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Dyspraxia is a common trait with children who have a diagnosis of FACS. Not all children will have Dyspraxia but if you feel that your child may have this from a young age, persist with your child’s health team. It takes many years to diagnose this, early intervention is key for children with this.
What is dyspraxia?
Dyspraxia, a form of developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. It may also affect speech. DCD is a lifelong condition. DCD is distinct from other motor disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke, and occurs across the range of intellectual abilities. Individuals may vary in how their difficulties present: these may change over time depending on environmental demands and life experiences.
An individual’s coordination difficulties may affect participation and functioning of everyday life skills in education, work and employment.
Children may present with difficulties with self-care, writing, typing, riding a bike and play as well as other educational and recreational activities. In adulthood many of these difficulties will continue, as well as learning new skills at home, in education and work, such as driving a car and DIY.
Symptoms of Dyspraxia
An early sign of dyspraxia may be that your child does not reach the normal stages of development. For example, they may take slightly longer than expected to:
• roll over
• toilet train
Your child’s speech may be very immature or impossible to understand in their early years, and language and vocabulary skills may take longer to develop.
Problems in childhood
As your child gets older, they may find it harder than other children of the same age to join in playground games and to perform fine (detailed) movements, such as handwriting. They may also have difficulty processing thoughts and concentrating.
Some children may also start to avoid activities at home or school to avoid feeling embarrassed in front of friends or family.
Movement and co-ordination
If your child has dyspraxia, they will have problems with movement and co-ordination. They may find the following difficult:
• 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 be at risk of becoming unfit)
• games including shape-sorter toys, building blocks and jigsaws
• using scissors and colouring pens (their drawings may appear scribbled and more childish than they should be for their age)
• fine movements such as handwriting, tying shoelaces, doing up buttons and using a knife and fork
• keeping still (they may swing or move their arms and legs a lot and find it hard to sit still)
• walking up and down stairs
• getting dressed
A child with dyspraxia may also bump into objects or drop things, and may fall over a lot. This makes them appear awkward and clumsy.
Concentration and learning
If your child has dyspraxia, they will have difficulty concentrating and learning. They may:
• do better at school in a one-to-one situation than in a group, as they are able to be guided through work
• have a poor attention span, finding it difficult to concentrate on one thing for more than a few minutes
• not automatically pick up new skills and need encouragement and repetition to help them learn
• have problems with writing stories and copying from the blackboard
These problems can be upsetting for the child.
As your child gets older, these problems may start to have a different effect on them. For example, problems with muscle movement may mean they:
• find PE (physical education) difficult
• cannot take part in team games, which may have an effect how well they make friends
• may be bullied for being ‘different’ or clumsy
• may avoid certain activities or subjects, such as drawing
• are more tired, as they have to use more energy than other children to complete the same activities
Your child may also have low self-esteem (the way they feel about themselves) as a result of these problems
For more information on Dyspraxia: http://www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/