Dyspraxia/Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD)/co-ordination challenges
Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD), also known as Dyspraxia in the UK, is a common disorder affecting motor coordination in 5-6% of children.
70% of people continue to experience some level of difficulties in adulthood.
This condition is formally recognised by international organisations including the World Health Organisation.
You are born with the condition but for some it may not have been recognised till later in life as of lack of awareness in childhood.
DCD/Dyspraxia is different from other motor disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke.
Often people with dyspraxia/DCD can learn new skills but it may take more practice to do so.
As coordination is something you need for everyday skills the challenges can impact in a number of areas.
- Sensitive to others
- Hard working
Common challenges described are:
- Slower learning a new skill requiring co-ordination, especially if needing to do more than one thing at a time.
- Individuals may present with difficulties writing at speed and neatly.
- Harder learning to drive a car.
- Difficulties with balance tasks such as riding a bike.
- Slower completing tasks requiring good coordination with hands.
- People often have difficulties with organisation and planning skills.
- Discuss what adjustments the person think that they may need or have helped them before.
- Discuss the need for an Access to Work assessment.
- Discuss the need for alternative means of writing especially if note taking e.g. allowing the use of the computer.
- Use of templates for reports can help reduce the need for extensive writing.
- Show what is expected rather than assume the person knows especially if a new job e.g. examples of reports or work outputs.
- Provide a ‘buddy’ or peer initially to talk through expectations in the job and to discuss the culture of the work setting.
- Demonstrate as well as say how to do a new skill and give time for practice.
- Give additional time to learn a new skill requiring co-ordination.
- Arrange regular short meetings to check on priorities and progress- this reduces anxiety levels for the employee that they can see they are on task and helps to gain confidence.
- Let the person know/discuss if they need to present information in front of others e.g. writing on a white board, so they can prepare or provide handouts rather than show their handwriting to others.
- Encourage the individual to take time to practice their typing skills to increase speed and accuracy.
- Organisation and time management may need some support initially to set up the work setting and to break down tasks into parts and set reminders.
- Consider what adjustments you need so you can discuss this with your employer.
- Discuss the need for alternative means of writing especially if note taking e.g. using the computer.
- Gain IT skills if your handwriting is poor or use speech to text software for recording information on the computer.
- Ask for new tasks to be shown to you- you could record them on your phone to watch them again if this helps you or take a series of photos as a prompt.
- Make sure you have adequate sleep so you can focus on the tasks in hand.
- Think about ways you can improve your organisational skills if this is a problem e.g. using a diary, setting alarms.
- If you are not sure about work priorities, then ask for regular meetings with your line manager.
- Ask others such as line manager for feedback on your work, appearance etc. to make sure you are doing what needs to be done.
- Don’t build up problems and try to support them as you go along.