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What is dyspraxia?


Dyspraxia (also known as developmental coordination disorder (DCD)) is an impairment of the organization and planning of movement. In other words, our brains do not accurately transmit certain information to our bodies. Dyspraxia not only affects the planning of movement and how to execute movement, but also causes difficulties with perception, language, memory, processing and judgment. 


What are the main characteristics of dyspraxia?


Dyspraxia affects some kids more severely than others. Although some of the symptoms may improve as you get older, dyspraxia is a life long condition for which there is no cure.


Below are some common symptoms of dyspraxia that you may display. You may:


  • frequently trip, fall and bump into people and objects


  • have trouble learning to jump, hop, skip and run


  • struggle to distinguish left from right


  • often drop objects or have difficulty holding them


  • take a long time to write and draw because of difficulties with pencil grip and difficulties in forming letters


  • have difficulty working with buttons, snaps and zippers


  • have difficulty tying shoe laces


  • have trouble speaking at the right speed, volume and pitch


  • struggle to play and interact with other kids


  • avoid sports or gym classes


  • struggle with games and activities that require hand-eye coordination


  • have trouble remembering and following instructions


  • find it very difficult and uncomfortable to stand for a long time as a result of weak muscle tone


  • frequently misplace and loose personal belongings


  • have trouble picking up on the non-verbal cues of others.


  • be a messy eater


  • struggle to cut your food with a knife


  • struggle to open bottles of water or jars


  • struggle to ride a bike or play ball games


  • generally look a bit disheveled



How common is dyspraxia?


Although dyspraxia is not as widely recognized as other learning differences, approximately 6% to 10% of kids show some signs of dyspraxia. Boys are affected more often than girls. However, many people with symptoms are never diagnosed, which is why some experts refer to it as an invisible disorder.


What causes dyspraxia?


Experts do not know what causes dyspraxia. Many believe that genetics could play a role. Some experts believe that dyspraxia may be caused by a problem with the nerve cells that send signals from the brain to our muscles. Studies have also shown that kids who were born prematurely, had low birth weights or were exposed to alcohol in the womb are more likely to have dyspraxia.


What are the benefits of having dyspraxia?


Although having dyspraxia can be very frustrating and burdensome, there are some benefits to having dyspraxia. Most people with dyslexia are very creative and are prone to being original and thinking outside of the box. We also tend to be strong strategic thinkers and talented problem solvers.


Since we are forced to overcome difficulties from a very young age, we tend to be more determined, more motivated and more able to develop our own strategies to overcome some of our difficulties. Lastly, since we know what it is like to be different, we tend to me more empathetic, kind and thoughtful than if we did not have the condition.

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