Welcome to the bulk of the Blog. Much like the fruit in a fruit salad or the sun of any solar system, this is the central part of this site and its most important page. This is where the blight side of dyspraxia is outlined. While my main focus of Dyspraxic Fantastic is to take the stigma out of dyspraxia and make it clear that we can still succeed it would be undignified to ignore the struggles we have to face on a daily basis. The cold, hard facts of Dyspraxia & DCD are found here split up across different categories for easy reading.
The biggest question we get asked is ‘What is Dyspraxia?’ This page is dedicated to answering that very question.
Dyspraxia in a Nutshell:
Dyspraxia is an impairment or immaturity of the brain which results in information not being transmitted properly.
The Aspects of Dyspraxia:
Dyspraxia can affect some or all of the following areas of development:
(Click image to enlarge.) Sensory, Coordination, Speech & Language, Physical & Stamina Emotions, Planning & Organisation, and Processing.
How each Aspect is affected by Dyspraxia:
Dyspraxia can have an effect on the senses, either making the brain overreact or under-react to certain sensory triggers. For example, light is overwhelming and causes pain. Further reading: There are at least 21 senses in the human body. For detailed Intel click this link: Senses Page
One of the main ones for those with dyspraxia. Coordination difficulties are split into 2 main categories; fine motor skills and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills are minor movements, such as clicking, tying shoelaces, etc. Gross motor skills are the major movements, like walking and moving arms/legs etc. Those with Dyspraxia are affected differently by coordination in different ways and degrees.
Another of the main ones for dyspraxia and the reason we can be clumsy. Spatial Awareness is part of the processing and co-ordination tag. The way our brains process the world it can have a ‘hiccup’ and get it wrong. We can have trouble perceiving where our body is in relation to the space surrounding us, which is why we knock into people and things easily
Speech and Language:
This is a combination of ‘Planning and Organisation’ and ‘Co-ordination’ aspects in a way. People with dyspraxia can struggle to plan and say words out loud. That’s why we sometimes wumble up jords… I mean jumble up words! Also, the voice box uses coordination and with those specific difficulties, it can be difficult to speak clearly.
Social situations are a tricky business. This crosses over with autism as struggling with social interaction is one of the main difficulties for them. Like autism, those with dyspraxia can be seen as different, unique, or odd. People can see this as ‘weird’ and use that as an excuse not to socialise with us. The problem stems from us saying things out of turn and general awkwardness comes naturally to us. We can also miss social cues and take things literally, so sarcasm can go over our heads. With all these pieces combined, social interaction is a challenge. It’s why you find that dyspraxics have a fierce loyalty to those around us, it takes a lot of effort to make friends so we aim to keep them!
Sensory is one part of processing our brains can have difficulty with. Our brains can get overworked by processing too much. Other types of information can be difficult for the brain to process too. An example of this are verbal instructions; where information can be easily forgotten right after we’re told.
Planning and Organisation:
When it comes to planning, those with dyspraxia can have certain difficulties with it. It is also why we can struggle with starting a task because it’s difficult to plan it out. When faced with a huge task it can cause the brain to overwork itself. This anxiety can cause us to shut down and avoid the task. Having the task broken down into chunks makes it easier for us to handle. It doesn’t mean others have to break it down for us though, as we can learn to do it ourselves. It does mean that certain individuals with dyspraxia may need some extra guidance and understanding.
I would argue that our emotions can get the better of us. This can be because we can have overwhelming emotions at times ~ especially negative. There are times where we can have feelings of strong happiness or sadness – a double edged sword really. Sometimes, the little things can get to us and leave us in a state of despair. Our self-esteem is brittle, so states of anxiety and sadness can hit us badly. It’s why we are prone to phobias, stress, anxiety, and even depression.
Physical & Stamina:
Dyspraxia can also affect the physical side of life. I feel that this is more of a mental thing (because of a low pain threshold) but also our minds are working extremely hard to cope. With over-stimulation from the environment, it makes us tire easily. I can have plenty of energy but this can quickly deplete. Certain environments can be raining in different ways.
The Symptoms of Dyspraxia and DCD:
I have created an introductory mind-map that outlines some of the main issues we face and just makes for an easier introduction. The table below goes into depth on all the possible attributes of Dyspraxia. (I’ll be aiming to get a video of explaining Dyspraxia at some point).
