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Brain Cogn. 1995 Dec;29(3):254-74.

What is developmental dyspraxia?

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


The idea of developmental dyspraxia has been discussed in the research literature for almost 100 years. However, there continues to be a lack of consensus regarding both the definition and description of this disorder. This paper presents a neuropsychologically based operational definition of developmental dyspraxia that emphasizes that developmental dyspraxia is a disorder of gesture. Research that has investigated the development of praxis is discussed. Further, different types of gestural disorders displayed by children and different mechanisms that underlie developmental dyspraxia are compared to and contrasted with adult acquired apraxia. The impact of perceptual-motor, language, and cognitive impairments on children's gestural development and the possible associations between these developmental disorders and developmental dyspraxia are also examined. Also, the relationship among limb, orofacial, and verbal dyspraxia is discussed. Finally, problems that exist in the neuropsychological assessment of developmental dyspraxia are discussed and recommendations concerning what should be included in such an assessment are presented.

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