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 people 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 and speech and language therapists.

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 SLD, download our Information Pack below. 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 them to you.

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