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Dyspraxia

by Justin Crick | Oct 11, 2012

It is estimated that between 5 and 10 percent of the UK's population have some level of dyspraxia; therefore it is quite probable that you will have people with dyspraxia working within your organisation. Many will have developed their own strategies and coping mechanisms and it is likely that you may not be aware of their difficulties.

Dyspraxia can affect any or all areas of development-Symptoms can include a combination of difficulties including problems with co-ordination, spatial awareness, perception, language and short-term memory. These challenges often result in poor balance, poor hand-eye co-ordination and a lack of manual dexterity. Adults with dyspraxia often find routine daily tasks such as personal grooming, driving and household chores challenging. They may find it hard to cope at work and opt out of doing things they find difficult. It is possible to mistake someone with dyspraxia as clumsy, lazy or rude but the reality is that people with dyspraxia are often hardworking, highly motivated, creative thinkers who are extremely good strategic problem solvers.

Employers can help by undertaking awareness training and being aware of the symptoms; setting out structured work routines can also be a great benefit.

Below are a few tips that can be useful for all employees but especially for people with dyspraxia:

  • Make instructions clear, concise and easily accessible.
  • Encourage employees to break down their work into manageable chunks, and provide equipment to help with organisation. Concept mapping programs can be a great organisational and planning tool.
  • Assistive technology, such as word processors with built in grammar and spellcheckers, text to speech and speech recognition can be a great benefit, by increasing independent working and reducing stress.
  • Provide instructions for fax machines, photocopiers, phone systems and keep them in an easily accessible place.
  • Ensure that employees are taking enough rest breaks, and that their computer equipment is set up correctly.
  • Open plan offices may cause distractions; flexible working hours or the provision of earphones/partitions may help reduce stress and interruption to work.

(Source – Dyspraxia foundation)

Specialist dyspraxia and product training is available through the re-adjust initiative; these are just some of the products: