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Dyspraxia - is it a battle of the sexes?

Awareness week from the Dyspraxia Foundation sheds light on difference in diagnosis rates

Posted by Stephanie Broad | September 03, 2015 | Health & wellbeing

Frequently falling over, difficulty walking up and down stairs, poor hand-eye co-ordination, short-term memory, lack of spatial awareness, difficulty getting dressed or applying make-up and illegible handwriting – these are just some of the familiar, physical symptoms for people affected by dyspraxia, whatever your age.
But, according to a leading national charity, there is a growing issue of girls, teenagers and young women ‘slipping through the net’, in terms of early diagnosis. Such a delay (although, many struggle through school, university and even in the workplace, without ever receiving a diagnosis) can have a huge impact on the lives of these women and their families.
It is believed there are many reasons behind a perceived low level of dyspraxia diagnosis in females – which is why the Dyspraxia Foundation will be dedicating its 2015 Awareness Week to unpicking the factors that stop so many young girls from seeking help or that simply encourage them to conceal their symptoms. 

The Dyspraxia Awareness Week aims to tackle the ‘diagnosis divide’ between girls and boys, taking place from 11-17 October 2015.
The results of a new national survey will also shed light on why so many girls ‘get by’ without an official diagnosis and why they fall below the ‘professional radar’, as well as highlighting the huge benefits to young women with dyspraxia if introduced to special coping mechanisms from an early an age.
Once incorrectly referred to as ‘clumsy child’ syndrome, dyspraxia, (otherwise known as Developmental Coordination Disorder - DCD) is a common condition affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination, in both children and adults. Although the exact causes of dyspraxia are unknown, it is thought to be caused by a disruption in the way messages from the brain are transmitted to the body. This affects a person’s ability to perform movements in a smooth, coordinated way. 
Dyspraxia/DCD affects around five percent of the population (two percent, severely) and there are believed to be two children affected in every class of 30 children.
Thanks to a substantial grant from the Big Lottery Fund, over the past three years the Dyspraxia Foundation has been able to re-invigorate its key support services and awareness packages and resources for people living with dyspraxia as well as their families and the professionals involved with their wellbeing.
Overall, the 2015 campaign and awareness week will provide a strong media package to help educate the public, potential employers, health and education professionals about the signs and symptoms of dyspraxia and the support available to those affected by the condition.

  • Results of new research – carried out among men and women living with dyspraxia, as well as their parents and carers
  • Powerful facts and figures
  • Practical new resources for teachers, parents and employers
  • Case studies – women of all ages living with dyspraxia
  • Advice/opinion from the charity’s neurological, psychological and education experts
  • Interview opportunities with the charity’s well-known Patrons (both of whom have the condition); Emma Lewell-Buck MP and singing star from the band, “Collabro”, Jamie Lambert

Following its successful launch last year, the charity will also be urging the nation to be bright and bold for its second annual Funky Friday. On the final Friday of the Week, 16 October, show support to the Dyspraxia Foundation by simply wearing your most colourful or funky item of clothing (perhaps odd socks!) to work or school. 

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