Dyspraxia Explains Harry Potter's Klutziness

For "Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe, it's the simple things that give him the most trouble.

Radcliffe, 19, doesn't take issue with memorizing the scripts for the five "Harry Potter" movies he has headlined, or even the lines for his Broadway debut coming up this fall. But, asking him to tie his shoelaces is a different story.

In a recent interview with the UK's Daily Mail newspaper, Radcliffe admitted publicly for the first time to suffering from dyspraxia, a neurological disorder commonly associated with klutziness.

Radcliffe said the motor skill disorder sometimes gets so bad that he has trouble completing simple tasks, such as tying his shoes or writing a thank you note.

"I was having a hard time at school, in terms of being crap at everything, with no discernible talent," Radcliffe told the paper.

Poking fun at his own disability, Radcliffe went on to lament that Velcro sneakers never excelled in the world of fashion.

"Why, oh why, has Velcro not taken off?" Radcliffe said.

Radcliffe was unavailable for an interview with ABCNews.com, but his publicist, Vanessa Davies, said that the actor's dyspraxia is "very mild."

"It's a mild condition that affects his ability to tie his shoe laces and affects his handwriting," Davies said, adding that while he is capable of tying his laces, he "often fails" to do so.

Dyspraxia Turns Everyday Tasks Into Challenges

Dr. Mark Hallett, a senior investigator at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes in Bethesda, Md., said the cause of dyspraxia is still unknown.

"Dyspraxia is a form of clumsiness, which is seen largely in children and is not explained by more elementary problems," said Hallett.

"Those who have dyspraxia may have trouble with simple things, such as shoe laces, jumping rope or throwing a ball."

Twenty-seven-year-old Warren Fried of Chicago told ABCNews.com that he was diagnosed with dyspraxia at age 19 -- after years of living an isolated childhood with no explanation for why some of the easiest challenges proved so difficult.

"When I was growing up, I always knew there was something different about me," said Fried, adding that using buttons and zippers is still difficult.

"In school, every subject I tried, I failed," said Fried, who founded Dyspraxia USA two-and-a-half years ago to help other families with children suffering from the disorder. "Even the simplest things, like drawing and staying in the lines, was hard."

Radcliffe and Fried are hardly alone in their struggles, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities in New York City, which estimates about 6 percent of all children show some signs of dyspraxia and 70 percent of those are boys.

"It's wonderful that Radcliffe is coming out with this information, and it will be great for other youngsters with the same disorder," said Blanche Podhajski, a member of the professional advisory board of the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

"Some kids are just always considered sloppy writers, or lazy, or they're called unmotivated. But that's not the case."

Podhajski, who treats children with learning disabilities at the Stern Center for Language and Learning in White River Junction, Vt., said that, like many disorders, dyspraxia manifests itself in a variety of ways, depending on the child.

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