Supporting individuals and families affected by dyspraxia/DCD


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On the right you will find a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs), we hope you will find them helpful.

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Dyspraxia Foundation FAQs

Dyspraxia/DCD and autism are separate conditions but do share some similar characteristics. People can have both autism and dyspraxia/DCD and it is important that both diagnoses are given where appropriate, to enable a full understanding of a person’s needs.

It is very common for people with dyspraxia/DCD to have symptoms of at least one other disorder. Research suggests that:

  • Around 50% of people with dyspraxia/DCD also have ADHD.
  • Around 10% of people with dyspraxia/DCD show signs of autism while around 80% of children with autism have movement difficulties consistent with a diagnosis of dyspraxia/DCD.
  • Around 50% of children with dyslexia show features of dyspraxia/DCD.
  • Around one-third of children with specific language impairment also have dyspraxia/DCD.

It is important that co-occurring conditions are identified so that a complete picture of a person’s needs can be identified, and appropriate support provided

Many children with learning difficulties are also delayed in their motor development. The question is whether their coordination difficulties are greater than would be expected given their cognitive ability. It is not always possible to carry out a formal movement assessment when a person has difficulty following instructions or sticking with a task. In this case it may not be possible to make a formal diagnosis. However many of the general tips and strategies recommended by the Dyspraxia Foundation will be useful, whether or not a child has a formal diagnosis of dyspraxia/DCD.

Dyspraxia/DCD seems to run in families in some cases, but to date, no specific gene has been identified. It is likely that there are many different causes of dyspraxia/DCD, and genetics may be one.

DCD and GDD are two conditions, listed separately in DSM-5-TR (American Psychiatric Association, 2022). DSM is a medical reference manual describing the diagnostic criteria for a range of mental health and brain-related conditions. It is used by clinicians in the UK and elsewhere. The diagnostic criteria for GDD and DCD (also known as dyspraxia) are summarized below.

Global Developmental Delay is categorized in DSM-5-TR as an intellectual disability under the broader neurodevelopmental disorder heading. It is identified in children under 5 years of age who are delayed in two or more developmental domains - gross or fine motor skills, cognition, speech and language, personal/social and activities of daily living.  Most go on to be identified as having a learning or intellectual disability as children.

Developmental coordination disorder is categorized in DSM-5-TR as a discrete motor disorder under the broader neurodevelopmental disorder heading. It is identified when a) the acquisition and execution of skilled movements is substantially below that expected given the person’s age and opportunities for skill learning b) motor difficulties significantly and persistently interfere with the performance of everyday activities at home/school/work/elsewhere c) difficulties have been present from an early age (birth) d) motor difficulties can’t be explained by another condition such as cerebral palsy, learning disability or visual impairment. DCD isn’t usually diagnosed in children under the age of 5. Some children with a previous diagnosis of GDD may later be diagnosed with another neurodevelopmental disorder as the specific nature of their difficulties becomes clear over time.

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