Dyspraxia (developmental co-ordination disorder) in adultsOverview
Dyspraxia, also known as developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD), is a common disorder that affects your movement and co-ordination.
Dyspraxia does not affect your intelligence, but it may make daily life more difficult for you. It can affect your co-ordination skills – such as tasks requiring balance, playing sports or learning to drive a car – and your fine motor skills, such as writing or using small objects.
This page focuses on dyspraxia in adults. You can also read about childhood dyspraxia.
Symptoms of dyspraxia
Symptoms of dyspraxia can vary between individuals and may change over time. You may find routine tasks difficult, and coping at work may be hard.
If you have dyspraxia you may have problems with:
- co-ordination, balance and movement
- learning new skills, thinking, and remembering information at work and in leisure activities
- daily living skills, such as dressing or preparing meals to time
- writing, typing, drawing and grasping small objects
- social situations
- dealing with your emotions
- time management, planning and personal organisation
When to see a GP
See your GP if you think you may have undiagnosed dyspraxia or problems with your co-ordination. It's a good idea to keep a diary of your symptoms.
If you have dyspraxia, you may also have other conditions, such as:
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- autism spectrum disorder
- difficulty learning or understanding maths (dyscalculia)
- depression or anxiety
Causes of dyspraxia
Dyspraxia is more common in men and often runs in families.
It is not known what causes dyspraxia, but you may be at a higher risk of developing it if you were born prematurely.
Treatment for dyspraxia
Although there is no cure for dyspraxia, there are therapies that can help you cope with your condition and be successful in your studies, work and home life, such as:
- occupational therapy – to help you find practical ways to remain independent and manage everyday tasks such as writing or preparing food
- cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave
It may also help if you:
- keep fit – you may find regular exercise helps with co-ordination, reduces feelings of fatigue and prevents you gaining weight
- learn how to use a computer or laptop if writing by hand is difficult
- use a calendar or diary to improve your organisation – you may be able to synchronise this with your phone and computer
- learn how to talk positively about your challenges and how you have overcome them
- seek out support through programmes such as Access to Work from Jobcentre Plus
Support for people living with dyspraxia
Dyspraxia can have a big effect on your life, but support is available to help you manage your condition and have the best possible quality of living.
It might help to speak to others who have the same condition or to connect with a charity.
You may find the following links useful:
- Dyspraxia Foundation – the foundation has a list of local support groups you can join to share your experiences with others
- Dyspraxic Adults – a forum for adults with dyspraxia
- Movement Matters UK – see its page of useful links
Page last reviewed: 19/09/2017
Next review due: 19/09/2020