This week (4-10 October 2020) is Dyspraxia Awareness Week. According to the NHS, “Developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD), also known as dyspraxia, is a condition affecting physical co-ordination. It causes a child to perform less well than expected in daily activities for their age, and appear to move clumsily.”
It can also have a wider impact, affecting things like processing, short-term memory and spacial awareness.
In legal terms, pupils with dyspraxia are likely to fall within the definitions for additional support needs (Section 1, Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004) and disability (Section 6, Equality Act 2010). Indeed, the Code of Practice, “Supporting Children’s Learning” mentions developmental co-ordination disorder as an example of a “complex factor” which may have a “significant adverse effect” on a child or young person’s school education (Chapter 5, para 13).
A search for dyspraxia on the Scottish Government website gives only one result, which is a response to a Freedom of Information request in 2018: “The SFR [Standard for Full Registration] details the professional actions that teachers are expected to follow and these actions include having knowledge and understanding of Additional Support Needs, which includes dyspraxia.”
There are a few hits from the Scottish Parliament website, mostly answers to written questions and so on, but no equivalent at Holyrood to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dyspraxia at Westminster, which has the involvement of MPs from across the political spectrum who have dyspraxia themselves. This group recently launched an inquiry into the experience of dyspraxic people in the economy and wider society (including schools).
The deadline for submissions has now passed, but the report and recommendations to Ministers will be worth looking out for once it comes.
In the meantime for an insight into the experience of dyspraxic young people (at school and elsewhere), I can recommend a new blog called Dyspraxic Den, which has some great personal reflections on dyspraxia, as well as reviews of gadgets designed to make life easier for those with co-ordination difficulties. You can also find Dyspraxic Den on facebook and twitter.
In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that this is my son’s blog – and also that it’s really good!