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Dyspraxia ( Developmental Coordination Disorder). Dr. Judy Turner Dr Angela Taylor Chartered Psychologists. Content of Session. What is dyspraxia? Case studies What are the underlying causes of these difficulties? Useful strategies Time for discussion.

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Dyspraxia developmental coordination disorder

Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)

Dr. Judy Turner

Dr Angela Taylor

Chartered Psychologists

Content of session
Content of Session

  • What is dyspraxia?

  • Case studies

  • What are the underlying causes of these difficulties?

  • Useful strategies

  • Time for discussion


Dyspraxia = difficulty with actions

  • Dyspraxia is a motor learning difficulty that can affect planning of movements and co-ordination as a result of brain messages not being accurately transmitted to the body (NHS Direct, 2008).

  • Complex neurological condition

  • Difficulties vary between individuals

Co morbidity

Dyspraxia is often found in students who also have:

  • Dyslexia

  • ADHD

  • Specific Language Disorders – receptive or expressive

  • Aspergers syndrome

Case study joe
Case Study- Joe

  • Joe -22 year old 3rd year student of Politics

  • History of underachievement at school

  • Extra help with handwriting in Junior school

  • 1st time assessment

  • Arrived an hour early so as not to be late

Joe academic difficulties
Joe -Academic difficulties

  • Difficulties with time management

    • All coursework late

  • Spends more time working than friends

  • Difficulties with taking lecture notes

  • Planning essays v. difficult

  • Fails to answer the Q

  • Tutors comment on poor explanations in essays, rambling sentences & lack of clarity of arguments

  • Joe is this dyspraxia
    Joe- is this Dyspraxia?


    Is he just a poor student with ……

    • Inappropriate strategies for his academic work

    • A tendency to procrastinate

    • Studying the wrong subject

    • Not very able

    • etc.

    Joe is it dyspraxia
    Joe-Is it dyspraxia?

    • Rule out neurological conditions that cause the same difficulties e.g. cerebral palsy and minor neurological dysfunction

    • Not just slow or untidy handwriting

    • Need to perform a full Educational Assessment of reading, writing, spelling, general intellectual ability

    • Developmental history – ask a parent (?)

    • Morrisby Manual Dexterity Test (1998) – test of coordination

    • Dyspraxia questionnaire

    Joe results literacy iq
    Joe- Results- literacy & IQ

    • Above average at reading & spelling

    • Slow handwriting for all tasks

    • Superior verbal ability & average to low average performance ability

    Joe fine motor coordination
    Joe- Fine Motor Coordination

    • Difficulties with learning to tie shoelaces & catch and throw

    • Help with handwriting at school

    • School reports – frequent comments on poor presentation of work

    • Very slow at practical work and poor final products

    • The last to get dressed after PE

    • Poor performance on the Morrisby (1%)

    Joe gross motor coordination balance
    Joe- Gross Motor Coordination & Balance

    • Trips over frequently

    • Difficulties with bike riding

    • Could not learn roller skating etc.

    • Drops and breaks things

    • Bumps into things

    Joe multitasking
    Joe- Multitasking

    • Learning to drive really difficult

    • Can only cook one pot at a time

    • Can not write and listen in lectures

    Joe organisation and time management
    Joe- Organisation and Time Management

    • Tidy enough but takes inordinate time and quickly becomes messy

    • Runs out of essential food etc.

    • Misses appointments

    • Loses things

    Joe spatial and temporal difficulties
    Joe- Spatial and temporal difficulties

    • Can not judge how long things will take

    • Difficult to get timing right when driving

    • Gets lost easily and confuses left and right

    • Time flows unevenly

      Speech and Language

    • Word finding difficulties

    Dyspraxia developmental coordination disorder
    Joe: Enough evidence for dyspraxia1) Difficulties with fine and gross motor coordination2) Plus other difficulties

    Case study liz
    Case study- Liz

    • Liz – 31 year old 1st year undergraduate

    • Came for pre-exam support

    • Punctual for appointment

    • History of being best student in class

    • Always failed exams

    • Competent mother of two sons

    • Thinking A to E

    Case study george
    Case Study - George

    • 29 year– doing second first degree

    • First degree Geography -3rd class degree

    • Appalling time management

    • Went into army

    • Learnt coordination

    • Poor writing skills


    NB: Not everyone with dyspraxia has all these difficulties

    • Existing definitions are often too unspecific or too precise

    • We need something that is helpful with a student population.

    • One way to achieve this is to work backwards from the known difficulties

    Difficulties associated with dyspraxia
    Difficulties associated with Dyspraxia

    In addition to fine motor control and gross motor control

    • Automatisation

    • Sequencing movements and information

    • Sense of time

      Additional concomitant difficulties

    • Self confidence and self esteem