Understanding Dyspraxia And Sensory Processing Disorder SPD

Dyspraxia and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) are two distinct conditions that affect children, adolescents, and adults. Understanding these two conditions may aid in diagnosing and addressing their impacts, which can be debilitating for sufferers. In this article, we will describe the symptoms and effects, as well as potential treatments for Dyspraxia and SPD.

Understanding Dyspraxia

Dyspraxia is a neurological condition that impacts the planning of movement and coordination. In individuals with Dyspraxia, their brain may have difficulty transmitting signals to the muscles, making it difficult to execute certain actions. This can lead to difficulties with:

– Gross motor skills (e.g. running, jumping)
– Fine motor skills (e.g. writing, buttoning a shirt)
– Spatial awareness
– Timing and sequencing of movements
– Organizational skills
– Balance

Dyspraxia can vary in its severity and manifestation. In some cases, it may be mild and not significantly impact an individual’s daily life. In other cases, it may be debilitating and require significant accommodation.

Symptoms of Dyspraxia

The symptoms of Dyspraxia may vary from person to person but often present as:

– Delayed milestones (e.g. late to crawl, late to walk)
– Clumsiness
– Difficulty with handwriting
– Sensory sensitivities
– Difficulty with dressing and grooming
– Difficulty with team sports
– Difficulty with following spoken and written directions
– Difficulty with time management

How Dyspraxia is Diagnosed

A diagnosis of Dyspraxia is typically made by a healthcare professional, such as a neurologist or occupational therapist. The diagnostic process may include a physical examination, evaluation of developmental milestones, and an assessment of motor skills.

Treatments for Dyspraxia

While there is no cure for Dyspraxia, there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms. Occupational therapy is often used to improve motor skills, coordination, and organizational abilities. Speech-language therapy may also be used to address language and communication concerns that may be associated with Dyspraxia.

Understanding Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a condition in which the brain has difficulty processing and interpreting information from the senses (touch, sound, smell, taste, sight). Individuals with SPD may have difficulty regulating their responses to sensory input, leading to over or under-responsiveness. This can impact their ability to participate in daily activities and may result in anxiety or meltdowns.

Symptoms of SPD

The symptoms of SPD are often specific to the type of sensory input that is impacting the individual. For example:

– Over-responsiveness to touch may result in discomfort with certain fabrics, textures, or movements.
– Over-responsiveness to sound may result in a sensitivity to loud noises or difficulty filtering background noise.
– Over-responsiveness to smell may result in discomfort with certain scents or odors.
– Over-responsiveness to taste may result in a limited food repertoire or difficulty trying new foods.
– Over-responsiveness to sight may result in discomfort with bright lights or crowded visual environments.

Under-responsiveness may lead to a lack of awareness of dangerous situations or excessive risk-taking behavior.

How SPD is Diagnosed

SPD is not yet a formal diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), but may be diagnosed by occupational therapists or other healthcare professionals who evaluate sensory processing abilities. The diagnostic process may involve interviews with the individual and their family, as well as direct observation of their sensory responses.

Treatments for SPD

There is no cure for SPD, but treatments can help improve an individual’s ability to participate in daily activities. Occupational therapy is often used to address sensory integration concerns and to provide strategies to manage sensory sensitivities. Sensory diets, which involve specific movement or sensory activities at specific intervals throughout the day, may also be used to regulate sensory input and improve an individual’s ability to function in their environment.


Dyspraxia and SPD are two neurological conditions that can significantly impact an individual’s daily life. While there is no cure for either condition, treatments such as occupational therapy can help manage symptoms and provide strategies to improve an individual’s ability to participate in daily activities. It is important to seek a professional assessment if you believe you or someone you know may be experiencing symptoms of Dyspraxia or SPD. With the right diagnosis and treatment plan, individuals with these conditions can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.


FAQs About Understanding Dyspraxia and Sensory Processing Disorder SPD

What is Dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia is a developmental disorder that affects coordination and motor skills. People with dyspraxia may struggle with activities that require physical coordination or understanding directions. It is not related to intelligence, but it may affect academic performance, as tasks like writing and typing can be challenging.

What is Sensory Processing Disorder SPD?

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a condition that affects how the brain processes sensory information. People with SPD may be hypersensitive or hyposensitive to different sensory inputs, such as touch, sound, and smell. This can make everyday activities difficult or overwhelming, and may lead to anxiety or other behavioural issues.

How are Dyspraxia and SPD Related?

Dyspraxia and SPD may co-occur, as both conditions involve difficulties with sensory processing. For example, a child with dyspraxia may struggle with fine motor skills like handwriting because they have trouble processing tactile information. Understanding the overlap between these conditions can help parents and caregivers provide targeted support for children who are struggling.


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