Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Dyspraxia (DCD) & Adult Diagnosis  (do you think you are dyspraxic..revised) Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2014

Diagnosis of dyspraxia in adults is far harder to detect/diagnose… why?  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 included in sport within school time or with friends, adults can avoid sports if they wish and it goes almost unnoticed, as is so often not the case as a child.
Dyspraxia symptoms have been around for a very long time, however diagnosis is relatively new… in the last 15-20 years.  So many born before this time have not had the benefit of a diagnosis and may have been labelled clumsy.
Having an understanding of why we are different is a great help and a huge weight off our shoulders, as we often blame ourselves.
Around 5-6% of the population have some form of dyspraxia, so we are far from alone.
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 you can takewhich I must add are only a first pointer before seeking a professional diagnosis.  Also, 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; 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. Balance is a major factor and this can cause problems trying to put socks on unless we are seated, Doing up shirt buttons (start from one end, never in the middle), lifting a leg to wash our feet in the  shower. 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 conversations (due to slow processing speed).
Those who have, or think they have, dyspraxia, may also have other conditions.  You may have heard of co-morbidity… this means one thing existing alongside another… such as ASD, speech (verbal dyspraxia - dragging, stuttering or slurring), maths (dyscalculia) dyslexia and dysgraphia, sensory processing disorder, ADD or ADHD.
Having dyspraxia as an adult can cause depression and anxiety as we tend to get frustrated over things you feel should be easily achieved.  There are very good occupational therapists that can help you get around something, including most life skills… Yoga is also great for reducing stress and at the same time improving your balance and co-ordination. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can also be of benefit.
Dyspraxia does not affect intelligence levels and I am afraid to say it never goes away, but we can learn how to cope with it.  If you think you may have dyspraxia or you might be following this up through your family line as it is often present or can run in families, first check with your GP and you can also contact an educational Psychologist or OT 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.
Please note all our articles are for guidance only and we always recommend that you seek professional advice.
This work may contain some of the research of others and our opinions based on personal experience.
Dyslexia Dublin © 2014

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