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Encyclopedia > Developmental Dyspraxia
Developmental Dyspraxia
Classification & external resources
ICD-10 F82.
ICD-9 315.4
DiseasesDB 31600
MeSH D001072

Developmental Dyspraxia is one or all of a heterogeneous range of psychological development disorders affecting the initiation, organization and performance of action[1]. It entails the partial loss of the ability to coordinate and perform certain purposeful movements and gestures in the absence of motor or sensory impairments. The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (most commonly known by the abbreviation ICD) provides codes to classify diseases and a wide variety of signs, symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances and external causes of injury or disease. ... The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10) is a coding of diseases and signs, symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances and external causes of injury or diseases, as classified by the World Health Organization (WHO). ... // F00-F99 - Mental and behavioural disorders (F00-F09) Organic, including symptomatic, mental disorders (F00) Dementia in Alzheimers disease (F01) Vascular dementia (F011) Multi-infarct dementia (F02) Dementia in other diseases classified elsewhere (F020) Dementia in Picks disease (F021) Dementia in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (F022) Dementia in Huntingtons... The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (most commonly known by the abbreviation ICD) provides codes to classify diseases and a wide variety of signs, symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances and external causes of injury or disease. ... The following is a list of codes for International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. ... The Disease Bold textDatabase is a free website that provides information about the relationships between medical conditions, symptoms, and medications. ... Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) is a huge controlled vocabulary (or metadata system) for the purpose of indexing journal articles and books in the life sciences. ... Look up Heterogeneous in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Developmental dyspraxia (referred to as developmental coordination disorder (DCD) in the US) is a life-long condition that is more common in males than in females, and has been believed to affect 8% to 10% of all children (Dyspraxia Trust, 1991). Ripley, Daines, and Barrett state that 'Developmental dyspraxia is difficulty getting our bodies to do what we want when we want them to do it', and that this difficulty can be considered significant when it interferes with the normal range of activities expected for a child of their age. Madeline Portwood makes the distinction that dyspraxia is not due to a general medical condition, but that it may be due to immature neuron development. The word "dyspraxia" comes from the Greek words "dys" meaning bad and "praxis", meaning action or deed. Drawing by Santiago Ramón y Cajal of neurons in the pigeon cerebellum. ...

Dyspraxia is described as having two main elements:

Ideational dyspraxia 
Difficulty with planning a sequence of coordinated movements.
Ideo-Motor dyspraxia 
Difficulty with executing a plan, even though it is known.


Assessment and diagnosis

Assessments for dyspraxia typically require a developmental history, detailing ages at which significant developmental milestones, such as crawling and walking, occurred. Motor skills screening includes activities designed to indicate dyspraxia, including balancing, physical sequencing, touch sensitivity, and variations on walking activities. A baseline motor assessment establishes the starting point for developmental intervention programs. Comparing children to normal rates of development may help to establish areas of significant difficulty. Developmental milestones are tasks most children can perform at certain ages. ... Crawling is a form of moving around by some animals, and, in some cases humans, generally involving slow movement on all limbs. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

However, research in the BJSE has shown that knowledge is severely limited in many who should be trained to recognise and respond to various difficulties, including Developmental Coordination Disorder, Dyslexia and DAMP. The earlier that difficulties are noted and timely assessments occur, the quicker intervention can begin. A teacher or GP could miss a diagnosis if they are only applying a cursory knowledge.

"Teachers will not be able to recognise or accommodate the child with learning difficulties in class if their knowledge is limited. Similarly GPs will find it difficult to detect and appropriately refer children with learning difficulties."[1]

Developmental profiles

Various areas of development can be affected by developmental dyspraxia and many or all can persist into adulthood. Often various coping strategies are developed, and these can be enhanced through physiotherapy.

Speech and language

Developmental verbal dyspraxia is a type of ideational dyspraxia, causing linguistic or phonological impairment. This is the favoured term in the UK; however it is also sometimes referred to as articulatory dyspraxia and in the USA the usual term is apraxia of speech [2]. Key problems include:

  • Difficulties controlling the speech organs.
  • Difficulties making speech sounds
  • Difficulty sequencing sounds
    • Within a word
    • Forming words into sentences
  • Difficulty controlling breathing and phonation.
  • Slow language development.
  • Difficulty with feeding.

