What is dyspraxia?

By Gail Belsky

Expert reviewed by Bob Cunningham, EdM

At a glance

  • Dyspraxia refers to trouble with motor skills, balance, and coordination.

  • The term dyspraxia has been around a long time, but it isn’t an official diagnosis.

  • There are many ways to improve motor skills.

Dyspraxia is a term that refers to lifelong trouble with movement and coordination. It’s not a formal diagnosis. But you may still hear people use this term, especially in the U.K. The formal diagnosis is developmental coordination disorder (DCD).

People with these challenges can struggle with balance, coordination, and motor skills. These include:

  • Fine motor skills (for making small movements like using a pencil)
  • Gross motor skills (for making large movements like kicking a ball)
  • Motor planning (for doing multi-step tasks like tying a shoe)

The difficulties usually don’t exist on their own. People often have other challenges, too, including:

  • Transcription and handwriting difficulties, like dysgraphia
  • Sensory processing issues
  • Mental health issues, like anxiety
  • Slow processing speed
  • Autism

Struggles with motor skills can impact learning, working, and daily living. But people with dyspraxia are just as smart as other people. And there are many ways to help at home, at school, and on the job.

Dive deeper

About the author

About the author

Gail Belsky is executive editor at Understood. She has written and edited for major media outlets, specializing in parenting, health, and career content.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Bob Cunningham, EdM has been part of Understood since its founding. He’s also been the chief administrator for several independent schools and a school leader in general and special education.


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