Dyspraxia, often called Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a “subtle” but distressing condition which affects the way children and adults do practical tasks due to their difficulty with motor skills as well as general planning and organisation. Dyspraxia is a hidden disability, which can often make it more devastating, as people are expected to manage tasks that are just not possible for them.
Dyspraxia is a lifelong condition, but good support from a team of people can reduce the impact of the disability and help people participate successfully in their daily activities.
What is dyspraxia?
Dyspraxia was originally thought to be a purely motor related difficulty, however, we now know that this is not true. Dyspraxia affects the way a person approaches and carries out everyday tasks. Although motor skills are definitely the primary difficulty, they are by no means the only difficulty. People with dyspraxia also have difficulty with organising themselves and their tasks, managing their time, and mixing with others. These difficulties frequently result in people with dyspraxia having a lower self-esteem and experiencing a range of negative emotions, such as frustration, worry and fatigue.
What causes dyspraxia?
There are many theories about what causes dyspraxia, and many people have different theories. In reality, no-one is truly sure what causes dyspraxia. Those who have studied sensory processing believe that dyspraxia is caused by some children having difficulty processing or understanding the information they receive from their sensory systems. Our sensory systems tell us all about the world around us and, importantly, about our bodies. The body systems tells us where our bodies are in space, how far they are moving, how hard they are working and how to respond to gravity or changes in position. If we have difficulty processing this information (about 7% of people have a Sensory Processing Disorder; SPD, most are unaware of this), it makes sense that we will have difficulty using our bodies in our environment without appearing clumsy or poorly coordinated. The SPD theory can also explain the other difficulties faced by people with dyspraxia which cannot be explained by motor learning theories, including sleeping difficulties, attention difficulties, difficulty coping with emotions and general organisation.
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