Dyspraxia or Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a common condition affecting motor coordination in up to six per cent of children, of whom 70 per cent will experience some level of difficulty in adulthood.
- Difficulty with balance, fatigue, hand-eye coordination, rhythm, hand movements and/ or manipulation skills
- Clumsy movement (eg. knocking things over or bumping into people)
- Reading and writing difficulties (eg. poor handwriting, although may use either hand)
- Oversensitivity to taste, light, touch or noise.
- Poor sense of time, speed, distance, weight, or sense of direction
- Organisational or planning difficulties – poor short term memory
- Difficulties with accuracy, concentration or following instruction
- Sleep problems
- Slow to adapt to new or unpredictable situations
- May experience speech difficulties (also known as verbal dyspraxia).
Potential impact on daily life and employment
May have difficulty telling others they have dyspraxia
- Difficulty remembering appointments or finding their way around unfamiliar buildings or areas
- Difficulty in learning new skills or completing tasks
- May have difficulty with dress sense or presenting themselves appropriately
- Can experience continued periods of low-level pain in joints
- Can find it difficult to wake from deep sleep
- Dyspraxia links to poor mental health (eg. anxiety and depression).
Support in the workplace
Explore what coping strategies the individual has in place to minimise the impact of their dyspraxia
- Avoid giving complex multiple instructions, check understanding by asking the individual to repeat instructions
- Consider using memory aids (eg. dictaphones). Where memory loss is a greater challenge, use a job coach to help the learning process
- Avoid ambiguous terms as they may be taken literally (eg. I‘ll do that for you in a minute)
- Regular breaks allow concentration of effort to be targeted
- Reinforce learning with written information or CDs/DVDs
- Regularly check with the individual if they are able to put what they are doing into a time context – provision of a written timed plan can be helpful
- Job coaching should be considered when an individual starts a new job or experiences a job change.
Source; Dyspraxia Australia website.