Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Sarah Tenanty from Insurance to give some advice for people considering this job:

Sarah Tenanty

Finance Operations


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Sarah Tenanty
Work hard, push your boundaries, have belief in your abilities, set personal goals and seek feedback. For those who have not completed a college degree or third level education seek a career path that will give you the opportunity to further your education and learning.

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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What is Dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia is a Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD) and a recognised Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD). The Dyspraxia Association of Ireland defines it as: “a difficulty with thinking out, planning and carrying out sensory/motor tasks". 

In general, dyspraxia is described as a difficulty with motor co-ordination, but it can affect individuals differently. It is sometimes described as a traffic jam of messages to the brain. It affects about 10% of the population, with  2-4% seriously affected.

Dyspraxia is characterised by difficulty in planning smooth, co-ordinated movements. This leads to clumsiness, lack of co-ordination, problems with language, perception and thought. Symptoms are generally noticeable from an early age.


Problems for learners with dyspraxia can include:

  • Poor motor co-ordination (fine/small and gross/large)
  • Difficulties with motor planning
  • Cannot do jigsaw puzzles or shape sorting games
  • Difficulty with spacial awareness
  • Poor awareness of body position in space
  • Poor social skills
  • Emotional and behavioural problems
  • Difficulties with vision
  • Difficulty with reading, writing and speech
  • Difficulty with remembering and/or following instructions
  • Poor working memory
  • Poor organisational skills
  • Inability to think laterally
  • Verbal IQ may be average or above average, with lower non-verbal IQ 

The development of a person experiencing dyspraxia can be slow and their processing difficulties (thinking, planning and doing) will continue throughout their life.

Video: Undergraduates living with dyspraxia ~ by Grace Morgan 2015

Learning Strategies

  • Keep instructions brief and concise
  • Use multisensory approaches - visual and kinesthetic
  • Use visual aids such as mind -mapping as a learning tool
  • Encourage 'learning by doing'
  • Develop time-management skills and learn to prioritise tasks
  • Use colour-coding for folders, notes, etc
  • Encourage participation in sport and physical activities (e.g swimming, table-tennis) to help physical co-ordination
  • Write down or record instructions for reference later
  • Develop IT skils to help with literacy, numeracy and hand writing nad use of spell-checker
  • Wear headphones to help reduce distractions 


At Primary Education Level:

Primary schools get a general allocation to meet the needs of children with special educational needs. This includes specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia and borderline and mild general learning disabilities and Learning difficulties, which includes pupils with:

  • Mild speech and language difficulties
  • Mild social or emotional difficulties
  • Mild co-ordination or attention control difficulties associated with identified conditions such as dyspraxia, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Pupils with these conditions who have been assessed as being in the low incidence category get individual support.

Learning support/resource teachers are appointed to provide support under the general allocation of additional teaching resources to help schools to make suitable provision.

Each school decides how the resources for high incidence support are used and how they are divided among the students who need such support. The additional teaching may be provided in the classroom or in small separate groups. Some pupils may need additional one-to-one teaching for a specified period.

At Secondary Education Level:

Special Educational Needs - Resource teacher hours are allocated to post-primary schools for the support of individual students who have been assessed as having special educational needs. Details of supports available at 2nd level are available here.

Second level students with permanent or long-term conditions, including specific learning difficulties, which they believe will significantly impair their performance in the exams can apply to the State Examinations Commission (SEC) for a reasonable accommodation(s) to be made to facilitate them. 

Reasonable Accommodations at the Certificate Examinations (RACE)

The Race scheme aims to assist students who are at a disadvantage due to a disability, by facilitating access to the state certificate examinations. The scheme has been the subject of much discussion and controversy in recent months and is currently undergoing changes.

Details of the revised 2017 scheme of reasonable accommodations will be available here on the State Examinations Commission website soon.

At Third Level and Further Education

Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD) Dyspraxia /Dysgraphia is one of the disabilities covered under the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) system.

DARE - Disability Access Route to Education - School leavers with DCD (Dyspraxia / Dysgraphia) who are under 23 years old (at 1st January of the application year) can apply for a college place through DARE:

Applicants complete the CAO application by 17.15pm on 1st February. CAO opens for applications on 5th November at 12.00 noon. See

By 1st March, applicants must answer YES to Question 1 ('Do you wish to be considered for DARE?') on Section A of the Supplementary Information Form (the SIF is a part of your CAO application). 

Applicants with DCD are required to provide:

Evidence of their disability (Full psychoeducational assessment AND Evidence of Disability Form 2016 OR Existing report from a Psychologist AND Occupational Therapist (less than 3 years old) OR Neurologist OR Chartered Physiotherapist (No age limit).

