According to the Dyspraxia Foundation, Dyspraxia is generally recognised to be an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement. Associated with this may be problems of language, perception and thought. Other names for Dyspraxia include Clumsy Child Syndrome; Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD); Minimal Brain Dysfunction: Motor learning Difficulty; and Pereceptuo-motor Dysfunction.
Dyspraxia is a disorder in fine motor skill development that to a degree affects about one in ten people. For a parent, trying to understand what you are witnessing with your child can be quite difficult, especially as even though there are ‘norms’ for milestone achievements, each child has his own pace and can lag slightly in one area and excel in another.
Sometimes though, things just ‘don’t seem quite right’. You may notice your child is experiencing challenges that persist. For some children simple tasks like handling a fork and knife, walking, skipping or catching are challenging and difficult. Others struggle with handwriting and complex movement sequences. When a child experiences difficulty with any of these skills, it can have a negative effect on his self-esteem and confidence.
We have provided links to several sites that can give additional information about DCD / Dyspraxia, which you can find on our Useful Links page.
The Dyspraxia Foundation lists several early indications that should be looked out for:-
The pre-school child
- Is late in reaching milestones e.g. rolling over, sitting, standing, walking, and speaking
- May not be able to run, hop, jump, or catch or kick a ball although their peers can do so
- Has difficulty in keeping friends; or judging how to behave in company
- Has little understanding of concepts such as 'in', 'on', 'in front of' etc
- Has difficulty in walking up and down stairs
- Poor at dressing
- Slow and hesitant in most actions
- Appears not to be able to learn anything instinctively but must be taught skills
- Falls over frequently
- Poor pencil grip
- Cannot do jigsaws or shape sorting games
- Artwork is very immature
- Often anxious and easily distracted
The school age child
- Probably has all the difficulties experienced by the pre-school child with dyspraxia, with little or no improvement
- Avoids PE and games
- Does badly in class but significantly better on a one-to -one basis
- Reacts to all stimuli without discrimination and attention span is poor
- May have trouble with maths and writing structured stories
- Experiences great difficulty in copying from the blackboard
- Writes laboriously and immaturely
- Unable to remember and /or follow instructions
- Is generally poorly organised
There are many strategies and treatment approaches to address these difficulties. These can improve functional ability, self-confidence and generally benefit the child’s well-being. If you believe your child shows signs of slow gross and / or fine motor skills development, evaluation by an Occupational Therapist can determine how severe the problem is and provide therapy to improve your child's abilities. You can contact us to discuss what you should do and we can work together to find the best way of helping your child. Follow Contact on the menu above.