What is dyspraxia and how does it affect learning?
Dyspraxia has been in the news recently with the character of Ryan in the new Doctor Who series raising awareness of the condition. It’s even been the subject of a question on The Chase! But what exactly is it and how does it affect those with the condition?
What is dyspraxia?
Dyspraxia is also known as developmental coordination disorder (DCD). It is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults, but it can also cause many non-motor difficulties with memory, perception and processing as well as additional problems with planning, organising and carrying out movements in the right order in everyday situations. Dyspraxia can also affect articulation and speech. It can occur in isolation, or coexist with autism, ADHD or dyslexia.
What are the symptoms?
Dyspraxia in pre-school children can manifest as developmental delays in learning to sit unaided, crawl and walk, but also as difficulties with stacking or construction toys, using cutlery or holding a pencil; however, dyspraxia is usually not diagnosed until the age of 5 or older, as every child’s development is different.
In school children with dyspraxia may appear awkward and clumsy as they may bump into objects and drop things. They also have difficulties:
- with playground activities such as hopping, jumping, running, and catching or kicking a ball – they often avoid joining in because of their lack of co-ordination and may find physical education difficult
- walking up and down stairs
- writing, drawing and using scissors – their handwriting and drawings may appear scribbled and more childish than other children their age
- telling the time
- getting dressed, doing up buttons and tying shoelaces
- keeping still – they may swing or move their arms and legs a lot
How does it present difficulties?
As well as movement and co-ordination issues, children with dyspraxia can also have other problems, such as:
- difficulty concentrating – they may have a poor attention span and find it difficult to focus on one thing for more than a few minutes
- difficulty following instructions and copying down information – they may do better at school in a one-to-one situation
- being poor at organising themselves and getting things done
- not automatically picking up new skills – they need repetition to help them learn
- difficulties making friends – they may be bullied for being “different” or clumsy
- behaviour problems – often stemming from a child’s frustration with their symptoms
- low self-esteem
How can MSTC help?
There’s no cure for dyspraxia but interventions can be used to make it easier for the child to manage their difficulties and allow them to thrive at home, in their learning and beyond: At the MSTC we can offer support, therapies and exercises that improve fine and gross motor skills, coordination, handwriting, memory and concentration, among other things. Do give Hayley a call on 01206 911974 to chat through how we can help.Go Back