Speech organs produce the many sounds needed for language. ... In phonetics, phonation is the use of the laryngeal system to generate an audible source of acoustic energy, i. ...

Fine motor control

Difficulties with fine motor co-ordination lead to problems with handwriting, which may be due to either ideational or ideo-motor difficulties. Problems associated with this area may include:

  • Learning basic movement patterns.
  • Developing a desired writing speed.
  • The acquisition of graphemes – e.g. the letters of the Latin alphabet, as well as numbers.
  • Establishing the correct pencil grip
  • Hand aching while writing

In typography, a grapheme is the atomic unit in written language. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. ...

Whole body movement, coordination, and body image

Issues with gross motor coordination mean that major developmental targets including walking, running, climbing and jumping are affected. One area of difficulty involves associative movement, where a passive part of the body moves or twitches in response to a movement in an active part. For example, the support arm and hand twitching as the dominant arm and hand move, or hands turning inwards or outwards to correspond with movements of the feet. Problems associated with this area may include:

 * Poor timing * Poor balance (sometimes even falling over in mid-step) Tripping over one's own feet is also not uncommon. [2] * Difficulty combining movements into a controlled sequence. * Difficulty remembering the next movement in a sequence. * Problems with spatial awareness, or proprioception * Some people with dyspraxia have trouble picking up and holding onto simple objects [3] due to poor muscle tone. * This disorder can cause an individual to be clumsy to the point of knocking things over and bumping into people accidentally. * Some Dyspraxics have difficulty in determining left from right [citation needed]. * Cross-laterality, ambidexterity, and a shift in the preferred hand are also common in people with dyspraxia[citation needed]. * Dyspraxics may also have trouble determining the distance between them and other objects. 

General difficulties

Dyspraxic people may have Sensory Integration Dysfunction, a condition that creates abnormal oversensitivity or undersensitivity to physical stimuli, such as touch, light, and sound [citation needed]. This may manifest itself as an inability to tolerate certain textures such as sandpaper or certain fabrics, or even being touched by another individual (in the case of touch oversensitivity) or may require the consistent use of sunglasses outdoors since sunlight may be intense enough to cause discomfort to a dyspraxic (in the case of light oversensitivity). An aversion to loud music and naturally loud environments (such as clubs and bars) is typical behavior of a dyspraxic individual who suffers from auditory oversensitivity, while only being comfortable in unusually warm or cold environments is typical of a dyspraxic with temperature oversensitivity. This typically occurs if the dyspraxia is comorbid to an autistic spectrum disorder (PDD) such as autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome [citation needed]. It has been suggested that Sensory processing disorder be merged into this article or section. ... The diagnostic category pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), as opposed to specific developmental disorders (SDD), refers to a group of disorders characterized by delays in the development of multiple basic functions including socialization and communication. ... Autism is considered a neurodevelopmental disorder that manifests itself in marked problems with social relatedness, communication, interest, and behavior. ... Asperger syndrome (also referred to as Aspergers syndrome, Aspergers disorder, Aspergers, or AS) is one of five neurobiological pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), and is characterized by deficiencies in social and communication skills, normal to above normal intelligence,[1] and standard language development. ...

Dyspraxic people sometimes have difficulty moderating the amount of sensory information that their body is constantly sending them, so as a result these people are prone to panic attacks[citation needed]. Having other autistic traits (which is common with dyspraxia and related conditions[citation needed]) may also contribute to sensory-induced panic attacks.

Dyspraxics (along with people who have similar conditions) may have difficulty sleeping since there is an inability to force the brain to stop thinking and "shut down"[citation needed]. A dyspraxic is nearly always thinking about several unrelated things at once, (the inverse is also possible, with only one dominant thought occupying the dyspraxic's entire attention span at any given time) so this may cause easy distractibility and daydreaming[citation needed]. It is quite easy for someone with dyspraxia to concentrate entirely on a particular thought instead of on the situation at hand. For this reason, dyspraxia may be misdiagnosed as ADHD since on the surface both conditions have similar symptoms in some areas[citation needed]. Many people with dyspraxia have short-term memory issues and may forget instructions they received only seconds before, tend to forget important deadlines, and are constantly misplacing items[citation needed]. DISCLAIMER Please remember that Wikipedia is offered for informational use only. ...

