Dyspraxia: Causes, symptoms, and treatments

A person with dyspraxia has problems with movement, coordination, judgment, processing, memory, and some other cognitive skills. Dyspraxia also affects the body’s immune and nervous systems.

Dyspraxia is also known as motor learning difficulties, perceptuo-motor dysfunction, and developmental coordination disorder (DCD). The terms “minimal brain damage” and “clumsy child syndrome” are no longer used.

According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, individuals with dyspraxia have difficulties in planning and completing fine and gross motor tasks. This can range from simple motor movements, such as waving goodbye, to more complex ones like sequencing steps to brush one’s teeth.

What is dyspraxia?

Daniel Radcliffe 2011 (Straighten Colors)
Harry Potter star, Daniel Radcliffe, has dyspraxia. Photo by Joella Marano

Dyspraxia is a neurological disorder that impacts an individual’s ability to plan and process motor tasks.

Individuals with dyspraxia often have language problems, and sometimes a degree of difficulty with thought and perception. Dyspraxia, however, does not affect the person’s intelligence, although it can cause learning problems in children.

Developmental dyspraxia is an immaturity of the organization of movement. The brain does not process information in a way that allows for a full transmission of neural messages.

A person with dyspraxia finds it difficult to plan what to do, and how to do it.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) describes people with dyspraxia as being “out of sync” with their environment.

Experts say that about 10 percent of people have some degree of dyspraxia, while approximately 2 percent have it severely. Four out of every 5 children with evident dyspraxia are boys, although there is some debate as to whether dyspraxia might be under-diagnosed in girls.

According to the National Health Service, United Kingdom, many children with dyspraxia also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Symptoms of dyspraxia

Symptoms tend to vary depending on the age of the individual. Later, we will look at each age group in more detail. Some of the general symptoms of dyspraxia include:

poor balance

poor posture

fatigue

clumsiness

differences in speech

perception problems

poor hand-eye coordination

Young girl tying shoe laces
Tying shoelaces can be a difficult task for children suffering with dyspraxia.

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