Dyspraxia Awareness Week 2015 – 10 facts about dyspraxia

It’s dyspraxia awareness this week (11th-17th October)! As those of you who read my blogs will know, raising awareness of dyspraxia isn’t just limited to one week for me – it’s dyspraxia awareness week every week for me! Although I do hope that lots of much needed awareness is raised during this week in particular.

So here’s 10 facts about dyspraxia…

  1. It is thought that 5-10% of the population have dyspraxia.

When I was younger, I thought that dyspraxia was rare as I didn’t know anyone else who had it and no one seemed to have heard of it before. I was very surprised to hear in recent years that 5-10% of the population are thought to have dyspraxia. It is, of course, difficult to say exactly what percentage of the population have dyspraxia. There may be many more people who have dyspraxia who go undiagnosed and it also affects people to varying degrees. Either way, people often find the statistics very surprising as dyspraxia is a lot more common than you might think!

2. Dyspraxia is more common in males than females.

It is thought that males are four times more likely to be affected by dyspraxia than females. However, there might not be as much difference as statistics suggest. The Dyspraxia Foundation’s theme for this week is “Is it a battle of the sexes?” and looks at the fact that females often go through school, university and even the workplace without ever receiving a diagnosis. I consider myself lucky for the fact that I did receive an early diagnosis at the age of 3. I couldn’t imagine going through school not receiving the extra support and not knowing why I did things ‘differently’!

3. Dyspraxia is not the same as dyslexia.

Despite the fact that: they sound the same, they are both classed as specific learning difficulties, and they have overlaps such as difficulties with short term memory and organisation, they are two different things! There’s been so many times where I’ve told someone I have dyspraxia and they’ve thought I meant dyslexia!

4. The signals sent from our brain to our body get muddled.

Most people’s brains will send signals to their body successfully, enabling them to perform tasks that require balance and co-ordination, to speak fluently, to process things at a normal speed. Whereas for those of us with dyspraxia, these signals get muddled – you could even picture them as tangled wires. This can affect us in a variety of ways.

5. Dyspraxia can affect the following areas: physical, speech and language, social, eye movements, sensory, spatial awareness, memory, organisation, concentration, emotion, sense of direction and thought processing.

As you can tell, dyspraxia affects a variety of things. This means that summarising it is not an easy task and I’ve probably missed something off the list! I’ve gone into more detail about how dyspraxia affects me in some of my other blog posts but thought I would try to provide a summary for those of you who know little about dyspraxia:

  • Physical – fine motor skills, gross motor skills, balance and co-ordination.
  • Speech and language – difficulty pronouncing certain words, stuttering, getting words muddled up, difficulty organising the sequence of the sentence, difficulty controlling tone and volume of speech.
  • Social – difficulty with eye contact, literal thinking, difficulty knowing when to interject in a conversation particularly in large groups, may repeat ourselves, background noise makes social situations more difficult.
  • Eye movements – tracking, relocating.
  • Sensory – over/under-sensitive to touch, temperature, noise, smell, taste, pain, light.
  • Spatial awareness – knowing where we are in relation to other objects/people, difficulty judging amount of pressure to apply to things (I wasn’t sure what other category this would fit into!).
  • Memory – difficulty with short-term memory, following a long list of instructions can be difficult.
  • Organisation – made more difficult due to difficulties with memory, organisation doesn’t come naturally to us.
  • Concentration – daydream very easily, difficult to concentrate for long periods of time, concentration can be made even more difficult by background noise.
  • Emotion – tendency to get easily stressed and frustrated, difficulty adapting to changes in routines.
  • Sense of direction – getting lost easily, difficulty telling left and right apart.
  • Thought processing – thought processes can be slower than for others, tend to have lots of thoughts at once – can make getting to sleep difficult as our brain can’t ‘shut down’ easily.

