5 Common Myths About Dyspraxia

By The Understood Team

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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.

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Close up of a young boy looking in the bathroom mirror brushing his teeth
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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.

Young boys helping each climb playground equipment
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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 them seem uncoordinated, immature and socially awkward.

Close up of a boy playing spinning dreidles
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Myth #3: Dyspraxia is the same as dysgraphia.

Fact: Dyspraxia and dysgraphia can cause similar or overlapping struggles with writing. But they’re 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 organizing 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.

Young girl talking to teacher about an assignment
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Myth #4: Kids with dyspraxia tend to have low intelligence.

Fact: There’s no connection between dyspraxia and low IQ. 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, writing and everyday activities like tying shoes. Essentially, kids with dyspraxia can have a hard time getting their bodies to keep up with their brains.

Group of students working on computers at school
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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

Understood Team Graphic

The Understood Team is composed of writers, editors and community moderators, many of whom have children with learning and attention issues.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Sheldon Horowitz

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

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