What Is Dyspraxia?
What is Dyspraxia?
“Don’t you mean Dyslexia?” I’ve lost count how many times I have heard that.
The doctors and other medical/therapeutic people will tell you – Dyspraxia is a form of developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. DCD is a lifelong condition that may also impact a person’s articulation when speaking.
This post is my story and my opinion. I am not a Dyspraxia expert!
But if by sharing my story and advice I can help anyone that’s going through any stage of diagnosis or after diagnosis, that would mean the world to me.
What Are Dyspraxia Symptoms?
Here is a list of some of the general symptoms:
- Poor Balance
- Poor Posture
- Differences in speech
- Poor hand-eye coordination
- Perception problems
Dyspraxia symptoms can vary depending on age. And some are more noticeable than others.
With Young children they may be late hitting their growth milestones:
- Toilet training
Growing Up With Dyspraxia
Then as they are growing up may find they have difficulties performing certain tasks i.e tying shoelaces, getting dressed, focusing on one thing at a time, writing.
Believe it or not there are some positives with having Dyspraxia. Check out Dyspraxicfantastic for a nice article on the positives of Dyspraxia.
Well for me growing up and living with Dyspraxia hasn’t been easy.
Going to school during the 90s and early 2000s, things were slightly different. Now things are diagnosed and treated better (wife works with children with learning/behaviour issues).
Learning difficulties weren’t as common when I went to primary school (from what I know). I was the only child to have Dyspraxia in my school.
I was always a clumsy child. I believe I was late hitting all of my childhood milestones. And I was always falling over and hurting myself.
I tripped over a plimsole at school once, and smashed my head into a big wooden door and gave myself concussion!
So I was referred for a diagnosis, which I was given at age 7.
So this would make school easier right? Not exactly. Yes they gave me a laptop as my writing was unreadable and very slow (first time I had seen a laptop!)
I had a “special” teacher I would go to see and do some work with. But then came P.E.
I loved sports! But I was unable to join in with P.E because of my clumsiness and my likeliness to hurt myself or others. So my P.E class would be me and my “special” teacher on our own in the hall, with her throwing a bean bag at me and me not being able to catch it.
Then this led on to the other kids noticing I was being treated differently. Also with how I walked (bouncing, waving my arms around, hunched over and never in a straight line), I had a rough time throughout of school.
And always was being reminded that I was “weird”.
It is still a struggle, and now knowing I grew up with undiagnosed ADHD too it makes more sense.
Me going on about how hard it was for me with Dyspraxia growing up isn’t for sympathy.
In fact, I wouldn’t change it if I could. Because for me, when I got to a certain age (around 15) I accepted that my brain worked slightly different from other peoples.
Dyspraxia is part of me, and there is nothing I can do about it. I gave up trying to be “normal”. I didn’t listen when people were putting me down.
And I stopped taking it personally when people around me were getting frustrated with me.
It was my experience, it was very new when I was growing up and wasn’t understood enough.
Teachers didn’t know how to deal with it. Parents weren’t given the information and help needed.
What I’m trying to say, is now there is a huge improvement in information and help. Schools are a lot more understanding and have the facilities and resources to make any child with any learning difficulty have the right education.
What If Your Child Has/might have Dyspraxia?
It will be ok. They don’t know what causes Dyspraxia. It isn’t anything you have done.
If you think they might have it speak to their teacher. See what they think. No doubt they will keep an eye on them. Then if they think it too they will get them referred for a diagnosis.
If they have Dyspraxia, there is plenty of support for children and parents nowadays. Check out The Dyspraxia Foundation website, there is a lot of information there.
If your child does have Dyspraxia, there is a lot of help at school, the majority of schools have specially trained staff to assist children with learning difficulties.
At home – you can do exercises with them (check The Dyspraxia Foundation website). With regards to fine motor skills like tying shoelaces, you can practice those too.
I took part in a lot of sports, Football, basketball and karate. I found karate very good. As I worked on my balance and my body control and strength.
Basketball? (i won’t say anymore!)
Does It Get Better?
To wrap it up, it can be worrying. Us parents worry constantly. We don’t need to add Dyspraxia into the mix, do we?
Things get better, I’m proof! I couldn’t walk into a shop without smashing something!
(i wiped out nearly the whole china plate display at a BHS before!)
But now I’m a parent, husband, have a full-time job and now I drive!
Here is my post on Driving With Dyspraxia.
Support and patience is the answer. Yes, people with Dyspraxia might struggle with somethings that others find very easy.
But we don’t choose to, and we want to achieve these things so much. Just by being patient and supporting them, they will get there.
I hope you found this post helpful.
Do you or your child have Dyspraxia? Please get in contact and share your story.
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