Dyspraxia is a developmental disorder of the brain in childhood causing difficulty in activities requiring coordination and movement. It is a “hidden disability” and a life long condition. People don’t “grow out” of dyspraxia, although symptoms in children and adults can lessen if they are given appropriate treatment and advice on practical actions to minimise the day- to- day difficulties that their dyspraxia can cause.
Beneath is a in depth diagram on the symptoms connected to dyspraxia.
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. There may be a range of co-occurring difficulties which can also have serious negative impacts on daily life. These include social and emotional difficulties as well as problems with time management, planning and personal organisation, and these may also affect an adult’s education or employment experiences.
Early recognition of dyspraxia enables a child’s special educational and social needs to be identified. Action can then be taken to reduce the impact of this condition on their whole family.
Dyspraxia is often spotted at a young age but there may be many adults with dyspraxia who remain undiagnosed. The main reason many people remain undiagnosed is the lack of awareness about the condition, which can be confused for other conditions, or even for “clumsiness” or “bad behaviour”. This is not correct, and we aim to offer support through the assesment process, and raise awareness about dyspraxia.
Although dyspraxia is a life long condition, there is many ways it can be managed better to make life easier.
Some self help strategies include:
- If you need a diagnosis ask your GP to refer you to an Occupational Therapist (OT) for assessment or if in education ask the disability adviser to refer you to an Educational Psychologist.
- Establish a routine for work, rest/ relaxation, eating meals and have regular sleep patterns.
- Exercise regularly – it reduces stress, increases muscletone and helps with posture.
- Eat a regular healthy balanced diet at regular times; it reduces mental fatigue.
- Take regular breaks if possible even if it is only 5 minutes as this will reduce mental fatigue and stress.
- Be aware of your rights such as the Equalities Act 2010; Part 4 – higher/ further education and part 5 – employment.
- Coloured overlays/ glasses may help to reduce mental fatigue.
- Use sticky notes and a daily planner to help with time management and organisational skills.
- Use pens with a wider body to help with grip and reduce pain in your writing hand.
- If living independently; set up direct debits to pay regular expenditure such as rent, council tax, electric, gas, water, TV licence etc.
- Identify your strengths and difficulties to maximize your career path and potential as well as where you need support.
- Access local help and support as required from councils, authorities and other services such Remploy and Disabled Employment Adviser including Access to Work.
- Speak to Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) for benefit support – Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA), Disabled Employment Allowance (DEA).
- Getting involved with our support group can have a positive effect on confidence, self – esteem and reduce social isolation.
- Be social with friends to reduce social isolation and have confidence to openly talk about DCD (Dyspraxia) as this will raise public awareness.
- Learn life skills as early as possible (cooking, ironing, shopping for food/ clothes, laundry etc) to gain confidence in your own abilities and raise self – esteem.
- Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help.
Fantastic Dyspraxic website offers a lot of tools to support difficulties associated with dyspraxia
DYSPRAXIA BY THE NUMBERS
- 10% of UK population are affected by Dyspraxia
- 2% of UK population are affected by severe Dyspraxia
- 1 child per classroom: specialists believe there is in average one child in every UK classroom affected by dyspraxia, including undiagnosed children.
- 4x Dyspraxia is 4 times more likely to occur in males than females
- GOOD SENSE OF HUMOR
- HARD WORKING
- GOOD LONG TERM MEMORY
- THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!
It’s also worth remembering that dyspraxia has its positives too. For example, it is said that many dyspraxics, despite struggles with their short-term memory, often have an excellent long-term memory. Kystal Bella-Shaw, ambassador for Dyspraxia Foundation, also suggested, in one of our sessions via a Skype Q&A, that dyspraxics had a better ability to ‘think outside the box’ and are also able to complete tasks at a very high standard. She claimed that this was because, in her own experience, she would allow herself the time, and make additional steps towards getting something right when taking on a new task.
A diagnostic assessment will help you learn about your condition, maybe in surprising ways. It will help you and others round you at school, university or work to understand your challenges better. In some cases having ‘reasonable adjustments’ can make all the difference between succeeding or failing at school or college; being in work and being unemployed. To make these adjustments educators and employers need to see evidence of difficulties.
Talk to you GP and Health Visitor: they can refer your child to a paediatrician or a Child Development Centre. The appropriate psychologist, physiotherapist, speech and language therapist or occupational therapist can then assess your child for dyspraxia
If you think your child has dyspraxia, check the NHS Diagnosis of Dyspraxia page for further information.
Problems experienced in childhood may continue into adulthood. Initial contact should be made with your GP who may refer you to a clinical psychologist, consultant neurologist, physiotherapist or occupational therapist.
FURTHER HELP AND LINKS
There is often associated conditions and secondary consequences connected with dyspraxia, such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), dyslexia, dsycalculia, dysgraphia and autism spectrum disorder…to name just a few. Understandably, dyspraxia can be inhibiting to social interactions and in building friendships. Through our sessions we want to break down these social barriers by empowering them through active engagement through events with the public, thereby developing their social skills and boosting their self-esteem through one united goal – furthering the awareness of dyspraxia.
It is especially important for educational practitioners to be able to recognise the symptoms of dyspraxia, so they can put the right help in place. We hope, at Dyspraxia Support Teesside, that we will be able to educate more people, especially in education sector, on how they can best aid students with dyspraxia.
For more information on dyspraxia please visit:
or contact us and join one of our fortnightly sessions!