Dyspraxia – What you need to know

Dyspraxia is one of the neurodivergent conditions which generally affects movement and coordination, and remains one of the lesser understood neurodivergent conditions.  It is also commonly referred to as DCD Development Coordination Disorder.

What are the statistics?

Around 10% of the population have dyspraxia, and often individuals will also be diagnosed with additional neurodivergent conditions such as ADHD, Dyslexia, or Autism.

With more focus on the public eye, celebrities share their experience of dyspraxia, helping individuals to feel more able to disclose.

People such as Daniel Radcliffe – Actor, Cara Delevingne – Actress, Singer and Model, David Bailey – Photographer, and the TV program Dr Who featured a character Ryan who struggled to ride his bike, eventually his gran announces to the audience his dyspraxia.

How might you notice the signs of dyspraxia/DCD?

Each person’s experience of dyspraxia/DCD is different and will depend on the tasks they are required to perform, the environmental demands, their own strategies, and the support and understanding of employers and family.

According to the NHS DCD is only diagnosed when an individuals physical co-ordination is significantly more impaired than their mental abilities.

Executive Function

This is often referred to as the Personal Assistant of the brain. It covers those skills such as working memory, organizing, prioritizing and concentration. Many individuals with dyspraxia/DCD have difficulty organising their thoughts, their equipment, and their diaries. This can often create difficulties such as being late or even forgetting appointments/events, losing items, and not remembering names.

Concentration, attention, and memory can present great challenges to adults when learning new tasks and getting tasks completed.


Dyspraxia/DCD is associated more widely with coordinating large and fine motor skills.  A few signs could be

  • General movement can seem awkward and not as flowing as others.  This can often make everyday tasks such as holding a knife and fork or a pen tricky.
  • Increased mental and physical effort is required to carry out tasks others may find easy such as putting on shoes, putting items into a small folder, or drawing straight lines or circles.
  • Poor internal spatial awareness can often have a major impact on individuals who will often bump into things or drop things.
  • Often there is difficulty in learning new and practical tasks such as driving, ice skating, playing hand ball games, or even clapping in time to others.

Speech and language

Some individuals with dyspraxia/DCD can appear to be slower during conversations.  There may be longer pauses before responding to questions or before they comment on something. This can appear to others they do not know the answer, which is clearly untrue.  Dyspraxic thinkers need just a few more seconds to organise their thoughts before responding.  We call it the seven second rule. When asking a question, pause for 7 seconds and await the response.

Verbal dyspraxia can be more severe and often individuals may require speech therapy to assist them.

What strengths are often observed with dyspraxia/DCD?

Individuals with dyspraxia are often clever and creative individuals with a good sense of humor.  They may have a strong sense of empathy for those around them meaning they connect to the great causes, such as the environment, under privileged, and charities around the world.

As with many neurodivergent conditions, those with dyspraxia/DCD are pretty adept in finding new ways to learn, this means they become highly motivated and determined individuals. Their problem solving skills can often outweigh those of their peers if only people give them time to speak.

They will often have great external visual spatial awareness meaning they can see how things fit together or notice things missing or if they are out of place in a scene – making them great as detectives or surgeons.

How do you get a diagnosis?

Diagnosis can be via a GP, Occupational Psychologist, or Occupational Therapist. At Creased Puddle we work with our own Psychologists providing dyspraxia assessments for adults.

Useful links

Developmental co-ordination disorder (dyspraxia) in children – NHS (

About Us – Dyspraxia Foundation

Dyspraxia UK l Specialist occupational therapy