In this section
Children with dyspraxia have problems with smooth and
coordinated movements. Dyspraxia is often present after a brain
injury. Dyspraxia brought on by a brain injury can improve with
time and therapy.
planning' describes the ability to plan and choose the right
movements in the right order to achieve a skill or
goal. A child or young person may have the understanding of what is
required, and have the ability to do the movements needed, but
is not able to successfully put it together in response to a
command or to conscious intent.
Dyspraxia can affect the oro-motor (mouth) area,
causing difficulties with speech sound production, or it can affect
the whole body. The degree of difficulties can range from mild to severe.
Fortunately, this is a problem that often improves with time,
practice and therapy, unlike the developmental dyspraxias (present
from birth) which are more difficult to treat.
Sometimes a child can perform an action and at other times they can't. This is called a variability of ability. For
example, a child can be seen to do something spontaneously (e.g. scratching an itchy nose). However, they are not able to perform the same
action when asked, even though they may understand the instruction 'touch your nose'. This can be frustrating and hard to understand,
and a child or young person may be wrongly labelled as 'lazy', 'uncooperative', 'not trying' or even 'naughty'. For the child or young person themselves, the difficulties caused by dyspraxia can
be very frustrating and can have a negative effect on their
Once a child re-learns a
task or skill, they are usually able to continue to do this
successfully. However, 'generalisation' (i.e. using the same skill to do a similar but different activity) is difficult for people with
dyspraxia. For example, a child may have re-learnt how to get
dressed with their usual clothing, however, if they are given something different to
wear or if they have to do this task in a different location, they
may encounter difficulties until they re-establish that particular
skill in the new environment.
The child or young person's
therapists, including physiotherapist, speech pathologist or occupational therapist, usually diagnose dyxpraxia, and these are the health professionals who can
give you advice about treatment strategies and how to best assist your
Developed by The Royal Children's
Hospital Paediatric Rehabilitation Service based on information from the Brain
Injury Service at Westmead Children’s Hospital. We acknowledge the input of RCH
consumers and carers.
Reviewed September 2020.
Kids Health Info is supported by
The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To donate, visit www.rchfoundation.org.au.
This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.