Dyspraxia is a disorder that affects motor skill development and coordination. Most children experience occasional signs of dyspraxia as they grow and develop muscle strength, coordination and skills needed for daily living and independence, but such symptoms in children with dyspraxia persist over time. Dyspraxia is not a learning disability (LD), but many children with LD may at times show signs of dyspraxia.
Dyspraxia is usually identified in school-age children, but early signs the disorder can often be detected during the preschooler years. Below is a list of common warning signs of dyspraxia in children in Grades 3–8.
Some of the “symptoms” listed below also apply to some learning disabilities and/or to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which often co-exist with dyspraxia. To see if there is any overlap in symptoms and to clarify your concerns, you may want to review our more comprehensive Interactive Learning Disabilities Checklist.
For At Least the Past Six Months, My Child Has Had Trouble
Gross (Large) Motor Skills
- Holding objects without dropping them.
- Physical coordination during sports and exercise.
- Moving around without bumping into things or knocking things over.
- Games and activities that require good hand-eye coordination.
Fine (Small) Motor Skills
- Tasks that require fine motor skills, like buttoning, holding a pencil or cutting with scissors.
- Manipulating small objects, such as Legos and puzzle pieces.
- Modulating his voice (volume, speed and pitch).
- Speaking clearly and not too slowly.
Memory and Focus
- Remembering and carrying out multi-step tasks, such as making a bed.
- Accurately positioning or moving objects from one place to another, such as pieces on a game board.
- Maintaining healthy self-esteem.
- Feeling confident about performing tasks, playing sports and speaking.
- Engaging in normal play and interaction with children and adults.
- Is easily irritated by touch, such as tags inside clothing, hair brushing, etc.
If your child displays several of these warning signs, don’t hesitate to seek help. Print out this article, check off the symptoms that your child displays and take the list to pediatrician who you consult. Once your child is diagnosed and gets the appropriate help, he or she will be better able to succeed in school, the workplace and in life.