It took nearly 60 years for my father to learn that he had dyspraxia. Without ever understanding why, my dad had failed his driving test eight times, stepped on strangers’ feet every time he tried to dance, and couldn’t follow a map. It wasn’t until his 10-year-old daughter (me!) was formally diagnosed with dyspraxia, or developmental coordination disorder, that it began to register.
It’s not a coincidence that my father and I both have dyspraxia, often referred to as DCD in the United States. Defined as a lifelong neurological disorder, it can be genetic. It primarily affects motor function (e.g., the ability to eat, speak, and move), alongside a Pandora’s box of other developmental symptoms. Alternately referred to as dysgraphia, dyspraxia, developmental coordination disorder (DCD), and specific developmental disorder of motor function (SDDMF), experts estimate that between 2 and 10 percent of the population has dyspraxia. Difficult to explain and complex to diagnose, the disorder boils down to this: Not all of the messages your brain is sending to your body are getting through. You’re not imagining it.