I’ve also created a diagram to try and summarise dyspraxia as best as I can:

Areas dyspraxia affects.001

6. No two people with dyspraxia are the same.

Despite the fact that I’ve just told you a list of things that dyspraxia can affect, this doesn’t mean that everyone with dyspraxia will be affected in the same way! For example, my dyspraxia doesn’t affect me very much sensory-wise, whereas for other dyspraxics they may have a lot of sensory-related issues and experience sensory-overload. On the other hand, my dyspraxia affects me in social situations but some people with dyspraxia don’t have any/not many difficulties in social situations. If you’ve met one person with dyspraxia, don’t assume that every other person you meet with dyspraxia will be exactly the same.

7. You don’t ‘grow out’ of dyspraxia.

Due to little understanding of dyspraxia, people often think that it’s something we’ll ‘grow out of’. Years ago it was known as ‘clumsy child syndrome’, suggesting that it only affects children. This is not the case at all. Yes, for some tasks we may work out our own way of doing things but we certainly don’t ‘grow out of it’. Dyspraxia affects adults too, children with dyspraxia grow up to become adults with dyspraxia.

8. You can’t tell someone has dyspraxia just by looking at them.

Dyspraxia is a hidden condition. If you know enough about dyspraxia you may be able to tell someone has it by the way that they behave/do things over a certain period of time, but if you were to meet someone with dyspraxia for the first time you wouldn’t be able to tell they have it straight away just by looking at them.

9. Our brains have to work 10x harder than everyone else’s.

Our brains have to put so much more effort in to perform everyday tasks compared to other people. This means we can become tired much more easily and quickly than other people. As well as the extra effort that is required anyway, it also can take us much longer to perform these tasks than others – therefore using up even more effort!

10. There are positives to being dyspraxic, such as: being determined, thinking outside the box, and long term memory.

Being dyspraxic is not all bad! It may be more difficult for us to do certain things, but that makes us more determined to get them done! We’re often creative and think of things from a different perspective. Plus, despite short term memory being difficult our long term memory is often really good! I have no idea how or why that is, but I’m not complaining – I like being able to clearly remember stuff from years ago that other people wouldn’t remember! And there’s always plenty of amusing moments, whether that’s managing to squirt ketchup on your jeans instead of the hotdog (yes, I did that a few weeks ago) or finally saying “I get it!” five minutes after a joke has been said because you took it too literally at first.

Thank you so much for reading this! Also, thank you so much to everyone who’s read my other blogs too, I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I started blogging! I really do hope lots of awareness is raised this week!

10 facts about dyspraxia.001

Natalie 🙂

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51 Comments

  1. I think you summed it up perfectly. When I was writing a list similar to this I wasn’t sure where to put the whole too little/too much pressure thing either. I think it’s just one of those sensory things. Does your brain ever get so distracted that it forgets you’re holding something and so you drop it and then think “Oh, was I holding that?” lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw thank you!! 🙂 Yeah it’s a bit of a difficult one to categorise, but yeah that does make sense in terms of it being sensory. Haha yes, that’s happened so many times!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Toren Hynes

      This is definitely necroposting, but….

      I can totally relate to the not knowing how much pressure to apply to things, especially when it comes to tightening bolts or lids on bottles. People always complain they can’t get the caps off the toothpaste tubes, water bottles, etc. because I’ve overtightened them. As for nuts and bolts… unless I focus intensely on the applied pressure, they’ll be stripped. I think it’s because my brain thinks “How tight is this? I don’t know, better give it another quarter turn so that it doesn’t come loose.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • I always assume I’m really weak so literally put my shoulder into it and then can’t get it undone again doh!

        Like

  2. love this! what a great list:) I hope for loads of awareness this week too!:)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. J

    Outcomes appear very similar to impact of MS! Interesting for me as I have friends with dyspraxia and I have MS!

    Like

  4. Sophie McKenzie

    This is so good! Well done! ☺️

    Like

  5. Pauline

    Yep grandson has dyspraxia knew they had trouble with brain signals but you put it so well.

    Like

  6. Reblogged this on In my own little world and commented:
    Excellent piece on dyspraxia. My son has the condition and more people need to be aware of it.

    Like

    • Thank you! Yes, there definitely needs to be more awareness!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ravenwing72 r u on facebook maybe we can become friends n talk about things if needed i to have a son who has Dyspraxia

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am. Where would I find you?

