What is Dyspraxia? 

Dyspraxia, now more commonly known as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. Formally recognised by international organisations including the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

DCD is different from other motor disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke and happens across the range of intellectual abilities. Individuals may vary in how their difficulties present: For example, I am Dyspraxic and I am 31 years old. I can find sequencing movements very challenging, particularly when I am tired and if I do not do the steps in the correct order each time I may forget to do something important such as put my socks on. This is frustrating when working in health care as I cannot tell my left from right quite often and I will ask other carers for support by putting resident’s shoes and socks on the correct feet for instance. 

Michaela, who you will hear from later on in this blog, is also Dyspraxic. She is a little younger than I am and she experiences life differently from me. The difficulties an individual has can change over time depending on environmental demands and life experiences and will persist into adulthood. For example, when I was younger, I had great difficulties catching balls. Now, however, due to lots of practice, I have mastered that skill and can also throw Javelins, which I would not have been able to do at all when I was younger. 

An individual’s coordination difficulties may affect participation and functioning of everyday life skills in education, work and employment. Children may present with difficulties with self-care, writing, typing, and riding a bike and play as well as other educational and recreational activities. I am still trying to learn to ride a bike – it was my challenge to myself over lockdown. 

In adulthood, many of these difficulties will continue, as well as learning new skills at home, in education and work, such as driving a car and DIY. There may be a range of co-occurring difficulties which can also have serious negative impacts on daily life. These include social and emotional difficulties, as well as problems with time management, planning and personal organisation, and these may also affect an adult’s education or employment experiences.

As you can see from the list of difficulties, having Dyspraxia may cause, you will notice that life with Dyspraxia can be quite challenging without multiple diagnoses alongside it. Many people with Dyspraxia can also have Autism or depression due to being aware of their social differences. It is vital we offer people with Dyspraxia a kind, supportive and encouraging environment to try new skills out in, rather than shouting, being verbally abusive or dismissive when they get things wrong. If given the right support, individuals with Dyspraxia can function in society just like anybody else does. 

History of Dyspraxia Awareness Day 

The Dyspraxia Foundation has been running for thirty years now raising awareness and supporting individuals with the condition. The first Dyspraxia Awareness Week was in October 2014. A variety of talks, workshops and activities were held across the country, including working with an artist Damien Robison so that participants could express what Dyspraxia means to them. 

 What Open Theatre are doing to mark the week?

Open Theatre work with a variety of special needs schools, across both Coventry and Birmingham. We aim to support all individuals no matter what conditions or disabilities they may have. We look at what they can do rather than what they can’t do and we include them in all sessions if they want to be included. One of our participants Michaela has written a poem about her Dyspraxia which we proudly included below.:

I trip over.

I have dyspraxia.

I struggle to speak without mumbling.

I have dyspraxia.

I have to hold things to balance. 

I have dyspraxia.

My handwriting is a wobbly mess. 

I have dyspraxia 

My words got stuck in my head but wouldn’t come out of my mouth. 

I have dyspraxia.

That bruise just appeared on my leg. 

I have dyspraxia. 

I have little hazard awareness. 

I have dyspraxia. 

I find bright lights oversensitive. 

I have dyspraxia. 

My name is Michaela.

I have dyspraxia.

But it’s only one part of me.

Do get in touch and let us know what you think. Do you have Dyspraxia? Do you support someone with Dyspraxia? Let us know your hints and tips for self-care and improving your quality of life. We’d love to hear from you. 

From all of us at Open Theatre, stay safe and Happy Dyspraxia Awareness week. 


-Written by Madeleine Levy (poem written by Michaela Mooney)



Dyspraxia Foundation (2021) Dyspraxia at a glance: What is Dyspraxia? [Online] Available from <https://dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/about-dyspraxia/dyspraxia-glance/> [01/09/2021] 

Dyspraxic me (2021) Dyspraxia awareness week [Online] Available from https://dyspraxic.me.uk/?page_id=26 [01/09/2021]