5 common myths about dyspraxia

By The Understood Team

Dyspraxia isn’t a very well-known condition. Even some teachers and professionals are confused about the causes, symptoms, and prevalence. Here are five common myths — along with the facts.

Myth #1: Dyspraxia is extremely rare.

Fact: Dyspraxia often goes undiagnosed and unrecognized, but it’s believed to be relatively common. An estimated six to 10 percent of children have some features of dyspraxia. It can go by many names, including developmental coordination disorder and motor learning difficulty.

Myth #2: Kids with dyspraxia are just being clumsy.

Fact: Kids with dyspraxia typically have trouble with motor skills. This might make them appear to just be clumsy or “out of sync” with their environment — but there’s more to it than that. Because of their dyspraxia, kids can have trouble controlling muscles. This includes small muscles, like the ones in their hands. This can make everyday tasks like writing and brushing their teeth a struggle. It can also make kids seem uncoordinated, immature, and socially awkward.

Myth #3: Dyspraxia is the same as dysgraphia.

Fact: Dyspraxia and dysgraphia can cause similar or overlapping struggles with writing. But dyspraxia and dysgraphia are different conditions. Dyspraxia causes problems with fine motor skills, including the physical task of printing and writing.

Most kids with dysgraphia struggle with printing and handwriting, too. But children with dysgraphia can also experience difficulties with spelling and with organizing their thoughts when writing or typing. For example, kids with dysgraphia might struggle to share their thoughts in writing, even when they know what they want to say. The end result could be full of errors and barely legible.

Myth #4: Kids with dyspraxia tend to have low intelligence.

Fact: There’s no connection between dyspraxia and . Having dyspraxia doesn’t mean a child isn’t intelligent. However, the way kids with dyspraxia behave might make them appear less capable than they are. For example, they may not do well with fine motor tasks like drawing and writing, or with everyday activities like tying shoes. Essentially, kids with dyspraxia can have a hard time getting their bodies to keep up with their brains.

Myth #5: There aren’t any treatments for dyspraxia.

Fact: There’s no cure for dyspraxia, and kids don’t outgrow it. However, kids do get better at doing certain tasks over time with lots of practice and feedback. Occupational therapy and speech therapy, along with other tools and strategies, may help improve symptoms. For older children, learning to use a keyboard may help with writing. Technology tools like dictation software can also be a great help.

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    About the author

    About the author

    The Understood Team is made up of passionate writers and editors. Many of them have kids who learn and think differently.

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Sheldon H. Horowitz, EdD is senior director of learning resources and research at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.