Dyspraxia (adults)

Dyspraxia, also known as developmental co-ordination disorder (DSD), is a common disorder that affects movement and co-ordination.

Dyspraxia, also known as developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD), is a common disorder that affects your movement and co-ordination.

Dyspraxia does not affect your intelligence, but it may make daily life more difficult for you. It can affect your co-ordination skills – such as tasks requiring balance, playing sports or learning to drive a car – and your fine motor skills, such as writing or using small objects.

This page focuses on dyspraxia in adults. You can also read about childhood dyspraxia.

This page covers:

Symptoms

When to see a GP

Causes

Treatment

Support

Symptoms of dyspraxia

Symptoms of dyspraxia can vary between individuals and may change over time. You may find routine tasks difficult, and coping at work may be hard.

If you have dyspraxia you may have problems with:

  • co-ordination, balance and movement
  • learning new skills, thinking, and remembering information at work and in leisure activities
  • daily living skills, such as dressing or preparing meals to time
  • writing, typing, drawing and grasping small objects
  • social situations
  • dealing with your emotions
  • time management, planning and personal organisation

Dyspraxia should not be confused with other disorders affecting movement, such as cerebral palsy and stroke. It can affect people of all intellectual abilities.

When to see a GP

See your GP if you think you may have undiagnosed dyspraxia or problems with your co-ordination. It's a good idea to keep a diary of your symptoms. 

You GP may refer you to a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist for tests. They will assess your movements and how your symptoms are affecting you before making a diagnosis. 

If you have dyspraxia, you may also have other conditions, such as:

Causes of dyspraxia

Dyspraxia is more common in men and often runs in families.

It is not known what causes dyspraxia, but you may be at a higher risk of developing it if you were born prematurely.

Treatment for dyspraxia

Although there is no cure for dyspraxia, there are therapies that can help you cope with your condition and be successful in your studies, work and home life, such as:

  • occupational therapy – to help you find practical ways to remain independent and manage everyday tasks such as writing or preparing food 
  • cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave 

It may also help if you:

  • keep fit – you may find regular exercise helps with co-ordination, reduces feelings of fatigue and prevents you gaining weight
  • learn how to use a computer or laptop if writing by hand is difficult
  • use a calendar or diary to improve your organisation – you may be able to synchronise this with your phone and computer
  • learn how to talk positively about your challenges and how you have overcome them
  • seek out support through programmes such as Access to Work from Jobcentre Plus

Support for people living with dyspraxia

Dyspraxia can have a big effect on your life, but support is available to help you manage your condition and have the best possible quality of living.

It might help to speak to others who have the same condition or to connect with a charity.

You may find the following links useful:


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