Dyspraxia is also known as Development Coordination Disorder (DCD), which gives you a clue as to what dyspraxia is.
Put simply, dyspraxia is when the messages from the brain don’t reach the body’s muscles, or they reach them in a wiggly way, resulting in uncoordinated movements. This becomes most apparent when a child tries to write or participate in sports.
If you want to find out more about how the brain of the dyspraxic child works then click here.
More Than Being Clumsy and Uncoordinated
Dyspraxia also used to be known as Clumsy Child Syndrome, which is another one of dyspraxia’s least helpful symptoms: a child with dyspraxia is clumsy, and will fall over, trip, and spill drinks more than other children their age.
This is a simple definition though; there is a lot more to dyspraxia than motor coordination; sequencing, managing their school bag, and struggling at maths are all examples of where dyspraxia makes life more difficult for a child at school. It’s all related to the ordering of things in the brain–the messages just get scrambled and don’t work in an ordered way.
There are good symptoms of dyspraxia too such as having a good imagination, being flexible, being good at reading, and having a great sense of humour. We’ve written a more comprehensive list of dyspraxia symptoms (the good and the less good), which you can find by clicking here.
What Does Dyspraxia Mean?
A simple dyspraxia definition is that ‘dys’ means ‘impaired’ and ‘praxia’ means ‘action’.
So the meaning of dyspraxia is literally impaired action.
There is no cure or miracle treatment for dyspraxia, but kids who have the condition can benefit from hands-on and visual learning techniques, and lots and lots and lots of practice.
The more times they practice a task, the stronger the connection between the brain cells becomes, making it a smoother path each time. You have to teach the cells the path they need to travel rather than it being something that comes naturally. Kids with dyspraxia will take longer to complete certain tasks than other children because of this, but they get there in the end with good support.
The standard dyspraxia treatment is broken down into the areas the child needs help in the most. Usually, a child with dyspraxia would be referred to an Occupational Therapist and sometimes a Physiotherapist. These sessions are usually fun and you may be given exercises to try at home, or get advice on any equipment that might help your child: a peanut ball to work on core muscles, a writing slope and pencil grips to help with handwriting are just a few examples.
At school, a dyspraxic kid often benefits from one-to-one support from a teaching assistant, or by working in small groups. Tasks need to be broken down into smaller steps and often written down as a visual aid.
Working with computers is another of a dyspraxic child’s strengths and using one to type up their work, instead of struggling to write, can often make a world of difference. More often than not, they have the ideas but struggle to get them down on paper.
There are a number of successful and famous people who are members of the dyspraxia club and it certainly never held them back. Albert Einstein, Florence Welch, Daniel Radcliffe, Cara Delevingne, and David Bailey are all A1 examples of being determined and fantastic dyspraxics 🙂 You can find out about more famous dyspraxics here.
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