Dyspraxia is a disorder that affects motor skill development. People with dyspraxia have trouble planning and completing fine motor tasks. This can vary from simple motor tasks such as waving goodbye to more complex tasks like brushing teeth.
It is estimated that dyspraxia affects at least two percent of the general population, and 70% of those affected are male. As many as six percent of all children show some signs of dyspraxia.
A person with dyspraxia can learn to function independently. Special learning methods and repeated practice of basic tasks can help. Sometimes occupational, physical, or speech therapy is also needed.
What Are the Effects of Dyspraxia?
Dyspraxia is a lifelong disorder. Its severity and symptoms can vary from person to person. And, it can affect people differently at different stages of life. Dyspraxia can affect many basic functions required for daily living. It is often broken down into categories like these:
Dyspraxia By Category
May Cause Troubles With
|Ideomotor Dyspraxia||Completing single-step motor tasks such as combing hair and waving goodbye.|
|Ideational Dyspraxia||Multi-step tasks like brushing teeth, making a bed, putting clothes on in order, as well as buttoning and buckling|
|Oromotor Dyspraxia||Coordinating the muscle movements needed to pronounce words|
|Constructional Dyspraxia||Establishing spatial relationships, for instance, being able to accurately position or move objects from one place to another|
Dyspraxia often exists along with learning disabilities such as dyslexia (e.g., trouble reading, writing and spelling) or dyscalculia (e.g., trouble with mathematics), and other conditions that impact learning, such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Some symptoms of all of these are similar.
Weaknesses in comprehension, information processing and listening can contribute to the troubles experienced by people with dyspraxia. They may also have low self-esteem, depression and other emotional and behavioral troubles.
What Are the Warning Signs of Dyspraxia?
Babies with dyspraxia may avoid crawling and rolling over and other tasks involving motor skills. As they become older, children with dyspraxia are prone to problems such as those listed below. Having these problems does not necessarily mean a person has dyspraxia. But if they continue over time, consider testing by trained professionals. You or your child may benefit from special help.
But if troubles continue over time, consider testing for dyslexia.
Dyspraxia: Warning Signs By Age
Teens and Adults
How Is Dyspraxia Identified and Treated?
There is no cure for dyspraxia. However, early identification and intervention can greatly help. Depending upon the severity of the disability, work with occupational, speech and physical therapists can improve a person’s ability to function and succeed independently.
It can be very frustrating to have trouble communicating or moving. Beginning at an early age, it is vital that parents offer patience, encouragement, help and support.
All people with dyspraxia need help practicing simple tasks. They can benefit from step-by-step progress into more complex activities. Start with easy physical activities that develop coordination. This can increase confidence. Encourage friendships to broaden experience and understanding of social relationships.
This article is made possible by a grant from the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation.