Dyspraxia/DCD Adults2024-06-05T19:51:22+00:00



Especially for Americans, it is likely that there are many adults who have never been formally diagnosed but may identify as having Dyspraxia/DCD.

With or without a medical diagnosis, adults with Dyspraxia/DCD will have a history of issues such as those listed for Children and Teens/Young Adults.

Our goal is to provide support and strategies to help cope with daily activities at home, school, work and in pursuing hobbies and enjoying sports or other activities.

“Adults with DCD are at higher risk for social, emotional, academic, psychiatric and professional problems.”

Tal-Saban et al., 2012

Signs & Symptoms

Listed below are the diverse areas that may be impacted by Dyspraxia/DCD as well as what the adult may experience. Remember, all adults with Dyspraxia/DCD will have some difficulties with fine and/or gross motor skills. Other areas of impact may differ depending on the adult.

Movement, Coordination & Motor Planning
Symptoms of Overlapping Conditions
Symptoms Other than Movement
Difficulties Living with Dyspraxia/DCD

Main Symptoms: Movement, Coordination & Motor Planning

Difficulty coordinating large (gross motor) and/or small (fine motor) body movements.

  • Poor balance
  • Low muscle tone
  • Poor posture/slumping in chair
  • Falling out of chair
  • Awkward body movements (walking, running, throwing)
  • Difficulty in work and school activities:
    • Copying information from screen or board
    • Writing with pen/pencil
    • Typing on a keyboard
  • Accident proneness (bumping into people or objects)
  • Difficulty driving a car, may chose not to drive

Activities of daily living:

  • Bathing
  • Getting dressed
  • Doing hair
  • Applying make-up
  • Shaving
  • Climbing or descending stairs

Food preparation:

  • Opening cans
  • Peeling veggies
  • Cutting/slicing foods

Participating in sports:

  • Kicking a ball
  • Catching or throwing a ball
  • Hitting a ball with a racket or a ball
  • May avoid team sports and choose individual activities, such as swimming

Symptoms of Overlapping Conditions

Someone with Dyspraxia/DCD may have another diagnosis at the same time.

Concentrating and staying on task.


  • Leave tasks unfinished
  • Forget or leave belongings behind
  • Have difficulty with time management
    • Miss deadlines
    • Be late for appointments

Producing and using language.


  • Have difficulty pronouncing some sounds or words
  • Experience difficulty transferring thoughts to paper
  • Speak slowly
  • Pause longer than expected when answering a question

Responding to input from the senses.

May experience:

  • Difficulty performing tasks in a noisy or brightly lit home or office
  • Difficulty having a conversation in a loud environment.
  • The need to avoid loud social gatherings

Symptoms Other Than Movement

Someone with Dyspraxia/DCD may have symptoms in addition to movement and coordination.

Perceiving how far objects are from you and from each other.

May experience:

  • Poor sense of direction
  • Poor map reading skills
  • Difficulty judging distances and timing of traffic

Planning, monitoring, and executing tasks.

Often experiences difficulty with:

  • Prioritizing work or responsibilities
  • Seeing a task through to completion
  • Time management skills
  • Planning ahead
  • Managing money
  • Organization – untidy home and/or workplace

Remembering and using information for a short time.

May experience difficulty with:

  • Remembering vital information just spoken
  • Recalling recipes and instructions
  • Thinking of what to say in conversation
  • Misplacing items and finding them
  • Remembering daily tasks:
    • Paying bills
    • Appointments
    • Meetings

Difficulties of Living with Dyspraxia/DCD

The stress of living with Dyspraxia/DCD may lead to emotional or mental health issues.

Managing one’s emotions and/or behavior.

May be:

  • Easily frustrated
  • Impulsive
  • Easily overwhelmed
  • Prone to phobias, obsessive behaviors, compulsions, addictive behaviors

Communicating and interacting with others.


  • Have underdeveloped social skills
  • Avoid public places – restrooms, stores, public transportation
  • Avoid social situations where difficulties might be exposed
  • Experience difficulty with relationships

May be:

  • Awkward in social settings
  • Uncomfortable eating in social situations

Experiencing emotional and psychological well-being.

May experience:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety/social anxiety
  • Obsessive and/or compulsive behavior
  • Low self-esteem
  • Changes in sleep
  • Changes in appetite
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities

Feeling tired or lacking energy.

May experience:

  • Lack of energy
  • Tiring quickly
  • Difficulty making routine decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Need for longer periods of rest and sleep

How is Dyspraxia/DCD Diagnosed?

Adults can seek a formal diagnosis but it is more challenging to get than it is for a child. The primary reason for that is that there is no diagnostic tool for adults over 21 that physicians can use.

The Bruininks Oseretsky Test-2 (BOT-2) traditionally was used to diagnose children but has been expanded to include young adults up to 21 years old. For over 30 years, professionals have used the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency as the go-to instrument for measuring gross and fine motor skills. Examiners with backgrounds in occupational therapy, physical therapy, and developmental adaptive physical education or related fields may administer, score, and interpret the BOT-2.

In the absence of a formal diagnostic tool, some medical professionals might rely on screening tools. The Adult Developmental Coordination Disorders/Dyspraxia Checklist (ADC) is a self-report questionnaire that can be used to identify adults who may have Dyspraxia/DCD. The checklist asks questions about an individual’s history of coordination problems, as well as their current ability to perform everyday tasks. The ADC is a good tool to use as a first step in the diagnostic process. If you score high on the ADC, it is likely that you have Dyspraxia/DCD and should see a healthcare professional for further evaluation. The ADC can also be used to track your progress over time and to monitor the effectiveness of any interventions that you are receiving.

It is important to note that there is no single test that can definitively diagnose Dyspraxia/DCD. A diagnosis is typically made based on the results of a comprehensive assessment that includes a combination of tools and methods.

If a formal diagnosis is made, there are two medical codes that are most commonly used for Dyspraxia/DCD. Medical codes allow healthcare providers to identify, document, diagnose, treat, and track the progress of patients with dyspraxia. They also allow healthcare providers to communicate with each other and to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.

Traditionally, most American physicians would use the DSM code exclusively but over time they are using the ICD as well. In the United States, Dyspraxia/DCD must be diagnosed by a medical doctor (MD).

A diagnosis will include the following:

Who Can Help With Treatment?

There is no cure, however there are therapies and treatments available to help an individual in reaching their goals and full potential.

The best treatments for Dyspraxia/DCD and overlapping conditions, with or without an official diagnosis, are therapies that support the individual’s needs:

Physiatrists are doctors who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation. They can help you develop a treatment plan to improve your coordination and motor skills.
An occupational therapist helps develop skills specific to everyday activities at home, school, and work.
A physical therapist uses exercises, equipment, and hands-on therapy to help develop motor skills.
A vision therapist helps improve visual skills using exercises to strengthen the connection between the eyes and the brain.
Psychological therapy can strengthen mental health by improving resilience in the face of challenges and by addressing issues such as depression and anxiety.
Speech-language pathologists help people with communication disorders. They can help you improve your speech and language skills, which can be helpful if you have difficulty communicating with others due to Dyspraxia/DCD.

Help us illuminate awareness.

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