what is dyspraxia?

What is Dyspraxia?

Adorable 7 year old girl baking cookies falling making mess over white background.Over the years, Dyspraxia has several names, and can also be called: ‘Developmental Dyspraxia‘ or ‘Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)‘.

It is still not certain what causes dyspraxia but it is thought to be due to an immaturity of neurone development in the brain. Students with dyspraxia may have difficulties with the simplest of tasks: developmental milestones are often delayed; fine and gross motor skills are affected; threading beads; tying shoelaces; balancing; riding a bike; catching a ball. Often these problems are also accompanied by difficulties in vision and speech.

Like dyslexia and dyscalculia the extent to which people are affected varies tremendously. Some people may be only affected slightly, others more seriously – this not surprisingly leads on to difficulties at school.

As with other learning difficulties, it is important to recognise dyspraxia as soon as possible, before it impacts on a child’s self esteem. Just as there is no single set of signs that characterise all dyslexics, there is not thought to be one cause of dyspraxia.

Dyspraxia affects approximately 10% of the population, some severely. The overwhelming majority are male.

definition of dyspraxia

The medical journal, defines dyspraxia as;

‘A serious impairment in the development of motor or movement co-ordination that can’t be explained solely in terms of mental retardation or any other specific inherited or acquired neurological disorder.’

What a mouthful! I understand it to be;

‘If they persistently continue to fall over and are clumsy, well after their peers have stopped doing it’.

by Maria Chivers 2005

where does the word dyspraxia come from?

‘Dys’ comes from the Greek word meaning ‘difficulty with or poor’.
‘Praxis’ means movement.


‘Dyspraxia means difficulty with movement and motor coordination.’

People with dyspraxia may also experience other problems such as: dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia or ADHD.

how can i help a student with dyspraxia?

Whilst there is yet no known treatment for dyspraxia, regular physiotherapy and/or occupational therapy may improve motor and coordination skills.

There are lots of things you can do at home to help improve co-ordination skills. Playing games: ball games: tennis, football, rounders, cricket; marbles; skipping, hoola hoops, etc all help develop vital skills. At the same time the children are ‘just’ playing. The earlier it is started the better.