Dyspraxia Explains Harry Potter's Klutziness

Dyspraxia makes it hard for Potter's Daniel Radcliffe to write, tie shoes.

ByABC News
August 18, 2008, 4:15 PM

Aug. 19, 2008 — -- 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.

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.