Dyspraxia is a disorder that affects motor skill development, including speech difficulties.
Symptoms of dyspraxia include trouble with speech control, trouble with activities that require fine motor skills, poor coordination, and sensitivity to touch, light, smells, and taste.
This disorder affects people by impacting speech and writing ability and can make the person appear clumsy. Self-confidence may also be affected, due to the condition.
There is no cure for dyspraxia. Treatment options include practicing simple tasks, developing coordination, and working with speech, occupational, and physical therapists to improve functioning.
Dyspraxia is difficulty with thinking out, planning and carrying out sensory/motor tasks. It is caused by developmental differences in the brain, and takes many forms.
Some of these are:
- Ideomotor Dyspraxia: the inability to perform simple, single motor tasks, such as combing hair or waving goodbye.
- Ideational Dyspraxia: difficulty with multi-level tasks, such as brushing teeth.
- Dressing Dyspraxia: difficulty with dressing and putting clothes on in order.
- Oromotor Dyspraxia: difficulty with speech.
- Constructional Dyspraxia: difficulty with spatial relations.
Signs of Dyspraxia In Children (Infant babies to preschool):
- Late rolling, crawling, and walking
- Difficulty with steps and climbing
- Difficulty putting together puzzles
- Abnormal eye movements - a tendency to move the head instead of eyes
- Difficulty in learning new skills
- Slow speech development
Signs of Dyspraxia In Older Children:
- Difficulty in dressing and tying shoelaces
- Difficulty using cutlery
- Poor balance, awkwardness in gait, general clumsiness
- Difficulty riding a bike
- Difficulty in physical education classes due to difficulty with hopping, skipping, and throwing/catching a ball
- Poor reading skills
- Illegible handwriting due to an inability to grasp a pen or pencil properly
- Trouble remembering/following instructions, suffers from a poor short term memory in general
- Difficulty copying from the blackboard
- Speech problems, and difficulties in general with self-expression Impatience
- Poor social skills, emotional immaturity
- Phobias or obsessive behaviors
- Sensitivity to touch, an intolerance to having hair and nails cut, or teeth and hair brushed
- Poor sense of direction
- Confusion as to which hand to use for a task
- Difficulty in muti-step tasks such as brushing teeth due to an inability to remember the order of steps that need to be taken
How To Help Your Student
- Don't pressure your child to communicate. This will only frustrate him/her and inhibit them further. Instead, use repetitive verbal activities such as songs, poems and nursery rhymes to develop language skills.
- Use sign language or picture board when necessary.
- For motor difficulties, practice tasks with your child. Do them slowly and in the proper order each time.
- Start with simple tasks and slowly increase difficulty over time.
- Encourage physical activities to build coordination and confidence.
- Be patient.
- Don't create an anxious atmosphere. It will only hinder learning and increase frustration.
- Encourage friendships. Socialization increases confidence and rapport with peers.