Please note: This is for reference only and isn’t a tool for self-diagnosis. However, if you find that many of the attributes apply to you then I suggest proceeding through the proper channels. Talk to your GP or doctor to arrange an appointment with a specialist.
Dyspraxia is a wide spectrum because of the different areas of problems. The degrees in which we are afflicted by each trait also makes it challenging. That’s why it is vital to understand each dyspraxic person is different from the last. If you are going to help someone with Dyspraxia this knowledge is half the battle.
I love tables! Call it a compulsion but whenever I make a document or a project then there has to be a table somewhere in it. I find them easy to read, crisp, professional, and clear which is so much better than just a wall of text. Below you’ll find a table of what Dyspraxics can face. You may save and share them if you so choose. If you’re having trouble reading the table there is a text version here: Click Here [/responsivevoice]
Different types of Dyspraxia and Apraxia
The major difference between them is that dyspraxia is when the person is born with it, while apraxia is a loss of function due to an injury or stroke etc. However, the conditions are much the same in principle.
There are different types of Dyspraxia and Apraxia which I have listed below:
Ideomotor Apraxia (IMA):
Affects single-use motor skills (like waving, and using tools)
Ideational Apraxia (IA):
Affects a sequence of movements (like getting dressed)
Oromotor Dyspraxia(AKA Verbal Apraxia/Apraxia of Speech/Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia):
Effects speech, difficulty in pronouncing words, and being understood.
Affects the ability to build and draw, despite understanding the task at hand – it’s just the doing part.
You may notice that many of the symptoms of dyspraxia cross over to other types of Learning Differences (such as Dyslexia, Autism, ADHD/ADD, etc). To help boost understanding I have dedicated pages to other conditions here: >>THE LINK<<
‘The Empty Fruit Salad Bowl’
And so this is the end of this page, many thanks for having a read through and I hope it has been a good insight into what Dyspraxia and DCD is. The Dyspraxia Foundation is a great place to seek out additional information, so get check out their site: www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk.
What I have outlined above are the negative attributes of dyspraxia, it’s the challenges we face and the issues we have to tackle. On the other hand, despite the negatives, we can be strong individuals with a unique set of skills and mentality. For an insight into the positive side check out this page: dyspraxicfantastic.com/the-positives/
Other than that, thanks for visiting one of the most important pages of my blog!
17 thoughts on “What is Dyspraxia & DCD?”
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Such a well written and researched blog – thank you! I have dyspraxia and can certainly identify with much of what’s mentioned here…
I think it’s important to remember that dyspraxia, while it can sometimes cause difficulties (along with the associated frustrations), can also be a fantastic asset!
Personally, I really struggle with verbal communication and this, i think, leads people to underestimate me – which day by day erodes my self confidence – and thus further impacts my communication (a vicious cycle). This is my biggest (perhaps only significant) struggle, BUT, it’s something I’m actively working to address (CBT amongst other things) and will overcome.
I’m also constantly getting lost (even on well trodden routes that are familiar to everyone else), tripping over things and dropping stuff. However, my poor memory and spacial awareness doesn’t bother at all me because I’m not hurting anyone (other than myself, possibly – still, no broken bones in 30-odd years!) and have developed techniques to overcome my memory issues, I have a sense of humour about it (getting lost tends to be a running joke with my friends), and have developed excellent (and transferrable) skills as a result – chiefly, organisation – planning routes/schedules. If someone has an issue with that – then surely that’s their problem, not mine? Also, I’ve been dyspraxic my whole life – this IS me, it’s part of who I am and not something that I have developed. I know no other reality and certainly wouldn’t want to change it at all. I think my life experiences (dyspraxia or otherwise) have made me who I am. I am (amongst other things) an Occupational Therapist (which I love and think is an ideal job for me) because I can really connect with, empathise and help people by applying my creativity and problem solving skills. I have also learnt the value of perseverance/determination (education was always a struggle, but I just passed my master’s degree!) and have developed excellent organisation skills (which have been essential for me). While I’m still terrible at football (which was quite isolating in school) it’s something that doesn’t really interest me anyway, Instead, I have ran 2 marathons and cycled over the Alps – not many of the kids who laughed at me in school could do that now! Dyspraxia is just one aspect of who I am, while it does influence who I am, it does not define me. Everyone is different. For me at least, dyspraxia is just a different kind of different.
