There is no formal definition of what Dyspraxia is internationally and tends to be used interchangeably with DCD.(developmental co-ordination disorder) .  Occupational Therapists use the same diagnostic criteria from the DSM V.  Dyspraxia is more commonly diagnosed in the senior cycle of junior school as it becomes more noticeable of the difficulty they may be experiencing.

Difficulties will include but not exclusive to all:

Fine Motor:

  • Poor pencil grasp
  • Hand dominance
  • Difficulty with cutting
  • Difficulty opening lunch
  • Poor handwriting development

Gross Motor:

  • Dislike P.E. and yard games
  • Unable to jump with two feet/hop
  • Poor balance – tripping falling
  • Difficulties throwing & catching
  • Poor balance
  • Muscle tone – poor posture, fatigues quicker than others


  • Unable to follow multiple step instructions
  • Difficulty doing a new motor based task for the first time i.e. in P.E.
  • Difficulty following verbal commands
  • Messy & disorganised – losing or forgetting items frequently

Sensory Processing:

  • Poor concentration
  • Over exaggerated emotional or behavioural outbursts
  • “on the go”
  • Lethargic or “day dreamy”

Visual Perception:

  • Difficulty with reading
  • Difficulty copying from the board or worksheets
  • Can’t find items in his bag
  • Difficulty spatially organising their work on a page
  • Working from right to left or in a disorganised pattern

Incidence and Prognosis:


  • 5-6% of school aged children
  • 3:1 boy to girl ratio
  • Usually identifiable at 3-4 years; functionally and academically. Although a diagnosis is more appropriate at the age of 6years+
  • Most commonly seen in early school years


  • Research shows that many children DO NOT grow out of it but they can work on and master individual motor skills
  • Adaptive strategies support academic participation e.g. assistive technology
  • Low confidence and self-esteem issues are very common

Occupational Therapists can provide therapeutic input for Children who have received a diagnosis of Dyspraxia. Intervention can be tailored to individual areas of difficulty at different times in their lives.  Short bursts of therapeutic intervention along with  educating parents, and teachers is the way forward.  At different times in a child’s life they may come across things that they might find difficult such as starting secondary school this can be a period of time that children with Dyspraxia will find difficult due an increase in having to plan their day in a way that was not expected of them in Primary School.

Lots of schools now have a better understanding of Dyspraxia and can also help in the journey through school by giving students

  • Visual and Verbal prompts – This will help them understand better what is expected of them.  (pointing to the door they are required to stand at)
  • Facilitating a clean workspace for them.
  • Checklists for homework and books will help them become more independent organising their own belongsings
  • Buddy Systems are often used in classrooms where a teacher will pair them with another child who can help them complete more complex tasks.

If you would like further info on Therapy or Educational Training  Programmes that Michelle facilitates please contact us on 01 2789516 or email