What Is Dyspraxia?

Health, Home & Family
on June 2, 2012

Dyspraxia begins in childhood. This brain disorder causes a variety of possible problems throughout life. Some types of dyspraxia are relatively mild, while other cases of dyspraxia can be more severe and complicated to manage. This brief guide will provide the dyspraxia basics.

What is dyspraxia? Dyspraxia is a movement disorder with neurological origins, often diagnosed in childhood. Messages from the brains of people with dyspraxia are immature and not fully developed. The improper or incomplete brain response causes specific learning disabilities. There are several types of dyspraxia:

  • Ideomotor dyspraxia — Trouble making a planned, single step movement
  • Ideational dyspraxia — Difficulty planning a movement or set of movements
  • Oromotor dyspraxia — Inability to coordinate the muscles needed to speak
  • Constructional dyspraxia — Problems judging accurate spatial relationships

With special training and practice with basic tasks, people with dyspraxia can learn to live independently. Dyspraxia is neither a mental disorder nor does it affect intelligence. Dyspraxia occurs more often in males than in females — about 70 percent, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

Warning signs of dyspraxia. There are no specific tests for the disorder. Dyspraxia is diagnosed by a process of elimination. There are warning signs to watch out for at any age. These include:

  • Not crawling or rolling over in infancy
  • Difficulty learning to walk
  • Bumping into things often
  • Not liking to be touched
  • Speech difficulties
  • Poor coordination
  • Lacking in fine motor skills
  • Socially awkward
  • Trouble driving
  • Difficulty with personal grooming
  • Sensitivity to light, taste, smells, touch
  • Trouble controlling pitch, articulation and volume of speech

Treatments for dyspraxia. Dyspraxia is treated not cured. The chronic nature of dyspraxia means that the disorder will need lifelong management. The earlier that dyspraxia is identified, the earlier necessary interventions can be put into place for successful management. Many dyspraxia symptoms occur in normal human development. Only a qualified physician can properly diagnose dyspraxia. Some treatments for dyspraxia are:

  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Language therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Emotional support
  • Practice and exercise

This article was originally published as What is Dyspraxia? on DailyParent.com.