4/18: Dyspraxia

It’s hard for me to say much about this, because it doesn’t affect me very strongly, but many autistic people have problems with coordination. (Edited to add: I wrote variations on the words “This can also be caused by other conditions…” so many times that I apparently forgot them in this entry. Along with being associated with autism, dyspraxia is a diagnosis in itself, and can caused by all sorts of other things.)

If you’re a doctor, this is called “fine motor skills” when it comes to small, precise movements like tying a knot, and “gross motor skills” when it’s larger things like hitting a baseball or balancing on one foot. Sometimes the term “dyspraxia” is used as a general word for problems with motor skills. There’s some debate about whether dyspraxia should be a diagnosis in its own right, or whether it only happens as a part of other conditions like autism and ADHD. Like I mentioned earlier, dyspraxia contributes to problems with language for some autistic people. Pronouncing words clearly (and also writing legibly) takes a lot of precise movements, and people with significant dyspraxia-type problems can have trouble physically forming words even if they know what they want to say.

Personally, I have pretty good hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills most of the time. I sometimes look awkward when I’m startled or trying to move very quickly— I tend to move very stiffly and use more of my body than I really need to— but I can usually succeed at things like catching something thrown at me, even if I look silly in the process.

Here are some posts (by Cynthia Kim, and by Judy Endow) about dyspraxia/motor skills problems from autistic people who do experience them.

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