Daniel Radcliffe, 30, famed for being Harry Potter, revealed in 2008 he had a mild form of dyspraxia – also known as developmental coordination disorder. The condition affects physical co-ordination, preventing simple activities such as wiring or tying shoelaces, and makes a person appear clumsy.
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But the star hasn’t let dyspraxia get to him. As well as becoming a hero to people of all ages who are fans of his books, the actor has also supported others with the condition.
Daniel’s early school years proved very difficult, the star revealing he was awful at “everything with no discernible talent”.
In a chat with The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog, Daniel encouraged a 10-year-old girl with dyspraxia.
He said: “Do no let it stop you. It has never held me back, and some of the smartest people I know are people who have learning disabilities.
“The fact that some things are more of a struggle will only make you more determined, harder working and more imaginative in the solutions you find to problems.”
Who is more likely to have dyspraxia?
Dyspraxia is thought to be around three or four times more common in boys than girls, and the condition sometimes runs in families.
What are the symptoms?
The NHS says early developmental milestones of crawling, walking, self-feeding and dressing may be delayed in young children with dyspraxia, and drawing.
It adds: “Although signs of the condition are present from an early age, children vary widely in their rate of development, and dyspraxia isn’t usually definitely diagnosed until a child with the condition is around five years old or more.”
Causes of dyspraxia
Carrying out co-ordinated movements relies on different nerves and parts of the brain.
Any problems in this process can lead to difficulties with movement and co-ordination.
The NHS explains: “It’s not usually clear why co-ordination doesn’t develop as well as other abilities in children with DCD.
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“However, a number of risk factors that can increase a child’s likelihood of developing DCD have been identified.”
- Being born prematurely – before the 37th week of pregnancy
- Being born with a low birth weight
- Having a family history of dyspraxia – although it isn’t clear exactly which genes may be involved in the condition
- The mother drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs while pregnant
How is dyspraxia treated?
There’s no cure for the condition, but a number of therapies exist to make it easier for children to manage their problems.
The NHS says being taught ways of carrying out activities they find difficult, such as breaking down difficult movements into much smaller parts and practising them regularly, can help.
Adapting tasks to make them easier, such as suing special grips on pens and pencils so they are easier to hold, may also help.
The health body adds: “Although DCD doesn’t affect how intelligent a child is, it can make it more difficult for them to learn and they may need extra help to keep up at school.
“Treatment for DCD will be tailored to your child and usually involves a number of different healthcare professionals working together.
“Although the physical co-ordination of a child with DCD will remain below average, this often becomes less of a problem as they get older.
“However, difficulties in school – particularly producing written work – can become much more prominent and require extra help from parents and teachers.”
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