What is Dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia, a kind of developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a common ailment that affects fine and/or gross motor coordination in adults and children. It may additionally impair speech. DCD is an enduring condition, formally verified by global bodies including the World Health Organisation. DCD is different from other motor ailments such as cerebral palsy and stroke and happens across the spectrum of intellectual abilities. Persons with this condition may differ in how their struggles present: these may fluctuate over time depending on environmental requirements and life events. A person’s coordination challenges may influence participation and functioning of ordinary life skills in employment, education, and work.

Children may exhibit complications with self-care, writing, riding a bike, typing, and play as well as additional scholarly and recreational pursuits. In adulthood, several of these challenges will remain, also acquiring new skills in education, at home, and work, and tasks like driving a car will present challenges.

There may be a variety of co-occurring complications that can further have serious adverse consequences on everyday life. Those include emotional and social challenges, as well as difficulties with time management, personal organisation, planning, and these, may similarly influence an adult’s vocational or employment experiences.

Several people with DCD also encounter difficulties with perceptions, processing and memory. While DCD is frequently viewed as an umbrella term that include motor coordination difficulties, dyspraxia refers to people who have extra difficulties organising, planning, and undertaking movements in the correct order in ordinary circumstances. Dyspraxia can also affect articulation and speech, attention and thought.

What Causes Dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia is believed to be caused by a disruption in the way the messages from the brain are transmitted throughout the body.  However, the precise cause of this disorder is unknown.

What are the indications of dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia influences children in different ways and differs in severity. The symptoms to look for change as children age. However, the symptoms are usually present early in life. Babies may be remarkably irritable and have challenges feeding. They may be delayed reaching developmental milestones, like rolling over or walking. Typical symptoms for various age groups include:

Toddlers may

Be messy eater, favor eating with fingers rather than utensils

Have difficulties playing with balls or riding bikes

Have toilet training challenges

Not play with building toys and puzzles

Have delays in talking and does not speak as well as youths who are similar in age And may not speak single words until age 3

Preschool or Early Elementary School youths may present with these symptoms

Bumping into things and people

Difficulties learning to skip and jump

Is delayed to in forming left- or right-hand dominance

Frequently drops things or has trouble holding them

Has difficulty gripping pencils and printing or sketching

Has trouble using buttons, zippers  and snaps

Speaks slowly or seems to have trouble enunciate words

Has difficulty talking at the correct speed, pitch and  volume

Strains to play and socialize with other kids

Grade School or Middle School Youth may

Shuns gym or sports

Needs more time to print, due to challenges holding pencil and composing letters

Has difficulty moving things from one area to another, such as parts on a game board

Games and exercises that need hand-eye coordination are a challenge

Have problems understanding directions and retaining them

Standing for a significant time is difficult as a result of weak muscle strength

High School aged youth may

Have problems with sports that include jumping and cycling

Slips and tumbles; bangs into objects and people

May speak continuously and repeat things

Forgets and misplaces everything

Have difficulty understanding nonverbal signs from others

Therapy and assistance, for youths with dyspraxia, may enhance their muscle tone including coordination over time.

What abilities are impaired by dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia can influence various skills. Here are some of the frequent examples. There are methods to support your child’s development in each of these domains:

Communication: Youths with dyspraxia may find it difficult to understand various features of speech. They can have difficulty saying words or communicating their thoughts. They may additionally have difficulty changing the pitch and volume of their voice. As a consequence, developing friends and socializing is a challenge.

Emotional/behavioral abilities: Children with dyspraxia may act immaturely. Group settings may overwhelm them. This can result in difficulties with developing friendships, and kids can display anxiety about socializing with others, particularly when they get older. Their struggles with sports may further harm their self-esteem and social capabilities. Parents and teachers can help by learning more about how dyspraxia can impact on your children’ social life.

Academics: Kids with dyspraxia frequently experience trouble writing quickly. This can produce challenges within the classroom, like difficulty taking notes and completing tests. Kids that have speech impediments may have trouble with spelling and reading.
Life skills: Learning everyday things required for independence can be difficult for people with dyspraxia. In primary school, children may require aid buttoning a shirt or cleaning their teeth. When they get older, they may experience trouble driving or learning to cook.


Diagnosing Dyspraxia

A useful method to establish the diagnosis is to start watching your child and using notes to describe what you are seeing. To be diagnosed with dyspraxia,  symptoms must be present for at least six months.

Recording notes can assist you to show that your child’s behavior has occurred for an ongoing duration and is interfering with everyday tasks. This can make acquiring a diagnosis to happen quicker.

There’s no one particular test to ascertain if your child has dyspraxia. Typically, a physician will examine your child to eliminate other neurological ailments. Next your child may be referred to a separate professional if these services are available in your area. Globally professionals such as a psychologist or an occupational therapist treat this disorder, however; there are also some things you can do as a parent or teacher to assist.

The professional will interview you about what you’ve witnessed and test your child’s muscle tone and strength and coordination. The professional also will examine your child’s capacity to do physical tasks, like tossing a ball. To diagnose your child with dyspraxia, the professional needs to assess four key areas:

1) Are motor skills behind what’s assumed based on the child’s age?

2) Do the challenges interfere with the child’s everyday life or educational achievements?

3) Are other neurological condition, such as cerebral palsy contributing to the challenges?

4) Were the symptoms were observed early in life, despite the disease typically isn’t diagnosed before age 5

If your child is diagnosed with dyspraxia, therapy can assist. Treatment that might help include occupational or speech therapy.

Here is a free online dyspraxia assessment

How Can Teachers Help?

Learn to recognize possible symptoms of dyspraxia

1) Encourage motivation and confidence

  1. This is a true disability with performance being variable and inconsistent so identification and appreciation of challenges is required to assist students. It helps if teachers modify responses and provide reassurance rather than blame. Provide praise and encouragement. For example, In class it is imperative to mark students with Dyspraxia but using checkmarks and descriptive praise for effort rather than performance. Make the goals achievable. Provide feedback at the end of the lesson. Recognize good character for example kindness and willingness to continue trying.

2)   Provide lots of time for them to do tasks

  1. They need more time for task completion and learning.

3)   Modify and adapt the learning environment

  1. Break down the steps needed to learn.  Using Goal, Plan, Do, Check as reminders is helpful for older children. Ask the child what they are going to do to help assess if they understand the steps involved. Help them set up a system to check off completion of the steps involved. Minimize visual distractions.  Review how to play games prior to playing them.
  2. For handwriting there are many techniques to help some are sloping the desk, using different writing instruments designed to make handling easier.

For more information on assisting in the classroom Click Here