Dyspraxia, also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), is thought to affect up to 10% of the population and up to 2% severely. It can affect people of all intellectual abilities. Males are four times more likely to be affected than females. Dyspraxia/DCD can run in families. There may be an overlap with other Specific Learning Differences (SpLDs) such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) with Hyperactivity (ADHD), dyslexia and Conditions on the Autistic Spectrum (ASC).
The term 'dyspraxia' comes from the word 'praxis', which means 'doing, acting'. Dyspraxia/DCD can affect coordination skills, such as tasks requiring balance, playing sports or learning to drive a car; dyspraxia/DCD can also affect fine motor skills, such as writing or using small objects.
The following definition of dyspraxia/DCD was produced by Movement Matters UK, the umbrella organisation for key bodies involved in dyspraxia/DCD in the UK, agreed by consensus and recognised by the NHS:
"Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), also known as Dyspraxia in the UK, is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. This condition is formally recognised by international organisations including the World Health Organisation. DCD is distinct from other motor disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke. The range of intellectual ability is in line with the general population. Individuals may vary in how their difficulties present; these may change over time depending on environmental demands and life experience, and will persist into adulthood.
An individual’s coordination difficulties may affect participation and functioning of everyday life skills in education, work and employment. Children may present with difficulties with self-care, writing, typing, riding a bike, play as well as other educational and recreational activities. In adulthood many of these difficulties will continue, as well as learning new skills at home, in education and work, such as driving a car and DIY. There may be a range of co-occurring difficulties which can also have serious negative impacts on daily life. These include social emotional difficulties as well as problems with time management, planning and organisation and these may impact an adult’s education or employment experiences."
Movement Matters UK (2018)
For the majority of those with the condition there is no known cause, however, current research suggests that it is the unresponsive or varied development of neurones in the brain, rather than brain damage, which form the foundations of dyspraxia. People with dyspraxia have no clinical neurological abnormality to explain their condition.
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