Quick facts about dyspraxia
First of all, do you know what dyspraxia is?Dyspraxia, also known as developmental coordination disorder (DCD), is a condition that affects physical co-ordination which causes those affected to perform less well than expected in daily activities for his or her age and appear to move clumsily. Dyspraxia is thought to be around three or four times more common in boys than girls, and the condition has also been seen to run in families.
Dyspraxia does not affect intelligence, but it may make daily life more difficult. It can affect co-ordination skills – such as tasks requiring balance, playing sports and fine motor skills, such as writing or using small objects.
It is thought that 10% of the UK population have dyspraxia and out of those 10%, 2% suffer with it severely.
Dyspraxia symptoms can vary depending on age....difficulties may become obvious such as tying shoelaces, doing up buttons and handwriting. It tends to get picked up and diagnosed between the ages of 7 and 10.
While dyspraxia does not affect intelligence, it can cause learning problems in children.
Scientists do not fully know what causes dyspraxia. However, current research suggests nerve cells that control muscles (motor neurons) are not developing correctly and as a result, the brain takes much longer to process data.
Despite sounding very similar, dyspraxia is not the same as dyslexia.
Dyspraxia symptoms may vary depending on age. For example, clumsiness as a toddler, difficulty riding a bike and having trouble to keep track of time. In adults, clumsy movement and tendency to trip over.
Dyspraxia isn't something you 'grow out' of.
While dyspraxia is not something that can be cured, with treatment including occupational therapy to improve motor skills, and more recently tools such as dictation software, improvement can most certainly be seen.
Experts suggest active play - any play that involves physical activity - which can be outdoors or inside the home, helps improve motor activity.
Treatment can be difficult and this is because no two dyspraxics are the same. For example, a dyspraxic schoolchild, struggling to concentrate, may well benefit from one-to-one attention. While a dyspraxic adult, constantly disorganised in daily life, may need help from an occupational therapist.
Dyspraxia and dysgraphia can cause similar or overlapping struggles with writing. But they are different conditions.
Let's end this post on a positive note because there are actually many positives to being dyspraxic, and these include creativity, finding alternate ways to learn, an ability to think outside the box and empathy.
If you suspect your child may have dyspraxia, first off see your doctor and then a professional diagnosis can be made.
To discover more about dyspraxia, visit the NHS website
The dyspraxia foundation has a helpline, tons of articles as well as local groups to support families and individuals affected by dyspraxia.
An excellent, frequently touching and very uplifting story about TV presenter and wild-life expert Chris Packham is available to watch and very much recommended for parents.
(Worried it might be dyslexia instead? Check the signs to look out for.)