struggle with movement. As they grow, treatment can help them operate better.

What Are the Types of Dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia is divided into several categories:

  • Motor dyspraxia affects tasks such as writing, dressing, and skipping.

  • Verbal dyspraxia causes speech difficulties.

  • Oral dyspraxia is a condition that causes difficulty moving the mouth and tongue.

What Is the Cause of Dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia's actual etiology is unknown, and there may be more than one. It could be related to differences in the way neurons in the brain form, which impacts the communication of the brain with the rest of the body. Coordinated movement is a complex process involving different nerves and various parts of the brain. Any miscommunication in this process could lead to movement and coordination difficulties.

However, several risk factors have been found that can enhance a child's chances of getting dyspraxia. Among them are:

  • Having a family history of dyspraxia.

  • Consuming alcohol or using illegal drugs while pregnant.

  • Low birth weight.

  • Prematurely born, usually before the 37th week of pregnancy.

What Are the Symptoms of Dyspraxia?

Children with dyspraxia frequently struggle with motor learning. Some dyspraxic children also have other physical or behavioral issues. Motor dyspraxia is characterized by difficulties coordinating physical motions such as going up and down stairs, hopping, or kicking balls. Children suffering from motor dyspraxia may be able to do something one minute and then be unable to do it the next. Some symptoms of dyspraxia in children include:

  • Trouble writing, buttoning or lacing their shoes, or running and jumping.

  • Awkward or clumsy.

  • Trouble changing their clothes.

  • The posture is unusual.

  • Trouble learning new skills.

  • Get tired easily.

  • Avoid difficult tasks, such as handwriting.

  • Collide with other people or objects.

  • Messy eaters.

Verbal dyspraxia affects children's ability to coordinate their muscles to make vocal sounds and words. They have trouble speaking clearly and fluently or saying particular words or sentences. Verbal dyspraxia causes children to talk slowly and with frequent pauses. Children with dyspraxia of speech may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • The trouble with intonation. They may speak in a monotone or emphasize each syllable the same.

  • Talk more slowly than other children their age.

  • Frequent pauses when speaking.

  • Trouble making or repeating sounds.

  • Do not use many words and have a limited vocabulary.

Oral dyspraxia can make eating and swallowing difficult for children.

Everyone's dyspraxia is unique. There are numerous possible symptoms that can change over time. Some symptoms which are observed in adults are:

  • Gait abnormalities, or improper posture, balance, and movement issues.

  • Issues with organization and planning.

  • Having trouble with grooming and housekeeping tasks.

  • Hand-eye coordination issues.

  • Difficulty in learning new skills.

  • Fatigue.

  • Lack of confidence or social awkwardness.

  • Trouble while writing or typing.

Dyspraxia has no bearing on the level of intelligence. One may be stronger in areas like determination, creativity, and motivation if they have dyspraxia. Symptoms vary from person to person.

How Is Dyspraxia Diagnosed?

Symptom severity varies significantly from one child to another. For several years, it may not be evident that the child is not developing key skills. Dyspraxia may not be diagnosed until a child turns five years old or older. It is not dyspraxia if the child frequently bumps into objects, drops things, or has trouble with bodily coordination. These symptoms could point to a variety of different issues or nothing at all. It is critical to see a pediatrician for a complete examination. A doctor will look at things like:

  1. Medical history.

  2. Mental aptitudes.

  3. Fine and gross motor skills.

  4. Developmental milestones.

There are no medical tests that can be used to diagnose dyspraxia. It is possible to make a diagnosis if motor abilities are far below what is expected for the age, and this deficit has a long-term negative impact on daily activities. Other illnesses with similar symptoms have been ruled out or diagnosed by a clinician since the symptoms began early in development.

What Is the Treatment for Dyspraxia?

Some children's symptoms fade away as they get older. However, this is not the case for the majority of children. Dyspraxia has no known remedy. People with dyspraxia can learn to manage their symptoms and enhance their abilities with the correct therapies. Because everyone's needs are different, treatment must be tailored to them. A variety of factors will influence the treatment plan. Finding the correct programs and services depends on the severity of the child's symptoms and other concomitant diseases. One might work with a team of various healthcare professionals.