        Like

  7. Geraldine Halama

    My 35 year old dyspraxia, dyslexic son showed me this and we both felt it was brilliant for explaining what we have been living with to others. I then looked at your September posts as I have hemiplegic ataxia but have been able to go to mainstream school, work in an office and bring up two children with the support of my long suffering husband. Again a fantastic insight, and one I have never seen for us “hidden” sufferers. Thank you so much.

    Like

    • No problem, thank you so much for your comment!!

      Like

  8. Reblogged this on Same Difference.

    Like

  9. David

    This is the most extensive definition of dyspraxia I have read. The NHS has a narrow view http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Dyspraxia-in-adults/Pages/Introduction.aspx Even this is more limited. https://www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/about-dyspraxia/ Is it correct to say that the physical symptoms in your first box are the necessary and sufficient ones. Much of the rest sounds like Aspergers and some dyslexia

    Like

    • Thank you so much! Dyspraxia affects each person differently but can and often does have a lot of overlaps with dyslexia and autism/Asperger’s 🙂

      Like

  10. Lynne Wyatt

    I am looking to see if my grandson has this, he is now 22years old

    Like

    • If you have any questions then feel free to ask 🙂

      Like

  11. Zaina

    Thank you so much… My 10 years old son has dyspraxia.
    I don’t know how to make him get over it and improve

    Like

    • No problem, thank you for your comment! I’d say it’s more a case of working out his own way of doing things. For example, I spill my drinks a lot so use straws – even for tea! 🙂 if you have any questions then feel free to ask 🙂

      Like

  12. Caroline

    Thank you for such a great article…..will make sure family & friends read it to help them understand my 9 year old son who has Dyspraxia & ASD…..so often I’m told “but he looks so normal” & people struggle to understand the difficulties he faces, daily!!

    Like

    • No problem, thank you so much for your comment! Yes I can relate a lot to that…what is ‘normal’ anyway? 😉

      Like

  13. sarah

    My daughter is aged 9… She did not walk until she was 2, (so was quite late).. She has always struggled with physical tasks, such as jumping, climbing etc… She is now in year 5 at school, and is doing well, though has lots of comments in her books such as please listen to instructions, and after seeing her teacher last year i was told that she day dreams quite abit.. At home she is quite forgetful also.. I am thinking of taking her to a Dr to see if they can give her any exercises to do, though I am not sure they can?

    Like

    • Has your daughter received a diagnosis of Dyspraxia? I had physiotherapy for a short period of time when I was about 5 or 6. However, it didn’t work out as it was in the morning and I had to go straight to school after and by the time I’d finished the physiotherapy session I was exhausted! So I stopped going. Sorry, I don’t really know much about exercises but I do know that some people with dyspraxia have physiotherapy and occupational therapy

      Like

  14. Jones

    So how do you get a diagnosis? I have been trying for several years now and nobody seems to want to know! So hard to deal with knowing my 7 year old is struggling but not knowing how to help.

    Like

    • I was diagnosed at the age of 3. I was born prematurely so had regular hospital appointments at a young age. It was there that it was pointed out that I wasn’t reaching developmental milestones. At one point they thought I may have had mild epilepsy, at another point they thought I had one leg longer than the other and eventually my diagnosis of dyspraxia was by a paediatrician which I think also involved me seeing a neurologist. Sorry, I don’t know a lot about diagnosis. I’d suggest speaking to the school SENCo and making an appointment with your GP to ask to be referred to a paediatrician. Again, sorry I don’t know a lot about diagnosis and how to go about it – have you tried contacting the Dyspraxia Foundation? They have a helpline. Sounds very frustrating, good luck with it all I hope it doesn’t take too much longer!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Judy Tolhurst

    Fantastic article more people need to be aware of this condition. My son who is now 14 was diagnosed at 4 , it was hi speech therapist that first suggested that this may be the issue, it was recommended that he start occupational therapy and start gymnastics, The gymnastics was cheaper than OT it worked on his co-ordination and balance, it also assisted with him crossing the mid line. Between speech therapy, OT and gymnastics my son improved. He has continued doing gymnastics even now. My son who started school with minimal clear speech and lots of co-ordination issues gave the year 6 farewell speech and plays representative baseball. He has achieved these things through a lot of work a lot of determination and a lot of help from specialist services and teachers that had heard of the condition and worked with all the services he was attending.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! Wow, that’s fantastic to hear about your son’s achievements – a huge well done to him! 🙂

      Like

  16. what is the difference between dyspraxia and Asperger’s? My son has been diagnosed with Asperger’s but everything that you have described here seems to fit him.

