WHAT IS DYSPRAXIA?
Dyspraxia is the more common name used in education for Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD). DCD is the term that most medical professionals will use. It is a condition that affects all areas of life, making it difficult for people to carry out activities that others take for granted.
SYMPTOMS OF DYSPRAXIA
A CYP with Dyspraxia may show (amongst other things):
awkward or 'clumsy' movements
Poor spatial awareness (which may result in frequent bruising)
Difficulty learning movements to carry out practical task such as cooking
Difficulty organising things such as time, equipment and ideas
Short attention span
Long pauses between questions and answers
Verbal dyspraxia - difficulty making the sounds for clarity of speech
HOW IS DYSPRAXIA DIAGNOSED?
If you think your child may have Dyspraxia, speak to your child's GP, class teacher or SENCo. They may suggest that you start to record how your child manages daily activities and they may do the same in school. School may refer to a specialist teacher for support and may refer to a medical professional for an exploration of needs.
If your child is referred to a medical professional, there may be further exploration as Dyspraxia can occur with other conditions such as ADHD, language disorders and some others. A diagnostic assessment shod be conducted to see if Dyspraxia is the correct explanation.
A diagnostic assessment may include:
looking at information (including developmental) from home, school and the child / young person
an assessment of movement
an assessment to rule out any other conditions
HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT DYSPRAXIA?
Click here and here for further information.
HOW CAN I HELP IN SCHOOL?
See below for some ideas for support in school
Difficulties with handwriting
Ensure typing skills are accurate and efficient
Allow access to a laptop/computer for extended pieces of writing.
Allow additional time for the student to process information
Use pen/cil grips
Use writing slopes
Guided handwriting paper can sometimes be useful
Eye to hand coordination difficulties
Practice gross motor skills whenever possible
Provide activities for fine motor skills such as picking up grains of rice; modelling clay / icing etc
Ensure that the CYP is able to cross the midline - if they are not able to, give strategies to encourage practice in this area
Provide larger spaced lines for writing
Encourage the CYP to slow down when engaging fine motor skills
To improve large muscle movements in the earlier years, provide balance or wobble boards, walking on the line activities, and hand-to-hand throwing using beanbags or water filled balloons. Make these ‘fun’ activities with supportive peers if the student feels in any way embarrassed
If dressing / changing is a difficulty, allow loose fitting / easy on off clothing such as pull up trousers and velcro fastenings on shoes to reduce frustration and embarrassment
Can voice ideas, but have difficulty transferring to paper.
Break down work tasks into smaller, more manageable sections
Talk through each one in turn to reinforce expectation
Consider the use of a 'talking button' or similar recording device
Provide frames for organisation
Struggles with the classroom environment
Avoid fluorescent lights
Do not use moving displays and keep displays off the ceiling
Keep wall displays to a minimum
Keep the classroom uncluttered
Warn the CYP if furniture arrangements are going to change
Ensure that the CYP has access to a personalised workspace if needed
Promote a ‘no disturbance’ culture, showing genuine respect for each CYP's learning style and work space
Make use of an agreed ‘time out’ strategy if the CYP is becoming over stimulated
Reduce social demands while the CYP is engaged in the learning process
Use visual prompts for classroom routines
Keep resources in the same place and practice obtaining the correct equipment
Give explicit equipment requirements
Use prompts / sentence starters / paragraphs starters for organising writing
Use talk to text if necessary
Use visual timetables / now and next cards