28 March 2023

Understanding dyspraxia

​Dyspraxia affects each person in different ways. Students may need support in specific areas or with a range of day-to-day tasks.

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Defining dyspraxia

Developmental dyspraxia, also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), is a neurologically­ based impairment that may affect any or all areas of development – physical, intellectual, emotional, sensory, social, and language.

Video hosted on Youtube

An animation explaining Abi Hocking’s experience of dyspraxia.

Dyspraxia is sometimes called a "hidden disorder". Students with dyspraxia may appear to be no different from their peers until they try to learn new skills or known ones are taken out of their usual context.

Dyspraxia often occurs with, or as part of, other neurological conditions, which can make it difficult to diagnose. It is extremely inconsistent in its presentation and affects children in different ways, at different ages and developmental stages.

Dyspraxia can be acquired through damage to the brain by accident, stroke, or illness. This is called Acquired Dyspraxia.

Source: Dyspraxia Support Group

Indications of dyspraxia

Video hosted on Youtube

Dr. Sheldon Horowitz, of the National Centre for Learning Disabilites, explains dyspraxia.

Although every student with dyspraxia experiences it differently, they often experience challenges in the areas outlined in the table below.

Gross motor skills Fine motor coordination Self-organisation
  • balance and posture
  • coordination of the two sides of the body, which affects activities such as jumping or skipping
  • holding and manipulating small objects
  • handwriting, drawing
  • hand-­eye coordination
  • eye movements–looking to the board and back to exercise book
  • time management
  • thinking and language processing
  • short-­term memory
  • spatial skills
  • misunderstanding body language

Adapted from Lexxic: Dyspraxia

How dyspraxia influences learning

Dyspraxia can have an impact on many aspects of learning and varies from person to person.

Dyspraxia often affects a student’s motor skills, language, social interactions, and their ability to organise themselves. It can also bring a range of strengths.

Video hosted on Youtube

Ellie Madiera describes her experience of living with dyspraxia – the challenges and positive aspects (of this diverse condition).

Useful resources


How dyspraxia can influence learning

A summary of the challenges students with dyspraxia experience at school, with an outline of teaching opportunities to support learning.

Developmental dyspraxia A resource for educators3

Developmental dyspraxia: A resource for educators

This booklet examines how dyspraxia can influence learning and provides strategies teachers can use in the classroom.

Next steps

Return to the guide “Dyspraxia and learning”