Developmental coordination disorder

Causes of dyspraxia

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Little is known about the cause of developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD), although it is thought to be caused by a problem in the development of the brain.

Performing smooth, planned movements is a complex process, involving your senses, muscles and central nervous system (brain, nerves and spinal cord). Any problem in this process could potentially lead to difficulties with movement and co-ordination.

Increased risk

Although it is not known exactly what causes DCD, there may be a link between DCD and:

  • being born prematurely (before the 37th week of pregnancy)
  • being born with a low birth weight
  • having a family history of DCD, although it is not clear exactly which genes may be involved in the condition
  • the mother drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs while pregnant

Acquired dyspraxia

The term 'dyspraxia' is sometimes used generally to refer to difficulties with movement and co-ordination.

When the term is used in this way, it can include problems caused by brain damage later in life, such as a head injury.

These cases are also called 'acquired dyspraxia' and are different to the developmental condition most people are referring to when they use the term dyspraxia.