Dsd shows pretty much every sign of dyspraxia, what to do next?

(19 Posts)
CarolineKlage Wed 24-Jul-13 11:19:26

Both of my sons are dyspraxic and this was confirmed by an educational psychologist who I instructed on a private basis. My understanding is that some specialist paediatric OTs are also able to assess children for dyspraxia. I felt the diagnosis given by the EP for both boys was reliable because the EP observed them over a long period in different situations eg during PE and also in lessons. He then carried out appropriate tests on a one to one basis. My husband and I and the boys’ teachers also had to fill in questionnaires about their behaviour. I also obtained reports from a paediatric OT who was able to provide practical suggestions. Both reports were instrumental in helping other healthcare professionals and the school to understand the problems and issues the boys face and to adopt strategies to help and support them. We are fortunate that both boys are at a very supportive mainstream school with a fantastic SENCo and school nurse. It was the latter who referred both boys to the local Child Development Team. Both boys regularly have sensory integration therapy with a paediatric OT (privately funded) which has numerous benefits, to include improving core strength, coordination and spatial awareness. The local authority also runs an excellent 6 session course for dyspraxic children which my eldest son and I attended. Meal times are fine – there is some excellent cutlery available with special indentations in the handles which really helps.
My experience of dyspraxia is that it is widely misunderstood. Many people seem to think it just affects coordination, but it can also impact on information processing so children find it very hard to follow instructions addressed to a large group ie an entire class of 30 children so instructions really need to be broken down and be given to the child one to one or in a smaller group. I often find that when my boys have not understood instructions properly, they will play up to try to mask this. There are often sensory sensitivities and difficulties with concentration. Any homework has to be broken down into small chunks and we always try to ensure there is lots of physical activity beforehand because this seems to aid concentration and make the boys less fidgety. Both boys attend swimming lessons with a swimming school where classes are limited to four and my oldest son is making excellent progress, having recently swam 25 metres.

grants1000 Wed 17-Jul-13 10:01:31

Sorry not LEA, local eduction authority, I meant local health authorty, referred via GP to local hospital OT dept.

grants1000 Wed 17-Jul-13 10:00:25

Yes take her to the GP ASAP, they can refer you to an occupational therapist, DS1 now 11, went on a 12 week course for dyspraxic children with the local LEA. He was fully assessed and given specific areas to work with.

His school followed this programme with their dyspraxic children every week twice a week for 15 mns and it definitely helped. You can buy it and do it at home so you could do this to try and help.

http://www.mentisxl.org/mportwood.asp

How about getting her into cooking with you? Making good stuff as well as bad, to encourage her to make good choices.

Horse riding is also a great all round exercise, althought it can be expensive.

3rdnparty Tue 09-Jul-13 17:21:02

we were lucky with ds yr2 teacher she would not let him say I can't ....and he listened more to her than us so i just say well what would ms xxx say?? can't her dad talk to the school a change of year could be a good time? I always brief ds new teacher

wrinklyraisin Tue 09-Jul-13 14:39:37

Oops... In many areas.

We try to encourage and praise any effort she makes at overcoming her challenges. We focus on what she's good at and ensure she has resources on hand to expand those skills.

However, her poor diet is leading to her becoming overweight, and she prefers very sedentary activities so she's quite unfit. I think this will lead to even poorer self esteem down the road, it has started already. I'd like her to be enrolled in swim classes or something like that to get her fitter AND help with what is probably dyspraxia. But her mum won't invest time/money/effort and her dad only has limited times with her and the swim classes aren't on "his" days all the time. He's keen to do whatever he can to improve her life but it's hard for him as the non resident parent! It's so unfair. We want to do so much yet I have ZERO influence or voice in this. Yet I'm more invested in trying to help this child! Frustrating.

