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What is dyspraxia?

(12 Posts)

It's been mentioned wrt my Ds, but I'm not bothered about getting additional Dx.

I have also just found out that a relative has been said (not sure if Dx) to have it, though it isn't a blood relative of my Ds. This relative is top of his private school in most sports but struggling academically. Can dyspraxia manifest like this?

porridgelover Sun 07-Oct-12 08:39:52

Dyspraxia (also called DCD) is a disorder of movement.

It would be quite unusual to be proficient at sports and also be Dyspraxic. Although there are people with Dyspraxia who can achieve good movement skills with lots of practice, it's usually not to the extent that they excel at sport.

There is also specific Speech Dyspraxia.

Movement problems associated with lots of other conditions (e.g. ASD) can be described as dyspraxic but its more in the adjective sense than as a separate dx IYKWIM.

Ineedalife Sun 07-Oct-12 09:31:30

It sounds to me like someone might be confusing his symptoms with dyslexia.

Ime someone with dyspraxia is unlikely to have the coordination to be top of their sport.

Although i am not an expert so who knows.

Thanks. I believe he has trouble handwriting in particular.

My ds with ASD is actually pretty average with his gross motor (but is absolutely unmotivated to practice ball skills or any sports really so actually I'm surprised he's average) and very advanced with his fine motor, so always confused as to where professionals try to point to dyspraxia.

That's why I asked here after I heard about relative, as perhaps it isn't about motor skills after all.

cornsconkers Sun 07-Oct-12 11:56:04

Dyspraxia is lack of co-ordination of thought and movement.
Which sports is he good at?

One of my ds's has dyspraxia and is above average academically, but his handwriting is very untidy and he really struggles with things like organisation, getting his work started, remembering what to do.

It's affected his attainment as teachers often assumed that he was a bit dim because of how he presented.

EmmaNess Sun 07-Oct-12 12:09:41

It is possible (but unusual) to have good co-ordiination etc and be dyspraxic; not everyone with dyspraxia has physical problems.

auntevil Sun 07-Oct-12 12:31:25

The thing with dyspraxia is learning the appropriate movement for the task - which takes a lot of repetition. Transferring that skill learnt to another situation is difficult. So in effect, you could train yourself to move in a certain way for sport, but unlike most sporty people who manage to pick up any other sport easily, a new sport would require re-training.
DS1 plays golf, football, netball and goes swimming. He manages best at golf. He is trained into where his feet go, how high his swing, which club to use for which distance (more academics than physical).
Only problem with his golf is that I have to do his trousers up and tie his shoe laces!
So star - you can be good/passable at sport and dyspraxic. Academics are wherever they were destined to be (low-high). They are also very good at avoidance techniques so as not to show up their skills, and strategies for making the best of their abilities (photographic memories, quick thinkers - slow doers!)

Penneyanne Sun 07-Oct-12 13:26:40

Same here Star .Ds has AS but its also on his report that he has probable dyspraxia.We havent followed it up as I feel there's no point really-so many of the dyspraxic symptoms overlap with the Aspergers-ds's dyspraxic traits are-handwriting problems,lack of organisation,remembering what to do and when to do it,clumsiness,lack of spatial awarenessetc,poor motor skills(ball throwing/catching etc).I will be bringing it to the attention of his new secondary school however when he starts next year as it may earn him some extra resource time etc.Use it to my advantage when I need to, iyswimwink.

moosemama Sun 07-Oct-12 13:33:21

Star, ds1 tested precisely on the cut-off point for dyspraxia when he had his OT assessment last year. The OT said that it's common for children who have ASD to have a spiky profile with regards to motor co-ordination and that it doesn't mean they actually have dyspraxia.

Ds has always been ok at doing things like beading, threading, hama beads, lego etc, but the school still reported him as having poor fine motor skills right from Nursery. They accused us of not giving him enough opportunities to practice his skills, even though his favourite pastimes at the time were play-dough, threading/lacing cards and hama beads and he would spend literally hours and hours at home doing them. He still can't ride a bike without stabilisers (he's 10) or hold his body up in the water to swim, but can go like the clappers on his scooter. He loves playing cricket and attends cricket club, but doesn't actually play very well. He has just mastered a braced headstand this week for the first time after over a year of practising.

His main problem at school though is with handwriting. He can only produce legible written work by printing very slowly, can't do cursive or joined at all and struggles to produce any quantities of work, he forms his letters correctly, but has no consistency of letter size and is unable to stay on the line - but there's more to it than just fine motor skills. The OT found he had hypotonia in his core and upper body and hypermobility in his elbow and shoulder all of which combined makes it really hard for him to sit correctly and move his arm in the right way to produce the regular flowing movements necessary for sustained writing. Both the OT and the EP also identified visual motor co-ordination problems as well, which they think is why he puts gaps in the middle of words, then no gaps between two separate word etc and will write anywhere from underneath the line to crashing into the line above rather than keeping his letters on the line.

