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Common Warning Signs of Dyspraxia in Children in Grades 9–12

Dyspraxia Warning Signs in TeensHas your teenager always seemed to be somewhat clumsy, struggling with fine (small) motor skills, dropping things unintentionally or bumping into people by mistake ? If so, review the following list to see if any of these common warning signs of dyspraxia look familiar. Dyspraxia is a disorder that hinders motor skill development and coordination. Many teens are awkward and clumsy at times, but a teen with dyspraxia consistently displays these characteristics and is likely to have had similar struggles during their childhood years.

Dyspraxia is not a learning disability (LD), but many children with LD also show signs of dyspraxia. Some of the “symptoms” listed below also apply to certain learning disabilities and/or to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which often co-exist with LD. To find out if there's any overlap in symptoms and to clarify your concerns, please review our comprehensive Interactive Learning Disabilities Checklist.

For At Least the Past Six Months, My Child Has Had Trouble

Gross (Large) Motor Skills

  • Physical agility, balance and coordination; is very clumsy.
  • Sports and activities that require good hand-eye coordination.
  • Coordinating the body parts (such as fingers and hands, legs, feet and torso) needed for safe driving.

Fine (Small) Motor Skills

  • The physical act of writing.
  • Personal grooming (combing hair, shaving, applying makeup).
  • Coordinating movements to use technology devices such as cell phones, keypads, calculators, keyboard and/or a mouse.


  • Controlling the volume and pitch of his or her voice.
  • Speaking at a normal pace (not too slowly).
  • Clearly articulating words.


  • Confident his ability to communicate with others.
  • Comfortable with his physical movements; may feel like a “clumsy geek.”
  • Overall self-esteem; may feel frustrated, anxious, angry and/or depressed about his awkwardness.


  • Extreme sensitivity to light, touch, taste, sounds, space and smells.

If your teen has shown any of the signs below for at least the past six months, it may be time to seek help from a doctor. Print out this article, check off the symptoms that apply and take the list to the doctor’s appointment. The good news is that once your teen is properly diagnosed, appropriate help can be provided. With skills practice, certain kinds of practice and therapy, and your support, your child will gain confidence and the ability to succeed in school, the workplace and in life.

Additional Resources

Tags: grade9-12