wrinklyraisin Tue 09-Jul-13 14:32:42

I'm so glad you mentioned risk averse... That's another big thing with my dsd. She won't jump off things, she's "too scared" to use a slide, she only just learned to use a swing when she was 7.5, she is very vocal about anything new and won't try it. She also says "I'm not good at..." Whatever we ask her (or she needs) to do and uses that to try and get out of actually doing it. Yet she's a genius on her Nintendo ds, she also makes awesome little music videos on her iPhone and writes (types) very good plays with her cousins (who are only a year or two older but seem WAY more advanced in m

3rdnparty Tue 09-Jul-13 12:19:24

agree with copthall without mums support its going to be difficult esp diet there is a book for Tinsley house or search on mn there are a few threads- basically protein led healthy diet plus supplements including fish oil -and specific exercises... you can get the books on amazon to start

http://tinsleyhouseclinic.co.uk/books/the-brain-food-plan/

ds not dyslexic in standard sense but def dyspraxic is just learning to swim after 4 yrs of lessons as have found an excellent teacher and pay more for v small group in warmer pool...he learnt to ride a bike at 6 so not bad, as his balance ok but v physically risk averse and couldn't hop til he was 5-
maybe an OT assessment is a good place to start..

and requires a lot of confidence building to do anything he finds hard needs structured instructions frequently repeated as well .
with diagnosis gets extra time in assessments and his ta scribed for him as
the ed psych at 7 said his reading age 9.5 and spatial/physical age 5.5 so difference huge - suggested voice activated software (dragon) which is not
much use in primary school... we are slowly getting him to learn to type-
using dancemat on the bbc website...

life is just a bit harder and he has to try harder than others ....but in lieu has an amazing imagination and ability to play - so loves drama -look for her strengths and build them as much as focus on weaknesses- I spend a chunk of time with him talking about how people are good at different things...hth

Copthallresident Mon 08-Jul-13 15:25:07

wrinkly That is where an Ed Psych assessment can help since you get scores for ability, attainment, working memory and processing as well as tests of organisation and sequencing. It is the big gap between her ability and the other scores that defines her Learning Difficulties, it tells you what you are up against and what they should achieve. My DD sat GCSEs last year and with extra time achieved something approaching what she should as a result of her ability but only with a lot of support and the development of coping strategies . The problem is that they have to be more motivated than a child who doesn't face these difficulties so you may face an uphill struggle to help if her Mum doesn't cooperate.

wrinklyraisin Mon 08-Jul-13 15:11:58

I totally know what you mean about literacy/writing being far below her actual capabilities. My dsd is extremely smart. But her "can't be bothered" attitude hides an actual inability to write well and fully comprehend what's required of her. She throws tantrums over Maths particular as she insists she can't do it, and we are so mean and must really hate her, to make her do it. When in reality she CAN do it, with a fair amount of cajoling and explaining and one on one time/effort. She meets the (very low IMO) standards at her school to not need extra help. She CAN do the work she just needs a few extra steps taught to her to get her there iykwim?

Copthallresident Mon 08-Jul-13 15:04:05

Wrinkly Yes I recognise some of the issues, the awkward running style, tiredness after physical exercise and the school day, social awkwardness. She is actually a good swimmer, because of her build, long legs and arms, big hands and feet, and even sort of held her own in the dancing on the back row of her theatre group (I actually think that the swimming and dancing, and before we even knew, Ice Skating shock have helped her with her gross motor control, although perhaps a catalogue of broken bones and injuries say differently). Having overcome her literacy problems, or rather we have got them to, and maintained them at average level which is a long way from what they should be given her ability, it mainly affects her in terms of a writing speed in the bottom tenth percentile ie worse than 90% of the population, and organisation combined with the dyslexic problems she has with processing and working memory. If I did not support her I seriously think she would have to be rescued by the Fire Brigade from a room filled with sheets of paper. This is a good outline of the symptoms of Dyspraxia www.equality.leeds.ac.uk/disabled-students/disability/students-with-dyspraxia/ I'm not sure about the spoilt brat behaviour, it had never occurred to me that DDs teenage sense of entitlement is anything but a teenage sense of entitlement!

wrinklyraisin Mon 08-Jul-13 14:27:27

3rdnparty her diet is appalling lol... At her moms she eats fatty salty junk and ice cream and cookies all the time. It's infuriating as her mom doesn't even try to get good food in her, as it causes tantrums. I try to feed her more healthy things. It's taken a while bit she will now eat a few spoons of a vegetable, plus a fruit smoothie, with most meals. I would love to know more about the Tinsley diet? We've started her on a good multivitamin and a fiber supplement as she wasn't eating anywhere near enough fiber and would go 6-9 days without pooping. I'd like to get her on fish oil supplements but her mother doesn't follow our requests as it is. Frustrating.

