Ideomotor And Ideational Dyspraxia

6 min readMay 7, 2021

In the two previous articles that I wrote, I focused respectively on Verbal Dyspraxia and Constructional Dyspraxia. Yet as you may recall in the previous article on Constructional Dyspraxia, we learnt that there are four variations in total. And in this article we shall be uncovering the other two variations of Dyspraxia, Ideomotor and Ideational Dyspraxia.

When most people who are not familiar with Dyspraxia think of this disability, the first thing which comes to mind is clumsiness which in many ways falls into these two variations of Dyspraxia. So what is Ideomotor and Ideational Dyspraxia; and what are their differences?

The First Of The Two: Ideomotor Dyspraxia

Ideomotor Dyspraxia is where one's fine motor skills are affected by their Dyspraxia. Just what do I mean by fine motor skills? Well fine motor skills are essentially skills that one uses small muscles (usually in their hands or wrists) to accomplish.

Examples of fine motor skills include (but not limited to) typing on a computer, holding a pen (and writing), using keys to open a door, needlework. Now for most people who don’t have Dyspraxia, these skills are so frequently used as well as easy to carry out that most people wouldn’t even consider them as a skill. Instead they are just seen as an everyday thing.

Yet for those of us with Ideomotor Dyspraxia, tasks that require the use of small muscles can be very hard for us. This is why many of us struggle with everyday tasks like brushing our hair, doing up our buttons, brushing our teeth, putting a key in the door to unlock it, etc. Unfortunately in this world, many people who are not at all familiar with Dyspraxia may not even realise that we are genuinely struggling with the undertaking of such tasks, instead choosing to believe that we are just attention seeking or playing stupid for some sort of a laugh. Yet nothing could be further from the truth!

The Second Of The Two: Ideational Dyspraxia

Ideational Dyspraxia in many ways is directly related to Ideomotor Dyspraxia in that this variation is to do with the moving of large muscles in our legs, arms and torso. As such this form of Dyspraxia can be represented as having issues with our bodily movements. Just as with Ideomotor Dyspraxia, the issue with this type of Dyspraxia is down to our Brains sending the wrong messages to the certain parts of our bodies, so that whilst we want to use our muscles to do X or Y activity, our bodies just don’t respond as we expected.

Gross motor skills is the name given to the muscles that are affected by Ideational Dyspraxia. As such, activities which require said skills which those of us with Ideational Dyspraxia struggle with include kicking a football, riding a bicycle, driving a car, dancing, etc. Really any skill that requires us moving the large muscles in our bodies: even balancing on one leg can be a difficulty for some of us.

Ideomotor And Ideational Dyspraxia

Just as Ideomotor Dyspraxia affects us via our fine motor skills, Ideational Dyspraxia affects our gross motor skills. As such in many ways these two variations of Dyspraxia go hand in hand with each other. This is different from Verbal Dyspraxia and Constructional Dyspraxia, in that one has to do with spatial awareness and the other affects our speech.

No Dyspraxic Individual Is The Same

There is an old adage about Autism that goes something along the lines of 'when you meet one Autistic person, then you have just come across one Autistic person.' The meaning behind this is that every Autistic’s autism will be different from person to person.

I would like to say that this is the same with us Dyspraxics as well. As we have uncovered, there are four variations of Dyspraxia, which are:

Verbal (oromotor) dyspraxia

Constructional dyspraxia - this is to do with spatial relationships.

Ideational dyspraxia - affects the ability to perform coordinated movements in a sequence.

Ideomotor dyspraxia - affects organising single-step tasks

Now all of our Dyspraxia’s will consist of at least one or more of these four variations of Dyspraxia and to some degree. Perhaps you suffer from Constructional Dyspraxia whilst mildly having Ideomotor Dyspraxia as well, but don't struggle with characteristics of the other two versions of Dyspraxia.

Despite the different types of Dyspraxia, most Dyspraxics will tend to have at least either the Ideational or Ideomotor (maybe both) as part of their Dyspraxic makeup. Personally I don't know why this is the case but it could explain why when the typical Non-Dyspraxic is asked what Dyspraxia is, they tend to think it is clumsiness: as displayed by these two variables.

So there is a chance therefore that we do have one or both the Ideomotor and Ideational Dyspraxia.

What Can I Do To Improve My Ideomotor And Ideational Dyspraxia?

So if you have Ideomotor Dyspraxia (fine motor skills) or the Ideational Dyspraxia (gross motor skills) then what can you do to improve your situation? Unfortunately the answer isn’t so simple for as we learnt earlier, everyone’s Dyspraxia is unique.

Therefore the best answer that I can give with regards to what you can do over the long term is to get into contact with either a good Occupational Therapist or failing that, a physiotherapist. These are individuals who'd be able to see how you are directly affected by your Dyspraxia: and apply strategies to help you cope better.

Unfortunately if you are living in a country where healthcare isn’t free, then it can be quite expensive getting hold of either one of these professionals. As such, one other option available is to reach out online to the ever growing Dyspraxic community. There are lots of people out there who are going through the same struggles that you are and as such, maybe able to offer some coping strategies.

Yet in the short term, the best bits of advice I can give one would be:

  1. Don't be too hard on yourself
  2. Focus your energies on one thing at a time

Now I don't know about you but generally I find that the more stressed I am, the more Dyspraxic I tend to become; in that I bump into things more, knock things over, etc. I don't know why this is but it just seems to be the way that my Brain operates (though even when I am calm I am still prone to the odd Dyspraxic mistake).

As such I find that when I do make a clumsy mistake, by realising it is just part of my Dyspraxia and not my fault (I didn't intend to do it consciously) I won't kick myself. And ultimately mentally kicking ourselves will only cause us to feel more stress overtime.

Also I find that I am less likely to make clumsy mistakes if I am consciously focused on doing one thing at a time instead of trying to do several things at once. It is said that even for the typical Non-Dyspraxic, multitasking is something which one generally doesn't do well. Yet for us Dyspraxics, this is doubly true.

So focus on one thing at a time rather than trying to do several things at once. This will help you also reduce the chances that you will make a clumsy mistake.

Anyhow if you like to know more about Dyspraxia, including the strengths of having Dyspraxia, I recommend you read my book ‘Dyspraxia: How To Thrive As An Adult’ by Alex Gadd. You can find that by clicking here.

Else if you would like to be in a group of fellow Dyspraxics and find more information on this disability, then why not join the Dyspraxia Support Group on Facebook.




I am a Dyspraxic who likes to help others with Dyspraxia with improving their lives and learning more about Dyspraxia.