Dyspraxia

What is Dyspraxia?

Sometimes related to environmental and lifestyle factors, dyspraxia is a condition that affects gross-motor or fine-motor skills. More common in children, the condition sometimes co-exists with other developmental and behavioral disorders, including ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder). There is no cure for dyspraxia, although therapy and adaptions based on abilities may help improve quality of life.

Diagnosis

Dyspraxia is often suspected by parents or teachers who observe a child when they become old enough to start school and notice developmental or motor skill issues. A primary care physician will perform an exam and may recommend further testing to check motor and coordination skills or offer a referral to a specialist.

What are the Symptoms of Dyspraxia?

While no specific cause of dyspraxia has been identified, it’s believed to be related to an interruption with how messages are transmitted from the brain to the rest of the body. As a result of this disruption, movements the brain wants to make aren’t executed smoothly.

Symptoms for children include

  • Developmental delays in sitting or walking
  • Difficulty tying shoes
  • Trouble jumping with accurate coordination and balance
  • Poor grasping abilities

Symptoms for adolescents and adults include

  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Exaggerated movements (i.e., flapping arms while running)
  • Trouble standing for long periods of time
  • Difficulty with daily dressing and grooming habits

How is Dyspraxia Treated?

Children with dyspraxia often need more time to learn certain skills, so offering praise as achievements are made can encourage further learning. Encouraging appropriate physical activities may facilitate motor skill development. Therapeutic measures such as using putty to increase gripping strength, using jigsaw puzzles to improve visual and spatial perception, and encouraging use of a keyboard to make writing easier can also be helpful.

Management of dyspraxia often involves physical and occupational therapies to improve coordination and other issues with motor functioning. Children who have dyspraxia often continue to deal with similar developmental challenges into adulthood. Some individuals with the condition may present symptoms slowly over time, or experience a different set of difficulties with each stage of life.

Resources
Last Reviewed:
October 09, 2016
Last Updated:
September 06, 2017