Thanks for your amazing comment! It’s great to see successful people with Dyspraxia out there that, despite setbacks and a clumsy nature, can still push forward. I’ve certainly been underestimated in the past and I do what I can to prove myself. It’s certainly a challenge and can have a huge impact on confidence.
With your accomplishments and strong sense of who you are it shows that people shouldn’t underestimate you – anyone who does is a fool! For anyone with Dyspraxia it is important to accept it as who you are, which you have. Life does become a bit clearer and easier once you accept it.
Thank you so much for providing this blog! I am 21 and training to be an Occupational Therapist at university! After being misdiagnosed by an educational psychologist telling me I had learnt how to deal with all my problems when I hadn’t, I had an awful breakdown which meant that I had to come off of my practice placement which was awful, and eventually they diagnosed me with severe dyspraxia. I had no idea that Dyspraxia UK existed and that occupational therapists do their assessments. Or I would have definitely gone private! After getting this diagnosis, I have been able to make sense of this condition through mainly your site and I realise now that it means I have so many positive qualities too and that I will hopefully make a good OT. Thank you so much!!!!
It’s unfortunate that you got misdiagnosed, but it’s good to hear that you got the correct diagnoses. I’m glad my blog has helped provide information for you and I wish you all the best in your pursuit of being a OT.
Abbie, I think your experiences will really stand by you in the long run! I’m sure you’ll be a very empathetic OT who can draw on your creativity and experiences to deliver excellent patient care – just think about all the little adaptions people with dyspraxia make every day without even realising it! Good luck in your OT career! Remember success is a squiggly line: https://kisberlibrary.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/monday-motivator-follow-the-squiggly-line-to-success/
Thankyou for doing this, after several years of feeling rther stupid in a classroom after spending every hour of my day re-learning things, i was diagnosed by an ed psych as dyspraxic (after being diagnosed as dyslexic at age 7), however i can’t say i’ve ever really researched it too much, kind of makes me emotional seeing so much of myself in these symptoms. Anyway after literally begging my school, i finally got extra time in my exams and am going to study law next year! Anyway, its so nice to see others with the disability, often get misunderstood, so this is really refreshing!:)
Hi Ameliariley, thanks for your response it’s nice to see my blog reaching out to people. I’m glad you’ve got the diagnoses and finally the support you deserve! Hopefully in time more people will understand and having to fight for recognition will be a thing of the past. Thanks!
your resources have been very useful to me in helping my daughter get the right support she deserves.
I’m glad it has helped you and your daughter out!
Our daughter has full diagnosis of Dypraxia, Dyslexia & the Sensory side, shes 9 and in Primary school in the uk. She gets no classroom help whatsoever as the school say she can ‘cope’ We have had to get Childrens mental Health team involved as she clearly isnt coping but that help a little but dint change anything for her in school sadly. She comes home exhausted and frustrated everyday but as the school see her as having no ‘sen’ she is fighting this alone.
Many children with Dyspraxia fight alone, and from first hand experience I can understand your frustration with the school for not doing what they can for your daughter. In fact for a girl Dyspraxia is even harder than in boys considering the differences and the rarity. I suggest the best cause of action is to contact those who diagnosed her and see what they suggest, or contact the Dyspraxia Foundation…they have the resources and mounds of knowledge available to help you and your daughter. If that doesn’t work then maybe a change of school to one more equipped to help is the solution-of course I realise the complications of it and it’s a big decision to make.
Thanks for taking the time to do this. I am a dyspraxic student at Cambridge University in the UK and your website has certainly helped me, and I am sure a great many other people. Keep up the good work.
Thanks Ben, I’m glad it’s helped you out. Please feel free to recommend to anyone you think will benefit. Also if you don’t mind do you get the adequate support at Uni?
Exceptional post however , I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Bless you! WENTYLATORY PRZEMYSŁOWE
I will appreciate if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing.
Thank you for your feedback! I will try my upmost to keep it going!