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What Is the Connection between Dyslexia and Dyspraxia?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Images By: Richard Elzey, Pds209, Xalanx
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2016
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Dyslexia and dyspraxia are separate disorders that sometimes occur together. Patients with dyslexia have difficulty reading, writing, and spelling, while dyspraxia is a disorder of motor coordination that can make it difficult to perform fine motor tasks. Treatment is available for both to help patients develop coping skills they can use in the classroom, at work, and at home. Dyslexia and dyspraxia are often diagnosed in early school years when teachers observe that a student has trouble keeping pace with her peers.

The severity of each disorder can vary, and the experience for different patients may be very unique; two people with dyslexia will not necessarily have the same symptoms and may not respond to treatment in the same way. When dyslexia and dyspraxia appear together, the manifestations of the two conditions can be more complex and often intersect with each other. For example, dyspraxia can make it difficult to learn to write legibly, and this can make the dyslexia worse.

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Patients with dyslexia often have difficulty with words that sound and look similar. Teaching them to read and write can be challenging, and tasks like spelling may be very difficult. In some cases, accommodations for dyslexia may include things like not punishing students for poor spelling in recognition of the fact that they may not be able to distinguish between "through" and "threw," for example, or between "through" and "thorough." Students may also attend tutoring or intensive classes to develop reading and writing skills in an environment where they are not pressured or teased by peers.

Dyspraxia can cause lack of coordination. In addition to bringing on problems with handwriting, it can also make it difficult for a patient to talk. Patients with dyslexia and dyspraxia may have trouble forming words, distinguishing between similar sounds when speaking, or correctly naming objects around them. In oromotor dyspraxia, patients have difficulty coordinating their mouths to speak. Speech-language therapy can help someone with this condition develop speaking skills and may also provide him with augmentative communication tools like a communication board.

With both dyslexia and dyspraxia, a student's difficulty with verbal expression does not mean he is slow or not intelligent. In fact, some very notable members of the scientific community, including Albert Einstein and Pierre Curie, had dyslexia. This condition affects the ability to speak, but does not change reasoning skills or capacity for learning, as long as material is presented in a format the student can understand.

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