Dyspraxia (also known as DCD) is a lesser known developmental disorder of the brain which causes difficulty in activities requiring coordination and movement; as well as having an impact on less physical aspects such as behaviour and organisation.
Whether you are reading this as someone who has this condition, knows someone with it or simply would like to better your understanding of it, there is always more to learn about it. Despite being relatively unknown, dyspraxia affects millions of people worldwide, below are the general things that dyspraxia can impact:
• Gross motor coordination skills (large movements)
• Fine motor co-ordination skills (small movements)
• Poorly established hand dominance
• Speech and language
• Eye movements
• Perception (interpretation of the different senses)
• Learning, thought and memory
• Emotion and behaviour
• Emotions as a result of difficulties experienced
Dyspraxia is also often closely linked in with other developmental and/or learning disorders such as dyslexia, irlens and dyscalculia and, thus, individuals are likely to have more than one of these, although that is no always the case.
I spent the first fourteen years of my life cementing the opinion that I was some lazy, clumsy, unfocused, awkward mess of a person; that was at least until last year when, at the age of fifteen, I as finally told by a professional that I did, in fact, have dyspraxia.
I was so frustrated that it had taken this long for me to receive an answer as to why I was the way that I was. Especially since at the age of eight I had been sent away from a misdiagnosis with no closure and the lingering comment that I ‘just had some severe self-esteem issues’. However, the encompassing feeling of relief and validity was enough to give me peace, there was absolutely no good going to come from getting frustrated by the things that I did as a result of this condition now.
Due to my dyspraxia being recognised so late I had fourteen years of practice to develop my problem-solving skills and because of this, I am incredibly fortunate to be a ‘high functioning dyspraxic’, but so many others are affected in much worse ways than myself. This is by no means one of the worst conditions out there but the impact it can have on you physically, emotionally and socially can be a real struggle that should never be invalidated.
There is no cure for dyspraxia, however, through the practice of problem-solving, coping mechanisms and helping aids the impacts of dyspraxia get be drastically reduced. An occupational therapist can also make a world of difference, my interactions with my occupational therapist have resulted in being given additional time in exams, a calmer environment in which to complete exams, a guided tour of my post-16 environment, dyspraxic-friendly shoelaces and an ergonomic pen.
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The articles here are written by guest writers or previous TWE members.