Even the basics of everyday life can be a tremendous struggle for people who have Dyspraxia.
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Often the simplest and most straightforward ideas will make a difference to their quality of life. For example:
- Lay out clothing layer by layer, underwear on top
- Avoid tight neck-holes
- Buy trousers with an elasticated waist – saves fiddling with buttons and zips
- Trousers pleated at the front make identifying ‘the right way round’ easier
- Shirt collars one size larger than fits are easier to fasten
- Baggy t-shirts and shorts are easy and comfy
- Use a flexible straw with a drink to prevent spilling
- Don’t fill cups too full
- Use a damp towel under plates to stop them moving
- Sit down to eat where possible
- Keep to a daily routine
- Post-It® pads stuck at eye level on doors are useful reminders
- Transparent purses and pencil cases let you see the contents easily
- Keep keys and purses on a long chain which clips to clothing
Members of the Dyspraxia Foundation share their tips for minimising the impact of dyspraxia on daily life through local groups and through the Foundation’s newsletter, Midline.
The Foundation also sells books which include handy tips for everyday living.
Dyspraxia: The Hidden Handicap – by Amanda Kirby
Includes chapters on helping children to acquire everyday skills; coping with growing up; and gaining independence as an adult.
Living with Dyspraxia – by Mary Colley and the Dyspraxia Foundation Adult Support Group
Is written for teenagers and adults with dyspraxia. It is full of tried-and-tested practical advice from others with dyspraxia on personal organisation, life at home, college and work. Life Skills includes practical information to help all who have Specific Learning Difficulties.
Surviving in a non-dyspraxia world
The Dyspraxia Foundation has also published a book for people with dyspraxia to survive in the non-dyspraxic world, go to dyspraxia adults surviving in a non-dyspraxic world.
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 per cent 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 coordination 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 your 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 coordination.
- Do any sport/activity that might improve your coordination 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, and 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 learning a new sequence of actions, see that you get clear, precise instructions. Use a video if this helps.
Some great advice from Autotrader about driving an electric vehicle (EV) with a disability.
Useful contact numbers and addresses:
Citizens Advice Bureau
See the 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
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.
Call: Freephone: 0800 88 2200
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)
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.
Call: Freephone: 0800 3285050
Disability Living Foundation
For advice and information on equipment to help you in your everyday life from jar and tin openers to electric toothbrushes. There are branches all over the country.
Call: Helpline: 0870 6039177
4a Church Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff CF14 2DZ
A centre which specialises in dyspraxia (DCD) and assesses and treats adults. visit
Call: 02920 628333
Disability Rights UK
Ground Floor, CAN Mezzanine, 49-51 East Rd, London N1 6AH. They publish information on education and employment for disabled people.
Call: 020 7250 8181
The Disability Law Service
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.
Call: 0207 791 3131