    Like

    • I wrote a blog post about the overlap between dyspraxia and autism: https://theblogwithonepost.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/dyspraxia-autism-the-overlap/
      Not sure if that helps answer your question though as the blog looks more at the similarities than the differences! There are so many overlaps between them but to put it simply I would think that the main aspect of dyspraxia is seen as the physical difficulties and the main aspect of autism/Asperger’s is seen as social difficulties (I’m aware that that’s a simplistic view and it’s more complex than that). Dyspraxia wouldn’t be diagnosed if someone didn’t have physical difficulties but had social difficulties whereas autism wouldn’t be diagnosed if someone didn’t have social difficulties but had physical difficulties. I’m really sorry my answer isn’t very straightforward!

      Like

  17. debbie

    Hi thank you for this my son is 12 and was diagnosed with aspergers dyspraxia and childhood autism when he was 8 this really helps me to better understand some of the problems he has to deal with as he struggles to tell me

    Like

    • No problem, thank you for your comment! So glad to hear you found it helpful 🙂

      Like

  18. Clare

    Brilliant, finally some clear definitions and so good to hear from your perspective. My best friend’s 7 year old son has only recently been diagnosed, it was a tough battle to push for his assessment as the school didn’t pick up anything. I will defiantly share with my friend and others. We look forward to reading more of your blogs 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you! So glad you found it helpful 🙂

      Like

  19. mrs w thompson

    my son as this condition we find it very hard to get his work to understand l did not know you existed until a new member of staff join our team and her son is suffering also she as helped me so much please keep up the good work.

    Like

  20. Chris

    Natalie,
    Great blog! My son is 10 and has just had an initial diagnosis of dispraxia + ADD. He also has visual problems due to poor optic nerve development. I understand the social problems! He has always found it difficult in social situations. Invading personal space, inappropriate behavior, difficulty in forming friendships and once formed overdoing it! It is so useful to have your articulate voice telling me how it feels for you. It helps greatly in my understanding. Thank you!

    Like

    • Thank you so much, glad you found it helpful! 🙂

      Like

  21. Marianne McCrory

    Lovely to read I’m planning on printing this out to show my child’s teacher, my 8 year old son was diagnosed with Dyspraxia with ADHD traits a year ago, school say he’s behind and he daydreams alot and doesn’t finish his work in time and they keep him in at playtime to try to keep up ;/ It was parents evening yesterday and she said he just doesn’t try enough 😦 I tried to explain this is part of the Dyspraxia but I don’t think she understood, I’ve been thinking about a special school but he’s in top maths set atm and don’t want to upset his routine as can cause a melt down very quickly. x

    Like

    • Thank you so much! Hope it helps your child’s teacher to understand a bit better 🙂 It can be so frustrating when people don’t understand x

      Like

  22. Fionnuala

    Really clear and easy to understand lots of it sounds like my little girl shes 3 were still waiting on a diagnosis for her but seems like dyspraxia im just starting to read about it

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Glad you found it helpful 🙂

      Like

  23. Toren Hynes

    Do you have any acetone at home? If not, I highly recommend getting some. It’ll remove all kinds of stains from clothing (and other items), ranging from tree sap to permanent marker to road tar — useful if you get clothes stained all the time, and soap and water won’t remove the stain. Be careful — it can dissolve the dyes sometimes. It’s available in hardware stores.
    If you get some on your hand, it won’t kill you, but it will make your hand feel very cold for a short while, followed by a mild burning sensation that passes after about a minute.

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. Dyspraxia Awareness Week – PGCE in Maths
  2. What is Dyspraxia?

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