  • Through positive reinforcement, a type of therapy known as applied behavior analysis (ABA) can help enhance social and self-help skills, communication, and independence. A behavior analyst can assist with that. Occupational therapists can assist patients in learning new skills and achieving specific goals in their everyday activities. A developmental-behavioral pediatrician has specialized training in child and adolescent development's medical and psychosocial aspects. Physical therapists assist clients in improving their movement and exercise by providing hands-on care and teaching. Psychologists can assist with a range of concerns, including stress management, coping skills, and mental health in general. Speech and language therapists help patients who struggle to make specific sounds, stutter, or have other communication issues.

  • The child can learn to better manage chores such as tying shoes or dressing themselves, using eating utensils properly, using the toilet, walking, running, playing, and arranging an approach to education with regular practice. Therapy can assist the child in gaining confidence, which can help them socially. Special services and accommodations may be available at the child's school to assist with learning.

  • Occupational therapy is also beneficial to adults, and this can help with everyday tasks that need minor motor and organizing skills. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, sometimes known as talk therapy, can help to change negative thoughts and behavior patterns that undermine self-esteem. Even if one has physical limitations, one should exercise regularly. If this is a concern, consult a doctor for a physical therapy referral or seek out a certified personal trainer.


Dyspraxia is a problem of developmental coordination. General and fine motor abilities and cognitive abilities are all affected by this lifelong disorder. It should not be mistaken for a mental illness. Dyspraxia sufferers can have ordinary or above-average intelligence. Dyspraxia does not have a cure, but it can be effectively controlled. One may improve their organizational and motor abilities with the correct therapy, allowing one to live life to the fullest.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Symptoms of Dyspraxia?

People with dyspraxia exhibit the following symptoms:
- They are clumsy or awkward.
- They struggle with writing, buttoning, lacing their shoes, or running and jumping.
- They struggle to learn new skills.
- They collide with other people or objects.
- They get tired quickly.
- They avoid tasks that are difficult for them, such as handwriting.


Are Dyspraxia and Autism the Same?

Many children with autism spectrum disorders will have dyspraxia symptoms, and vice versa. Common symptoms include difficulty speaking, sensitivity to light and noise, difficulty concentrating, and others. However, they are not the same.


Is Dyspraxia a Type of ADHD?

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a neurobehavioral disorder, whereas dyspraxia is not, although the two frequently co-occur. Dyspraxia is a fine motor skill disorder that occurs when there is a disconnection between the signals sent by the brain to coordinate the body's muscles and the subsequent physical movements.


What Do People With Dyspraxia Excel At?

Dyspraxic people excel at bold 'big picture' thinking, pattern recognition, and inferential reasoning. Because of the difficulties they face, they are often resourceful, persistent, and determined problem solvers. Similarly, with the proper support in place, they are extremely dependable and hardworking.


What Are the Difficulties That Dyspraxic People Face?

Dyspraxia can cause stress and frustration when people struggle with daily tasks requiring coordination, such as dressing, cleaning, cooking, and driving. Adults with dyspraxia may walk with a different gait, collide with objects frequently, and struggle to participate in sports or learn to drive a car.


Can Dyspraxia Affect Mental Age?

Dyspraxia is a common disorder that affects movement and coordination. It is also called developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD). Dyspraxia has no impact on intelligence. However, individuals with dyspraxia are prone to anxiety and depression.


Are People Born With Dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia is a genetic condition. What causes dyspraxia is unknown. If a person was born prematurely, they might be likelier to develop it. Dyspraxia is more prevalent in men and frequently runs in families.


Is Dyspraxia Considered a Special Need?

Dyspraxia causes a child to move clumsily and perform poorly than expected in daily activities for their age. As a result, a dyspraxic child may have special educational needs (SEN). In some cases, additional SEN support may suffice; in others, an Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP) will be required.


Does Dyspraxia Have an Impact on Personality?

There is a physical as well as an emotional component in dyspraxia. Oral language skills are affected in some cases. These issues, when combined, can cause embarrassment and social awkwardness. Individuals may gradually lose confidence, feel isolated, and develop low self-esteem.


What Is the Most Common Illness Associated With Dyspraxia?

Adult dyspraxia is sometimes associated with other conditions that exist concurrently. Autistic spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are examples of these. In addition, sleep deprivation, stress, and depression are common.


Can Dyspraxia Have an Impact on Driving?

Driving is a major challenge for adults with dyspraxia. Dyspraxia can make driving difficult because it impairs gross and fine motor skills, decision-making, navigation, the ability to physically handle the vehicle, and the ability to judge speed and distance.
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Dr. Abhishek Juneja
Dr. Abhishek Juneja



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