Educational Impact Statement - must be completed by the applicant and your School Principal, Teacher or Guidance Counsellor and returned to the CAO by 17.15pm on 1st April.

Details of the DARE screening criteria for applicants with Dyspraxia/DCD are available here

Research findings from AHEAD released in 2015 show that of the total disabled student population (9,694) at Third Level 2013/14 represented in the research, 395 (4.1%) have DCD (Dyspraxia/Dysgraphia). The full report is available here.

Common Educational Supports - a range of common educational supports are in place at Third Level for students with specific learning difficulties. These include:

  • Priority registration
  • Reader service
  • Use of audio-tape to record lectures and tutorials
  • Assistive technology
  • Materials in alternative formats
  • Word-processing facilities
  • Photocopying Facilities 
  • Copies of lecturer's notes and/or overheads 
  • Notetaker
  • Time extension on out-of-lecture assignments
  • Special Library Arrangements
  • Counselling and Medical Services
  • Study skills courses
  • Examination provisions 

These and other supports available are outlined in detail in our 'Third Level Supports' area.

Most colleges and universities now have a Disability Access Offficer or equivalent as part of the college student support services. Details of supports at 3rd Level for students with a disability are outlined here.

In the Workplace

Many organisations now make public claims to be an "equal opportunities employer". This suggests the existence of an equal opportunities policy (EOP), which is a policy statement adopted by the organisation declaring an intent not to discriminate and, further, to promote equality by taking steps to aid disadvantaged groups.  Such employers are in effect promising to avoid discrimination on grounds of sex or marital status, and may also make such a commitment in relation to people with a disability and racial and ethnic minorities.

Impact on Career Choice

Skills for workplace success fall into two main categories: hard skills and and soft skills. Hard skills are job-specific and they vary, depending upon the industry or field in which you want to work. For example, a graphic artist must have the computer skills that go with that job.

Soft skills are the personal characteristics that go with a variety of jobs - they include social skills, problem solving, communication, time management, and organisation. For example, a person who prefers to work alone might find a research job particularly appealing. Explore Career Skills in more detail here

People with dyspraxia:

  • May find it difficult to handle equipment such as a keyboard, tools, bandages, or laboratory and cooking equipment safely and easily.
  • Driving and managing a car can be challenging for dyspraxics, as the condition affects hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and short-term memory.
  • Tend to knock over and spill things easily.  
  • Writing is typically slow and laborious and/or untidy and illegible. 
  • May find themselves employed in jobs far below their capabilities. 

In an increasingly multi-skill economy, where one job may require strengths across several unrelated areas, does not help those with SpLDs.

On the other hand, Dyspraxics are often determined, persistent, hard working and highly motivated. People with dyspraxia are similar to those with dyslexia - they are often creative and original thinkers as well as strategic problem solvers.

People with dyspraxia may have difficulties when looking for work, or at work:

  • Operating computers and Keyboard skills
  • Using office equipment such as photocopiers and staplers
  • Organising their workload
  • Communication skills– such as following oral instructions and taking part in discussions
  • Handwriting and general writing skills
  • Memory and concentration

Jobs that can be suited to those with dyspraxia include caring professions - caring for the young or the elderly, working with people with learning difficulties, or working with animals. Turning hobbies into jobs can also be a good approach – for example, photography or writing.

Many people with dyspraxia experience few problems in the workplace and have developed their own strategies for working effectively.  Some however, find it hard to achieve their true potential and may need extra support at work.

Famous People with Dyspraxia

Celebrity actor Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame, and musician Florence Welch of Florence and The Machine have both openly talked about their dyspraxia and how they have handled it throughout their lives. Other famous dyspraxics include Richard Branson, David Bailey and Emily Bronte.

 'Dyspraxia hasn't stood in the way of my success in the theatre or on screen'

Daniel Radcliffe

Useful Links
Special Education Support Service - Dyspraxia & DCD 
Information and resources for education and people with dyspraxia
Dyspraxia Association of Ireland 
Formed in 1995 by parents of children with dyspraxia, the Association aims to raise awareness of dyspraxia in Ireland and create a better understanding of the condition
Dyscovery Centre 
Based at the University of South Wales the Dyscovery Centre provides clinical services aimed at helping children and adults with Dyspraxia (also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder), Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autistic
HSE Ireland - Dyspraxia 
HSE Ireland health information portal - detailed information on dyspraxia and children
Dyspraxia Foundation UK 
UK foundation dedicated to increasing understanding of dyspraxia.
Dyspraxia and Employment 
UK Article on workplace difficulties for people with Dyspraxia, and suggested ways in which employers can accommodate them at work
Disability Access Route to Education
Higher Education Access Route
Student Finance