Dyspraxia is an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of
movement. Associated with this there may be problems of language,
and thought processes. It affects at least 2% of the population to
varying degrees and 70% of those affected are male.
Other names for Dyspraxia are "Clumsy Child Syndrome", Perceptuo-motor
Dysfunction, Minimal Brain Dysfunction, Motor Learning Difficulty.
Gross and fine motor skills are hard to learn, difficult to retain and
generalise, and hesitant and awkward in performance.
Articulation may be immature or even unintelligible in early years.
Language may be impaired or late to develop.
There is often a poor understanding of the messages that the sense
convey and difficulty in relating those message to actions.
Dyspraxic children of normal intelligence may have great difficulty in
planning and organising thoughts. Those with moderate learning
difficulties may have these problems to a greater extent.
WHAT ARE THE INDICATORS?
These are some of the difficulties experienced by children with
dyspraxia. All children are different and not all of these will apply
to every child.
Speech problems, slow to learn to speak or speech may be incoherent
Poor short term memory . Poor body awareness
Cannot hop, skip or ride a bike
Slow to learn to dress or learn to feed themselves
Cannot hold a pen or pencil properly/writing and drawing problems
Difficulties throwing and catching a ball . Poor social skills
Spatial problems - maps, plans,
diagrams, telling the time, shape work, design & technology
WHAT TO DO NEXT?
Discuss the problems with the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator
(SENCo) in order to share your concerns and clarify the level of
difficulty experienced in school.
Most problems would be dealt with through the resources normally
available to schools. These may include strategies in the classroom
Teaching strategies to help them remember and organise themselves, e.g.
diaries and lists,
Allowing access to alternative methods of recording work, e.g. use of
laptop, use of a dictaphone,
Using a sloping surface for writing,
Pair the child with a more co-ordinated friend,
Teach the child to talk himself through visual and spatial tasks, e.g.
letter formation and maths,
Enlarge parts of busy page and space it out in a book.
HOW CAN PARENTS HELP?
Be patient. Give the child as much encouragement as possible and make
sure they are not made to feel a failure.
Break down activities and tasks into smaller component parts.
Consider contacting your GP or Health Visitor for referral to
appropriate therapist, e.g. Speech Therapist for Verbal Dyspraxia
(speech problems), Occupational Therapist . Ensure all instructions are
clear and precise. Don't be satisfied with a nod from a child when you
have given instructions. Ask the child to repeat the instructions or
information you have given him.
Allow child to use laptop, computer or other means of recording
With a younger child don't insist on the child tying his own laces,
provide velcro or other more practical fastenings.
Cert. Ed., BSc.(Hons), MSc.,
C. Psychol., AFBPsS.
Society No: 34097
in collaboration with
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assessment and an independent opinion"