Dyspraxia in the Workplace
Help and guidance for job seekers and employees
Dyspraxia, or Developmental Co-ordination Disorder, is a recognised medical disorder, which impairs the organisation of movement. It is also associated with problems of language, perception and thought. It affects about 10 per cent of the population - 2 to 4 per cent seriously.
Many adults who have dyspraxia experience few problems in the workplace and have developed their own strategies for working effectively. They are often determined, persistent, hard working and highly motivated. In many ways adults with dyspraxia are similar to those with dyslexia. They are often creative and original thinkers as well as strategic problem solvers. However some people with dyspraxia find it hard to achieve their true potential and may need extra support at work.
People with dyspraxia may have difficulties when looking for work, or at work. These may include:
Choosing what job to do
- Having the confidence and organisation to apply for posts
- Operating computers
- Keyboard skills
- Using office equipment such as photocopiers and staplers
- Organising their workload
- Communication - such as following oral instructions and taking part in discussions
- Handwriting and general writing skills
- Memory and concentration
However, there are steps that both people with dyspraxia and their employers can take - to help them in seeking work or to make their working life better. This leaflet outlines some of those steps.
Job seekers - Planning for the world of work
Choosing a career is a difficult process for everybody. You need to be patient and flexible; and to keep your options open.
You can get extra support from your Special Needs Careers Advisors at your Local Careers Service, or your Disability Service Team at main Job Centres, where there will be a Disability Employment Advisor and sometimes an Employment Service Occupational Psychologist
- Make a list of all available sources of information, such as the Internet, local and national newspapers, Job Centres and job agencies specialising in disabled people (see list at end)
- Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses
- Choose a field and/or type of job that fits with those strengths and weaknesses - and that you would enjoy. Consider your hobbies and the skills you have gained from them as potential leads into jobs
- Be prepared if necessary to take small steps at first towards achieving your goal. You may need to complete a course of study or training first
- Be realistic - if you are too ambitious you may be unsuccessful
- You may get the opportunity to do a job on a voluntary basis first. This can be very helpful
- Think about what adaptations you may need because of your co-ordination problems
- Only apply for posts that you really want. There is no point wasting time and money on applying for a job that is not suited to you
- Jobs that can be suited to those with dyspraxia include caring for the young and elderly, for people with learning difficulties and for animals
- It may be possible to turn hobbies into jobs - for example, photography or writing
Of course, some people who have dyspraxia are very good at the jobs that can cause problems to others with dyspraxia, e.g. working with computers. We are all different!