Dyspraxia does not affect your intelligence. However, it will affect your coordination skills–such as tasks requiring balance, playing sports, or learning to drive a car. Dyspraxia can also affect your fine motor skills, such as writing or using small objects.
It’s estimated that one in ten adults has dyspraxia. Some estimates suggest up to 10% of the population has dyspraxia. It is more commonly found in men than in women, and researchers suspect there is a genetic component, but no dyspraxia gene has yet been isolated. Despite its prevalence, dyspraxia is not well understood by the public and is less commonly diagnosed than specific learning disabilities like dyslexia and ADHD. This means working adults may be less willing to disclose their disability to employers and can have a harder time gaining access to the help and support they need.
Dyspraxia has nothing to do with intelligence and is classed as a motor learning disability, not a specific learning difficulty, but it can affect the way an individual learns. That’s because coordination difficulties make it harder to write by hand, which may compromise note-taking ability, essay writing, and performance on tests. Dyspraxia can also make it harder for people to stay organized and follow instructions. When short-term memory and slow processing are an issue, an adult may need more time to learn something than his or her peers and can struggle to stay on top of assignment deadlines and requests or demands from supervisors.
Symptoms of dyspraxia
Symptoms of dyspraxia can vary between individuals and may change over time. You may find routine tasks difficult.
If you have dyspraxia, it may affect:
- your co-ordination, balance, and movement
- how you learn new skills, think, and remember the information at work and home
- your daily living skills, such as dressing or preparing meals
- your ability to write, type, draw and grasp small objects
- how you function in social situations
- how you deal with your emotions
- time management, planning, and personal organization skills
When to see a GP
See a GP if you think you may have undiagnosed dyspraxia or problems with your coordination. It’s a good idea to keep a diary of your symptoms.
The GP may refer you to a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist for tests. They’ll assess your movements and how your symptoms are affecting you before making a diagnosis.