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Dyspraxia in the Workplace and how Employers can help

Author: John Hinds
by John Hinds
Posted: Jul 06, 2021

Dyspraxia in the Workplace and how Employers can help

What is dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia refers to lifelong struggles with movement and coordination – the formal diagnosis being DCD or Developmental Coordination Disorder. People with dyspraxia often have problems with balance, coordination and motor skills (including fine – such as penmanship; gross – larger movements like swinging a bat; and motor planning – multi-step tasks like shoe-tying). There are often other associated challenges like handwriting, processing sensory experiences, anxiety and increased processing times.

What issues can those with dyspraxia experience in a workplace?

It is worth noting that many will go through life being able to adopt their own coping strategies in a workplace setting that will mean that they don’t experience any insurmountable problems while at work. However others will require additional support and of course there are some working environments more and less conducive to a positive workplace setting for someone with dyspraxia. Dyspraxia is experienced differently by every individual and so the support needed will depend on the experience of the individual in question. Among the issues that can be experienced include:

  • Computer operation
  • Using a keyboard quickly and efficiently
  • Operating such office equipment as photocopiers or staplers
  • Workload organisation
  • Tasks involving deep concentration
  • Memory recall
  • Handwriting skills
  • Communication, following instructions given orally and participating in group discussions or meetings

Dyspraxia – an asset

It is a trap to always focus on the challenges when it comes to neurodiversity and those with dyspraxia can certainly be an asset in the workplace. Employees with dyspraxia are often very motivated and have had to find inventive ways of dealing with their challenges and know how to fight adversity. This often makes them good strategic thinkers capable of finding creative solutions to many issues.

How employers can help

In the UK employers have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the needs of those with dyspraxia. But what might these adjustments look like? There is often a willingness to help and be flexible without the understanding as to exactly what that looks like in reality. It is worth reiterating the individual nature of this condition and what represents the ideal support for one person, will not necessarily be perfect for someone else. Flexibility here, is vital.

Training staff

Having supportive colleagues is one of the most important factors for people with dyspraxia in terms of enjoying a positive workplace experience. For people to be supportive they need understanding – for that they require training and education. Online courses or having a guest speaker in could both be appropriate.

Listen

Encouraging those with dyspraxia to tell you in a one-on-one or by email or over the phone, whichever they feel more comfortable with, what their concerns are and what reasonable steps might help will be a good way to forge a path that will serve all parties well going forward.

Training for the individuals concerned

Offering training that is appropriate for those with DCD can be a very positive way of improving the workplace experience and at the same time boosting performance. Whether a writing skills course or assertiveness training, the results can be very impressive.

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Author: John Hinds
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John Hinds

Member since: Jul 29, 2018
Published articles: 38

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