Dyspraxia in Adulthood
Developmental dyspraxia is an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement. It is associated with problems of perception, language and thought. The term dyspraxia comes from the word praxis, which means 'doing, acting'. It includes what to do and how to do it.
The condition is thought to affect up to eight percept of the population in varying degrees. Dyspraxia sometimes runs in families. There may be an overlap with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), Dyslexia and Asperger's Syndrome.
People with impaired co-ordination and/or perception often find routine tasks such as driving, household chores, cooking and grooming difficult. They usually have a combination of the problems described below.
Remember there is no cure for dyspraxia but there are many strategies that can help.
- A diagnosis can help you come to terms with your problems, put things into perspective and improve you self-esteem.
- Think positively and keep your sense of humour.
- Many people with dyspraxia are very creative, determined, persistent and intelligent.
- Try assertiveness and self-development classes or join a self-help or support group.
- Break down large tasks into smaller components to make them more manageable.
- Try to carry out some kind of relaxation exercise every day such as yoga or the Alexander Technique.
- Try going to the fitness gym to improve your muscle strength and co-ordination.
- Do any sport/activity that might improve your co-ordination and manual dexterity such as computer games, bowling, swimming, rock climbing, walking and aqua aerobics. Find something that you really enjoy doing.
- Use diaries, calendars, post it notes to plan your day/week/month. Prioritise things you have to do first. Finish one task before you start another. Mind maps and flow charts can also be of use.
- Use any implement in the home to help you carry out your daily tasks such as electric toothbrushes, electric shavers, kettle-tippers, special tin openers and potato peelers, word processors with spell checks and lap-top computers.
- If you are leaning a new sequence of actions, see that you get clear, precise instructions. Use a video if this helps.
Useful contact numbers and addresses:
Citizens Advice Bureau
See telephone directory for your local office. Provides an advocacy service for the disabled and disadvantaged or can put you in touch with your local agency. Your local library can also help.
Benefit Enquiry Line (Freephone: 0800 88 2200)
For further information about benefits, and in particular, Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance which those with moderate or severe dyspraxia may be entitled to.
Disability Services Team
(Formerly PACT - Placement Assessment and Counselling Team) For further details ask at your local Job Centre. They will investigate and note any problems you might have in seeking work or are having in work.
SKILL (National Bureau for Students with Disabilities) (Freephone: 0800 3285050)
3rd Floor, Chapter House, 18-20 Crucifix Lane, London SE1 3JW Advice on all aspects of post-16 education, training and employment for students with disabilities.
Disability Living Foundation (Helpline: 0870 6039177)
For advice and information for equipment to help you in your everyday life from jar and tin openers to electric toothbrushes. There are branches all over the country.
Dyscovery Centre (Tel: 02920 628333)
4a Church Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff CF14 2DZ
A centre which specialises in dyspraxia (DCD) and assesses and treats adults. visit www.dyscovery.co.uk
RADAR (Tel: 0207 250 3222)
250 City Road, London EC1V 8AF
They publish information on education and employment for disabled people.
The Disability Law Service (Tel: 0207 791 3131)
39-45 Cavell Street, London E1 2BP Advices on education, benefits, employment and community care.
Other organisations include Mind and Mencap, which help people with mental and learning problems. See your local directory for their phone number.