Support for Dyspraxia
7 Mar 2023
Sep 8, 2023
Dyspraxia, also referred to as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), is a term used to describe difficulties an individual has with coordination and movement. Around 6% of the population have dyspraxia.
People with dyspraxia sometimes require support to help with any struggles they may face. While some may not need any support at all, others may benefit from changes to their lifestyle and support from those around them.
Support can come in many different forms, depending on the individual's specific needs and circumstances. An individual might choose to first undergo a needs-based assessment to determine what support would be best for them.
A needs-based assessment seeks to identify a person's specific needs and find strategies to make their daily life easier. It considers a person's strengths and difficulties across various areas and recommends strategies to help with this. The assessment is tailored to the individual's needs, so it's useful for the person to go into the assessment with a general idea of the areas of their life they would like to improve.
If you would like a needs-based assessment, you can ask your GP to refer you to an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, or mental health practitioner, depending on what area you need support with. You may also be able to access this assessment through your university, employer, or job centre.
The needs-based assessment is different from the diagnostic assessment and does not require a diagnosis.
The type of support someone seeks depends on the area of life they would like help in. There are lots of options available including:
A dyspraxia coach can help with goal setting, action planning, and building on strengths. They might also help someone implement strategies to overcome any struggles they experience due to dyspraxia.
👉🏽 Occupational therapy
Occupational therapists work with individuals to develop strategies for improving their coordination, balance, and spatial awareness. They may also adapt frequently used items, provide physical aids, or suggest assistive technologies to improve the person's daily functioning.
👉🏽 Physical therapy
Physical therapists can work with individuals to develop customised exercise programs that target their specific needs and goals, working to help improve their strength, endurance and motor skills.
👉🏽 Speech therapy
Speech therapists help individuals develop strategies for communicating effectively with others while improving their language skills, including speech articulation, vocabulary, and grammar.
👉🏽 Workplace or classroom accommodations
Accommodations that are offered by your place of work or study can differ, so it is best to talk to your employer or teachers about how they can best support you. Accommodations can include things like extra time on exams or the use of assistive technology such as voice-to-text software.
If someone is happy to discuss their dyspraxia with their employer, they can ask for a workplace needs assessment and reasonable adjustments. A workplace needs assessment identifies an employee's unique strengths and challenges and recommends accommodations that might help them perform their job to the best of their ability.
People with dyspraxia might also be able to get support from the government's Access to Work programme which funds practical support in the workplace.. People with dyspraxia may also fall under the Equality Act (2010) and so their employer is legally obligated to provide reasonable adjustments and support.
At university, students with dyspraxia are often provided with additional support. This support can differ depending on the university so it is best to discuss with the individual university. They may also be able to access the Disabled Student’s Allowance.
👉🏽 Family and friends
Other helpful strategies
People with dyspraxia may also want to think about changing their environment or putting in place strategies to make their lives easier. This might include:
👉🏽 exercising regularly to help with coordination, posture and fatigue,
👉🏽 using a laptop or computer instead of handwriting,
👉🏽 using a diary for organisation,
👉🏽 identifying strengths to maximise work and enjoyment!
Everyone's experience is personal and different, so it’s best to take the time to work out what support will be most beneficial for them.