What is Dyspraxia?
In the past few years there has been an increasing recognition and diagnosis of dyspraxia.Â The international medically preferred term for this condition is Developmental Co-ordination Disorder, DCD.Â Developmental Co-ordination Disorder / Dyspraxia are terms which describe children who have difficulty in the development of movement skills.Â These difficulties become apparent in early childhood years when a child has difficulty learning and performing motor tasks.Â These difficulties can affect the child across their home, school and play activities.Â International research has shown that DCD affects at least 6% of children, between 5 â€“ 12 years, approximately one child per class at primary school level.
What to look out for?
There are numerous difficulties a child could present with which could indicate difficulty with development of movement skills, co-ordination.Â Some examples include:
- Difficulty learning to ride a bicycle
- Difficulty kicking/catching/throwing/bouncing a ball
- Poor body awareness, awkward movements
- Poor posture.Â Often may tire easily, have low exercise tolerance and may require more rest and sleep
- Poor handwriting skills, e.g. slow to choose a hand preference, awkward pencil grip, slow speed of handwriting, difficulty with letter formation, or some children may say their hands get sore after short periods of handwriting and may often shake their hand out after writing
- Difficulties with buttoning shirt/coat etc
- Difficulties using knife and fork
- DifficultiesÂ using a scissors
What to do if these difficulties are affecting your child?
If a child is having difficulties in the above areas a multi-disciplinary assessment is advised.Â This could include
- a doctor, to rule out any underlying medical conditions
- an Occupational Therapist, to assess the type of co-ordination, postural and stamina difficulties the child is having,
- a Speech and Language Therapist, to assess any language difficulties
Further disciplines may be required; however these professionals will be able to provide advice initially and recommend the most suitable treatment option available for the child to enhance their development.