Getting a diagnosis of dyspraxia

‘Getting a diagnosis of dyspraxia’ for under 18s

Dyspraxia/Developmental Coordination Disorder (D.C.D). can be identified by parents, teachers, friends or even the child/teenager. In the first instance you will need to visit the G.P. who will then be able to refer your child to the relevant professionals. Each professional cannot confirm the diagnosis by themselves but will be able to contribute to the diagnosis process.

For a diagnosis there are two specific areas from the DSM-5 definition of D.C.D. that must be considered.

  1. The acquisition and execution of coordinated motor skills is substantially below that expected given to the individual’s chronological age and opportunity for skill learning and use and that this significantly and persistently interferes with activities of daily living. This part of the diagnosis is carried out by either an occupational therapist or physiotherapist. Where there are speech and language difficulties, your child will be referred to a speech and language therapist (SALT).
  2. The motor skill difficulties are not better explained by visual impairment, neurological disorder or another medical condition. This part of the diagnosis is carried out by a paediatrician or paediatric neurologist

Your child may be referred to the child development team where there is a multidisciplinary team of professionals (such as a paediatrician, physiotherapist, occupational therapist and speech and language therapist) who will assess your child.

The occupational therapist or physiotherapist will be able to assess your child’s movement, motor skills and coordination skills. A speech and language therapist will assess your child’s speech and language development. A paediatrican or paediatric neurologist will ensure that the difficulties your child is experiencing is not due to another medical condition as there are other conditions that can cause symptoms similar to dyspraxia/DCD but which need to be treated differently.

In addition, your child may be referred to see an educational psychologist to help your child with their school work.

Reference:

  • DIAGNOSTIC AND STATISTICAL MANUAL OF MENTAL DISORDERS, Fifth Edition, (DSM –5) published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA)