Challenges and Subjects – this link takes you to challenges and subjects associated with this disability.

Brief description of Dyspraxia

Dyspraxia is a specific learning difficulty that affects the brain’s ability to plan sequences of movement. It is thought to be connected to the way that the brain develops, and can affect the planning of what to do and how to do it. It is often associated with problems of perception, language and thought. The effects that dyspraxia have on a person’s ability to function in a day-to-day environment, as well as in a learning environment can vary, depending on the degree of difficulty.

Detailed description of Dyspraxia

Some people with dyspraxia have tactile defensiveness – they are over-sensitive to touch. Others may have articulatory dyspraxia, which causes difficulties with speaking and pronunciation. People with dyspraxia often have low self-esteem. They may experience depression, have mental health problems and experience emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Characteristics Impacting on Learning and Teaching

Students with dyspraxia can possess the following strengths:
  • Creative and original thinking.
  • Good strategic thinking and problem-solving.
  • Determined and hard-working.
  • Highly motivated.
  • Able to develop their own strategies to overcome difficulties.

Students may experience difficulties in some, or all, of the following areas:

  • Gross motor skills: poor performance in sport, general clumsiness, poor balance, and difficulties in learning skills involving coordination of body parts, e.g. riding a bike or swimming.
  • Manual and practical work: problems using computer keyboards and mice, frequent spills in the laboratory and elsewhere, difficulty measuring accurately, slow, poor or illegible handwriting, messy presentation/work and problems with craft-work, cookery, etc.
  • Personal presentation and spatial skills: untidy and rumpled appearance, clumsy gait, poor posture, frequent bumping into things and tripping over and can be poor at sport, especially team and ball games.
  • Memory and attention span: poor attention span, poor short term memory, easily distracted in class, especially by noise and bright lights, difficulty following class discussions, slow retrieval of information, especially when under stress; may become disorientated e.g. getting lost in buildings and in new environments.
  • Written expression: erratic spelling and punctuation, awkward and confused sentence structure, poor proof-reading, inclusion of irrelevant material in essays and may be slow to complete work.
  • Visual and oral skills: trouble keeping place while reading and writing (tracking problems), poor relocating – cannot easily look from blackboard/overhead to notes, difficulty word finding, and wrong pronunciation of newly-introduced words, speaking indistinctly, loudly, fast or slowly, interrupting inappropriately and difficulty learning foreign languages.
  • Numerical and mathematical skills: tendency to reverse and mistype numbers, signs or decimal points, frequent and apparently careless mistakes, particular difficulty with geometry – both drawing and using equipment such as a compass or protractor and difficulty with spatial awareness e.g. drawing shapes, graphs, tables, etc.
  • Social, communication and emotional difficulties: problems with oral interaction and communication, low self-esteem and lack of confidence, frustration, defensiveness or aggression, over-talkative and excitable behaviour, withdrawn and reserved or may experience anxiety, stress and depression.