Special Needs

Understanding Dyspraxia in children, and how it affects them

Dyspraxia, also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), is a neurological disorder that affects an individual's ability to plan and coordinate their movements. In children, it can manifest as difficulties with gross and fine motor skills, such as crawling, walking, running, jumping, skipping, and hand-eye coordination.

Children with dyspraxia may struggle with activities that require coordination and organization, such as tying shoelaces, using scissors, and dressing themselves. They may also have difficulty with handwriting, drawing, and other fine motor skills.

In addition to motor skills, dyspraxia can also affect cognitive skills, such as attention, memory, and organization. This can impact a child's academic performance and social interaction with their peers.

Dyspraxia is usually diagnosed in early childhood, but it can also be diagnosed in later years. There is no known cure for dyspraxia, but early intervention, occupational therapy, and other forms of specialized support can help children develop strategies to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Unique strengths

  • People with dyspraxia can have a highly creative mind and a great imagination, which can lead to a unique and innovative approach to problem-solving.
  • Individuals with dyspraxia may excel in fields that require spatial reasoning, such as architecture or engineering.
  • Some people with dyspraxia have excellent verbal communication skills and can be highly articulate and persuasive.

Scientific facts

  • Children with dyspraxia tend to be clumsy and struggle with planning, organizing, and coordinating movements.
  • Dyspraxia is a neurological condition, and is also referred to as developmental coordination disorder (DCD).
  • Dyspraxia can affect other areas of development in addition to movement, such as language and social skills.


  • Children with dyspraxia may experience difficulty with motor skills, such as balance, coordination, and fine motor control.
  • They may struggle with processing and retaining verbal instructions.
  • They may also struggle with organization and planning.

How parents and teachers can be more sensitive

  • Provide a supportive and flexible environment that accommodates the unique needs of individuals with dyspraxia, such as allowing for frequent breaks and flexible schedules.
  • Use clear and concise language when giving instructions or explanations, and provide visual aids or demonstrations whenever possible.
  • Provide opportunities for them to use their skills and talents.
  • Do not yell at them or call them clumsy or dumb.
  • Early interventions can create a positive impact for later progression of the disease in children.


Gibbs, J., Appleton, J., & Appleton, R. (2007). Dyspraxia or developmental coordination disorder? Unravelling the enigma. Archives of disease in childhood, 92(6), 534-539.

Livingston, E. M., Siegel, L. S., & Ribary, U. (2018). Developmental dyslexia: Emotional impact and consequences. Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, 23(2), 107-135.

Van den Heuvel, M., Jansen, D. E., Reijneveld, S. A., Flapper, B. C., & Smits-Engelsman, B. C. (2016). Identification of emotional and behavioral problems by teachers in children with developmental coordination disorder in the school community. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 51, 40-48.