Thanks again for all your tips. I'll recommend that my OH takes her to the dr.

wrinklyraisin Mon 08-Jul-13 14:18:13

Do the things I've mentioned seen familiar to those of you with dyspraxic children? The thing is her parents are so used to her behavior that it's "normal" to them. I'm more objective and have also worked with children for over 15yrs... I'd ask a parent to get a 6yr old assessed for dyspraxia with these signs never mind a 9yr old.

Copthallresident Mon 08-Jul-13 10:41:08

Ripping We took DD to an Ed Psych age 8 because she had had early intervention to help her with literacy skills aged 6 and we wanted to confirm her SEN teachers suspicions that she was dyslexic and gain advice on coping strategies. An Ed Psych picked up that she also had symptoms of dyspraxia, and tested her to confirm that. That has enabled us to work with the school to support her and to put into effect strategies at home to support her as well, especially in terms of her organisational skills. She is 17 now and actually I think the main benefit of knowing she is Dyspraxic is that the awareness has enabled her to develop coping strategies. The GP has only been involved in so much as it was a contributory factor in a broken arm but accepted the Ed Psych diagnosis. We are due another assessment ahead of uni to determine what equipment and support she will need there. The Ed Psych route to a diagnosis has worked fine for us.

RippingYarns Mon 08-Jul-13 09:40:39

My point was about who makes the diagnosis, not the condition, Cop

Copthallresident Mon 08-Jul-13 09:38:27

Ripping My DD is Dyspraxic and Dyslexic, the first diagnosis followed the second.

3rdnparty Mon 08-Jul-13 09:20:13

we went to an occupational therapist for diagnoses- not sure how it works in the us but got a referral from our gp, with a letter from school to support.. helped with getting extra (but not a lot) support from school - only got ed psych later - as they can't diagnose but can pick up other things and give (rubbish imho) strategies to help in school..

hows her diet? we are following tinsley house programme which seems to be having benefits on ds co-ordination...

RippingYarns Mon 08-Jul-13 09:19:13

I don't think an Ed Psych can diagnose anything, can they?

They are education <coughs> experts.

I'm in UK too and would recommend GP as first point of call

Copthallresident Mon 08-Jul-13 09:15:02

The first step in the UK would be to get an assessment with an Educational Psychologist to confirm a diagnosis.

wrinklyraisin Fri 05-Jul-13 18:42:08

My 9yr old dsd has, over the last 3yrs, displayed more and more signs of dyspraxia. Some examples of her behavior:
- cant swim or ride a bike, runs with a clumsy gait, has huge issues walking up/down stairs, gets tired easily (gets labeled as being lazy), always has a sore throat or stomach or headache, can't eat with cutlery, is very immature in her writing/drawing (yet is an expert on the wii or her ds), over emotional and throws tantrums over silly things, general immaturity, very demanding/selfish (I want it now so give it to me), poor self hygiene, messy...

I could go on and on...

Her school isn't all that interested, should we see her Dr?

Also her mom isn't all that interested in there being anything wrong (ie she doesn't want to put in extra effort to help her child) with her daughter. I'm frustrated with her lack of concern. My OH is more concerned but doesn't have full custody so he can't do as much as he wants to to get some kind of diagnosis.

We are in the USA so if any one else is here and has any advice I would be really grateful! This little girl is getting labeled and treated as a lazy spoiled brat by many people and I honestly think she's dyspraxic and not a "bad child"...

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now