Moderate to extreme difficulty doing physical tasks is experienced by dyspraxics, and fatigue is common because so much extra energy is expended while trying to execute physical movements correctly [2]. Some (but not all) dyspraxics suffer from hypotonia, which in this case is chronically low muscle tone caused by dyspraxia[citation needed]. People with this condition have very low muscle strength and endurance (even in comparison with other dyspraxics) and even the simplest physical activities may quickly cause soreness and fatigue, depending on the severity of the hypotonia. Hypotonia may worsen a dyspraxic's already poor balance to the point where it is necessary to constantly lean on sturdy objects for support[citation needed]. Hypotonia is a condition of abnormally low muscle tone (the amount of tension or resistance to movement in a muscle), often involving reduced muscle strength. ...

Dyspraxics may wish to live alongside others, although they often find it difficult. They can be messy and cluttered with a tendency to outburst including aggression, 'good and bad days' (mood swings) and difficulty in understanding the meaning of everyday interactions within a household [3] Because of this, they sometimes end up arguing with people they care deeply about and regreting it when the mood swing is over.

Overlap with other conditions

Dyspraxics may have other difficulties that are not due to dyspraxia itself but often co-exist with it. They may have characteristics of dyslexia (difficulty with reading and spelling), dyscalculia (difficulty with mathematics), expressive language disorder (difficulty with verbal expression), ADHD (poor attention span) or Aspergers Syndrome (poor social cognition, and a literal understanding of language, making it hard to understand idioms or sarcasm). However, they are unlikely to have problems in all of these areas. The pattern of difficulty varies widely from person to person, and it is important to understand that a major weakness for one dyspraxic can be a strength or gift for another. For example, while some dyspraxics have difficulty with reading and spelling due to an overlap with dyslexia, or numeracy due to an overlap with dyscalculia, others may have brilliant reading and spelling or mathematical abilities. Similarly, some have autistic traits such as lacking an appreciation of irony or social cues, while others thrive on an ironic sense of humour as a bonding tool and a means of coping. [4] This article is about developmental dyslexia. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Expressive language disorder (DSM 315. ... DISCLAIMER Please remember that Wikipedia is offered for informational use only. ... Asperger described his patients as little professors. Aspergers syndrome (AS), is a pervasive developmental disorder commonly referred to as a form of high-functioning autism. ...

Frustration and low self-esteem are common to many dyspraxics, whatever their profile of difficulties. [5]

Other names

Collier first described developmental dyspraxia as 'congenital maladroitness'. A. Jean Ayers referred to it as a disorder of sensory integration in 1972 while in 1975 Dr Sasson Gubbay called it the 'clumsy child syndrome' [6]. It has also been called minimal brain dysfunction although the two latter names are no longer in use. Other names include:

  • Dyspraxia - This is the term primar
  • Developmental Co-ordination Disorder - a subtly different condition by definition, in practice, very similar.
  • Sensorimotor dysfunction
  • Perceptuo-motor dysfunction
  • Motor Learning Difficulties

The World Health Organisation currently lists Developmental Dyspraxia as Specific Developmental Disorder of Motor Function [7].

See also

It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Apraxia. ...


  1. ^ Kirby, Davies & Bryant, http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/bpl/bjsp/2005/00000032/00000003/art00003
  2. ^ Pam Williams, Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia, Nuffield Hearing & Speech Centre


 *1 http://www.danda.org.uk/faq.htm#whatisdyspraxia 
 *2 http://www.ddat.co.uk/dyspraxia_def.aspx 
 *3 http://home.iprimus.com.au/rboon/Dyspraxia.htm 
 *4 http://www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/services/gu_symptoms.php 
 *5 http://www.childlearningdifficulties.com/Dysprraxiaind.htm 
 *6 http://www.dyspraxia.org.nz/what_is.htm 
 *7 http://edtech.tennessee.edu/~set41/content/about_ld/04dyspraxia.htm#dyspraxia 

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