Employers' guide to dyspraxia
Dyspraxia is a form of developmental coordination disorder. It is a common condition affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination, in children and adults.
Approximately 7-10 per cent of the general population are affected by dyspraxia.
What is dyspraxia?
A person with dyspraxia may have a lack of manual dexterity, difficulty with typing, handwriting and drawing, difficulty with dressing and grooming activities or poor balance and a clumsy gait.
Impact of dyspraxia
- May have difficulty telling others they have dyspraxia.
- Difficulty remembering appointments or finding their way around unfamiliar buildings or areas.
- May forget to bring or lose things – for example paperwork.
- Difficulty in learning new skills or completing tasks.
- Can experience continued periods of low-level pain in joints.
- Difficulty with dress sense or presenting themselves appropriately.
- Can find it difficult to wake from deep sleeps.
- Dyspraxia links to poor mental health – for example anxiety and depression.
Recruiting people with dyspraxia
- Offer alternative solutions to written application forms.
- Allow additional time for interviews and tests.
- Individuals may have a habit of speaking before they think things through, or being very literal and factual, with little consideration for social etiquette – this is the condition rather than rudeness.
- Individuals can appear as though they are not listening. Speak clearly and check their understanding using open questions.
- Working interviews or work trials prior to a job offer are a good alternative to traditional interview approaches.
Supporting staff who have dyspraxia
- Explore what coping strategies are already used by the employee.
- Job coaching should be considered when an individual starts a new job or experiences a job change.
- Avoid giving complex multiple instructions and check they are understood.
- Regular breaks to allow the concentration of effort to be targeted correctly.
- Consider an Access to Work assessment for advice on appropriate equipment and adjustments.
- A mentor or buddy may be helpful.
Useful information about dyspraxia
You might need to make some adjustments to help your employees. These could include specialist equipment like chairs and IT equipment. Grants are available through Access to Work (external site) to help to cover the cost of items that are identified as necessary to support employees who are disabled or have a health condition.