What is Dyspraxia?

It is a life-long neurological condition affecting muscle co-ordination, sensation and organisation. It does not affect intelligence.

Do you know someone with these difficulties? Or maybe it’s you!

  • Slow or illegible handwriting and poor at ball games?
  • Frequently tripping and banging into things as a child?
  • Difficulty learning to ride a bike or drive a car?
  • Someone who struggles daily with organisation and planning?
  • Hypersensitive to some food, touch, loud noise or crowds?
  • Difficulty with eye muscles and binocular vision.

 Dyspraxia is also known as Developmental Co-ordination Disorder, has a genetic bias and tends to run in families. About 50% of all babies who were premature or had difficult births are Dyspraxic. Two out of every 30 in school or workplace (6% of the population) is affected.

Ideally it should be diagnosed by NHS Paediatric Therapists around the age of 5, but it’s not considered a high priority, and there have been cut backs. Many children are never diagnosed, and may become labeled as ‘lazy,’ ‘stupid’ or ‘difficult’ at school.

There is poor provision in diagnostic assessments for young children, but a virtual black hole for teenagers or adults with no NHS service available for them at all.

 It is well documented that Dyspraxia can seriously affect relationships, academic results and employment. Low self esteem, anxiety, temper tantrums, panic attacks and unemployment are common secondary effects of Dyspraxia.

Does diagnosis help?

Yes, it helps people take charge of their own lives, reduces stress and improves their mental health without drugs. Dyspraxia is a ‘disability’ under the Equality Act so employers must provide reasonable low cost adjustments. The assessing Occupational Therapist might suggest strategies such as keyboards (avoid writing) extra time in training and exams, flexi-time at work, and office organisation.

Diagnostic Assessment by a specialist Occupational Therapist, costing about £700, helps people of all ages. It can be the key to understanding and accessing the help that is out there, and gives people a fresh start.

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