What is Dyspraxia/DCD?

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), also known as Dyspraxia is a neuro-developmental condition beginning in childhood. Dyspraxia is thought to affect 10% of children and is more common in boys than girls. It can affect the processes of gross motor skills, as well as speech, organisation, planning, sequencing, ideation, organisation, and execution.

  • Ideation is the process of gathering sensory information to generate and develop an idea that we want to actualize
  • Organisation and motor planning involves organising and sequencing the steps needed to successfully complete a task
  • Execution of the actions to complete a task involves messages being sent from the brain to the body, and the necessary movements needed to complete the task are then performed

Children with Dyspraxia can have difficulty mastering motor activities, planning, sequencing, and carrying out everyday actions. Each and every child is an individual, so the signs and symptoms of Dyspraxia may differ from one child to the next. The challenges each child with Dyspraxia can face may change over time and can persist into adulthood.

How would you identify Dyspraxia?

It is often that parents notice motor impairments in their children which can be a sign of Dyspraxia. However, the child may also be having difficulties in deciding what to do or in the planning and sequencing of the actions needed to complete a task.

Children with Dyspraxia may experience difficulties with hand movement tasks like doing buttons or laces, they may have messy handwriting, or they may struggle to type. Other difficulties such as organising and remembering things may be a challenge.

Many children with Dyspraxia do not enjoy sports, due to balance and coordination issues, and so may struggle to ride a bike or kick a ball.

Dyspraxia can affect speech and language development. For children with Dyspraxia, having a clear idea and then organising the language to express themselves can sometimes be challenging and can cause problems when speaking.

Children with Dyspraxia may present the following:

  • Poor balance (falling over, tripping over one’s own feet)
  • Difficulty combining movements into a controlled sequence
  • Problems with spatial awareness
  • Trouble picking up and holding onto objects
  • Clumsiness – knocking things over, bumping into people accidentally
  • Difficulty in determining left from right
  • Problems chewing food
  • Difficulty completing fine motor tasks such as using a knife and fork, writing, fastening buttons, tying shoelaces, brushing teeth
  • Difficulties controlling speech and making speech sounds
  • Difficulty controlling breathing
  • Slow language development