The OT recommended that he be allowed to continue using the printing style he has already developed, rather than being forced to try and master cursive and joined-up writing, as his letter formation is correct and has been learned by lots and lots of repetition (we worked on his handwriting at home nightly until Year 4).

I recently attended a BIBIC course on handwriting problems and it was a revelation. If you get chance to go on one at all I would highly recommend it. It taught me that ds's handwriting problems are down to so many factors that at this age there is little point in keeping on pushing him through handwriting drills and extra classes. They explained that there are many layers of skills needed to create neat handwriting and if there are any problems at the foundation layers then they won't be able to build the skills necessary to achieve it. Ds has problems on every layer, right from the foundation up. He would need to start all over again with a physical therapy programme to help compensate for his physical problems, before even starting with letter formation etc, but at this age it's practically impossible for him unlearn what he already does.

Unfortunately the school simply refuse to see all the complicated reasons for his handwriting difficulties and therefore still refuse him access to a laptop or computer for classwork - even though it's in his statement that he 'will use ICT equipment, such a laptop or computer to complete longer pieces of classwork' .... but hey, that's another story.

auntevil Sun 07-Oct-12 15:57:47

What a difference a school makes moose, DS1 has handwriting issues - consistency of style and short duration - although he is truly ambidextrous and can write with both hands, so doubles up the amount he can write!
No statement, but school fully accept that he can use laptop for any extended pieces, or when he just has had enough.
They are accepting of his style, and believe it is the content of his work that is more important. Last year he would sometimes be able to do a presentation for homework rather than a long piece of written work. All of this from a teacher that judging by his end of year report, didn't truly understand dyspraxia, but at least she made an effort to go with the flow.

moosemama Sun 07-Oct-12 16:59:07

Aunt, last year's teacher was happy for him to present his homework in whatever way he felt was most effective and was keen for him to get a laptop. She even said so in her evidence for SA. He did various things last year, several powerpoint presentations, a couple of word documents and even a narrated slide-show. She was fine with him using the AlphaSmart to start with, but he hated it and also needs to be able to see more than a few lines at a time to be able to set his work out, as he flatly refuses to edit. Their class computer was on the blink much of last year, so he couldn't use that and by the end of the year she had done a complete turnaround and said he was happy to write. Turned out she told him once that they were assessing his handwriting and he said 'if you're assessing my handwriting, that means I'd better handwrite'. From then on he did write, because he thought he had to, but if you look in his books he's barely written a thing. [we need a frustrated emoticon] <bangs head on desk>

It's the SENCO that's blocking it, despite there being funds in his statement to pay for one and her having told myself and the PP rep that they have laptops for supply teachers etc, sitting around doing nothing. Unfortunately she has convinced this year's teacher that he doesn't need to word-process and he's told me that so far this year they haven't even offered him the chance to use a computer once.

They have a computer available in his class, but do their utmost to stop him accessing it. It's madness when they have all agreed that the biggest barrier to him achieving his full potential is not being able to get enough on paper to demonstrate his ability.

When I explained all this, the OT at the assessment unit referred him for a more detailed functional handwriting assessment and the SENCO wanted to wait for that to decide when/if he can use a wordprocessor in class. PP rep and I pointed out that it could be 6 months or more and that's just not good enough, so she waffled something about speaking to his teacher about when ICT access is appropriate. PP rep said to give them a fortnight to get it sorted then tell them we will deliver a laptop to the school ourselves on X date for ds to use. Thing is, they shouldn't be waiting for anything - because it's in his damn statement. [where's that frustrated emoticon again?]

Busyoldfool Sun 07-Oct-12 23:24:34

My DS is dyspraxic. It took 8 years to get dx. He does have movement problems especially handwriting which, as others have said, means he can't produce enough work or neat enough work to do well at school.

He isn't good at sport at all, (except running, although not brilliant at that), so I'd be surprised if your relative, OP, is dyspraxic as sporting excellence is v unlikely for a dyspraxic.

But the biggest difficulty DS has is processing information. Quite often he simply can't work out what's going on and this is distressing. He doesn't get jokes, he can't follow complex games, can't follow instructions especially if part is given on a worksheet, part on the whiteboard and part verbally. As a result he is extremely anxious.

He has just moved schools (Yr7) and is seriously struggling. My job now to get more involved as the school don't seem to have any idea about what he finds tough.

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