Although it is not a specific learning disability, dyspraxia and SLD often occur together. Dyspraxia primarily affects motor function, particularly the gaining of new skills and carrying out of those already learned.

It affects children in different ways at different stages of development, and is inconsistent – as if sometimes information is `put away’ in the wrong drawer.

Dyspraxia is not a behaviour problem, not an overt physical disability, and may not even be visible – until the child tries to learn a new skill, or to repeat a learned one out of context.

The child with dyspraxia may be:

  • The clumsy child
  • Very distractible, the one who can’t recall today what he/she knew yesterday
  • Having difficulty following a set of instruction
  • Continually trailing behind the others, losing books and is totally disorganised
  • Failing exams and tests even though the teacher is convinced he/she knows the work
  • Continually losing things
  • Unable to organise ideas for essays
  • Processing information slowly
  • Stumbling when reading aloud
  • Struggling with illegible handwriting
  • Struggling with drawing
  • A social disaster
  • Bright and intelligent but failing educationally
  • The child who would, if he/she could, but sometimes can’t.

Dyspraxia requires a diagnosis by a medical practitioner or an occupational therapist.  There are often overlaps with other disabilities such as dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities.

SPELD NZ Teachers are trained to work with children and adults with dyspraxia. However, because of the nature of dyspraxia, therapy may be required by other specialists such as occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, educational psychologists, behavioural optometrists and social workers.

The main aim of intervention is to help the person circumnavigate their difficulties, to learn and to achieve their potential. As everyone is different, the type of intervention varies greatly. A person diagnosed with dyspraxia can lead a happy and productive life. People with dyspraxia may just take a slightly different route to success. Anything is possible with the right attitude and support.

Adapted from the Dyspraxia Support Group of New Zealand
Find out more

Read Bayley Garnham’s story on how family support helped him overcome the challenges of dyspraxia and dysgraphia.

To find out how SPELD NZ can help someone with dyspraxia and other SLD, download our Information Pack below. This information can also be emailed or posted to you. Please feel to call us if you find reading difficult and we can talk you through everything – 0800 773 536.

Membership forms can be downloaded below or we can email or post them to you.

Personal Stories

Find out how SPELD NZ has helped both children and adults overcome their struggles with dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities.

What Dyslexia Taught Me

Christchurch IT product innovator Christian Sax describes his lifelong struggles with dyslexia and what he’s learned along the way.

You Rescued Me

Dyslexic Professor Emeritus David Mellor looks back on the “phenomenal impact” of his tutor 70 years ago.

Family the Key to Success

Bayley Garnham’s struggles all made sense when he was diagnosed with dyspraxia and dysgraphia at the age of 12. Family support played a crucial role in his success.

Giving Back

Former SPELD NZ student Tadhg Norgrove is poised to become a clinical psychologist and help others who struggle with life.