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Having a formal diagnosis of dyspraxia can help a person access the right support. Assessment and diagnostic processes can vary between regions.

Pre-school children

Dyspraxia is not usually diagnosed in children under 5 years of age. However, children with speech or language difficulties may be identified sooner.

If you have concerns about your pre-school child’s development, talk to your health visitor or GP. You may be referred to a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, or paediatrician. They will do further assessment.

You don’t need a formal diagnosis of dyspraxia to start doing things to help your child. See our practical tips page for ideas about how to help your child’s development and skills.

School-aged children

If you think your school-aged child may have dyspraxia, getting a diagnosis can be helpful. It can provide a better understanding of their needs.

  • Start by recording how your child manages activities. These include getting dressed, using cutlery, writing, and organizing their things. Also, see how they play sports compared to other children their age.
  • Ask your child’s teacher and after-school club leaders if they have noticed the same.
  • Discuss your concerns with your child’s GP. You can also talk to the school nurse or the school's Special Needs Coordinator (SENCo).
  • Your child may be referred to an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, paediatrician, or another health professional for more assessment.
  • A speech and language therapist will assess for verbal or oral dyspraxia.
  • Some schools will refer a child to an educational psychologist. They may also refer them to a specialist teacher.

They will do this for advice on how to support the child's learning and development.

A medical doctor, like a paediatrician, GP, or neurologist, will be involved in diagnosis. This is because dyspraxia often overlaps with other types of neurodivergence. This may include autism, ADHD, and developmental language disorder. Also, dyspraxia features, like poor coordination, are seen in other conditions, for example, cerebral palsy. A diagnostic assessment will ensure that dyspraxia is the right explanation for a child’s difficulties. Then the appropriate support can be identified.

A diagnostic assessment for dyspraxia should include:

  • A review of information from parents, teachers, and the child. It's about how the child manages at home, at school, and during leisure
  • A standardised assessment of movement skills. This is often carried out by an occupational therapist and/or physiotherapist
  • A developmental history provided by parents/carers
  • A medical assessment to rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms

You don’t need a formal diagnosis to start doing things to help your child. The Dyspraxia Foundation website includes many resources. They are to help your child reach their potential in all areas of life. You can also contact our Helpline for further information and support.


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