Dyspraxia is included in the range of neurodiversity. It is a lifelong condition affecting around 10% of the population and is also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder. It is a condition that affects movement, coordination and spatial awareness.
|Long-term memory||Short-term memory|
|Effort and tenacity||Time management|
|Artistic and expressive||Coordination|
|Working in isolation||Working in busy environments|
Many adults who have dyspraxia experience few problems in the workplace and have developed their own strategies for working effectively. They are often determined, persistent, hardworking and highly motivated. Also they are often creative and original thinkers as well as strategic problem-solvers. However, some people with dyspraxia find it hard to achieve their true potential and may need extra support at work.
In the workplace
As with dyslexic employees, people with dyspraxia are likely to have developed their own strategies for working effectively, and they are often creative, original thinkers and good at solving problems. They also tend to be determined, hard-working and highly motivated. However they may have difficulties with time management, planning and organisation – so, for example, their workspace may appear cluttered or alternatively unusually tidy, where they have put in place a compensating strategy. They are also likely to benefit from additional support during periods of organisational change.
Dyspraxia impairs the individual’s organisation of movement and is also associated with difficulties of language, perception and thought.
People with dyspraxia and dyslexia, and also those with ADHD, will often face many similar difficulties, and the conditions may coexist within the same person. The characteristics and behaviours described below may not be evident in all people with dyspraxia but they will be likely to have more difficulties with coordination and perception than most people.
Characteristics: people with dyspraxia may experience difficulties with memory, perception and processing. Difficulties with coordination may affect an individual’s participation and functioning in everyday activities – such as driving, household chores and so on – which may also lead to social and emotional difficulties.
Cognitive functioning: people with dyspraxia are likely to have an inefficient short-term working memory and they may find it hard to focus on more than one task at a time. A lack of concentration may lead to difficulties in the workplace; for example, in relation to proof reading or writing reports.
Motor function: as well as difficulties with coordination, someone with dyspraxia may appear to be clumsy and perhaps have trouble with their balance. They may have difficulties changing direction, and have a tendency to fall, trip and bump into things and people.
Often there are also difficulties with fine motor coordination skills, which can lead to a lack of manual dexterity and problems with typing, handwriting and drawing. People with dyspraxia may find it difficult to grasp objects, such as tools and domestic implements, keys etc.
Social communication and interaction: people with dyspraxia may experience difficulties with the organisation of their language and perhaps mispronounce some words or repeat themselves. Some may appear impulsive or erratic. They tend to take things literally and therefore may not pick up nuances in conversations or body language.
People with dyspraxia may be prone to anxiety and stress. Unfortunately, many may have been subjected to harassment and bullying at some time in their lives. Some may have phobias or be prone to obsessions, compulsions or addictive behaviour.
Sensory difficulties: people with dyspraxia may have a heightened sensitivity to sound, light, temperature and other stimuli which may lead to a sense of distraction. They may also have a poor sense of direction.
Further information and support, including guidance for both employees and employers: the Dyspraxia Foundation