‘Dyspraxia (DCD) & Adult Diagnosis’ by Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013
Diagnosis of dyspraxia in adults is far harder to detect/diagnose… why is this? As we go through life, we find ways to compensate in many areas that would highlight balance co-ordination and processing and we can avoid tasks that bring about problems for adults with dyspraxia. Competition is one area, children tend to either get, or want to be, involved in sport during school time or with friends, adults can avoid sports if they wish and it goes almost unnoticed as is so often not the case when young.
We tend to have greater levels of concentration and are more aware when carrying out tasks that require a greater focus, we also develop our short term memory over time and this helps improve our processing speed and reaction time.
It’s also important to understand that dyspraxia has a wide spectrum and affects many in a variety of ways, this can also vary from mild to severe.
There are online tests, which I must add are only a first pointer before seeking a professional diagnosis. You may have had a child, niece or nephew recently diagnosed and noticed similarities with yourself.
There are professionals/psychologists in the UK that can diagnose adults, although I believe this not to be the case in Ireland, as is the same with qualifications. There are many that work in this field, in particular those that are qualified fitness Trainers (gross motor), OT and SPLT and there are many that support academic areas such as dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia. You can contact us for advice and names of professionals who work in these areas as we have contacts across several countries.
Dyspraxia affects basic motor skills - Gross (such as walking or sitting upright) and Fine motor skills which include many things (such as writing or picking up small objects), in children as well as adults. This is something that will last for life and it is recognised by many international organisations, including the WHO.
As an adult, we find that DCD can affect so many things… learning to drive, dancing, playing sport, further education, employment and even relationships.
This can be as a result of being over anxious, frightened of failure and through a general lack of self-belief/confidence and also through poor organisation skills.
It can also bring about language problems and this can be exacerbated through increased anxiety or pressure… we can often throw out random words or indeed full sentences and can also have problems with voice control, including volume, speed and pitch. We also have a tendency to interrupt others and often have to apologise for cutting in on conversation (due to slow processing speed).
Dyspraxia never goes away but we can learn how to cope with it. If you think you may have dyspraxia and want to follow it up, perhaps as a result of a family member being diagnosed and you may recognise similar traits in yourself, given that it is often present or can run in families, first check with your GP. You can also contact an Educational Psychologist or Occupational Therapist that specialises in dyspraxia... in Ireland you can check with the Psychological Society of Ireland. If you are in the United States, we have contacts over there that can provide further details.
Dyspraxia is relatively new when compared to dyslexia, however new research is coming to the fore, which is leading to improved diagnosis and the availability of resources. It’s an area well worth keeping an eye on, so you are up to date with the disorder.
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