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PE days and dyspraxic DD

(13 Posts)
SparklyOnTheInside Sun 21-Feb-16 12:59:08

My lovely DD is in year 7. She has DCD, SPD and some other stuff going on too.

She was diagnosed quite late in primary so has some major issues with PE as she has always been a bit "rubbish" - her words sad

Her school are aware that "ball" sports are no good for her, but the curriculum seems to be mostly football, netball, basketball etc so she is pretty miserable. Added to which the PE kit feels horrible apparently, so is an extra stressor.

The school (and my DH) are very much of the opinion that she has to do PE, it is the law and she has to suck it up.

DD is not an inactive child, she has a very physically demanding hobby and gets a lot of excercise.

Sorry for rambling on.. What I am hoping for is any help with strategies for dealing with PE days in the morning. DD is so stressed by the concept it either ends up with tears or massive tantrums.. This is half of the week!

School are no help as they can't see the problem, she is very compliant at school (just occasional tears.. And of course no good at the sports so never picked by her peers etc)

I was just hoping someone might have magic strategies for PE days?

knittingwithnettles Sun 21-Feb-16 15:37:34

For ds1 (DCD) the main thing was the other pupils "dissing" him in PE. And being made to feel he was the worst at sport. This was quite easily dealt with by making the PE teachers aware that they had to be extra supportive. And they were really, they never made gung ho comments which undermined his confidence in front of others, and they looked out for stressors - ie if he was last or dropped a ball they said something encouraging instead of negative.

PE teachers are there for everyone; their duty is to encourage those who are bad at sport as much as those who are good at it, so go into any discussions with that in mind, especially if you have a diagnosis of motor problems/balance/coordination. You might need to explain what your dd is good at too, maybe stamina, loyalty, enthusiasm, so that they can encourage her in those sports which require less team playing. Are there any adaptions to the PE uniform too? Perhaps softer socks or tracksuit bottoms instead of shorts, or leggings instead of shorts. They are meant to make "reasonable adjustments"

I'm sure I was dyspraxic at school too, certainly I was rubbish at all ball games; however dance, hurdles, long jump, gymnastics was much more fun - perhaps there will be a different set of sports in the summer term that your dd can enjoy more. Certainly she shouldn't be excused/forced out of PE.

knittingwithnettles Sun 21-Feb-16 15:42:34

The other thing is: direct input from OT. Now.This seems to be sadly lacking with a DCD diagnosis on the NHS unless you have more serious physical disabilities, but if you can manage to get some exercises or strategies from an OT (private perhaps or refer through your GP for NHS OT), you might find it made all the difference. Ds1 sadly was diagnosed so late he never had access to anything useful, and by that point (13/14) he didn't want anything to do with a therapist.

knittingwithnettles Sun 21-Feb-16 15:51:02

Another thought, is - the whistles, shouts, echoing noise of sports hall, people moving in and out of her space, could that be part of why she hates it so much - could school give her a role which is more fixed and predictable, like say a goal keeper or ...(I'm afraid I am not a sports person) I know my ds2 with ASD found he needed two years of being goalie to get used to football, and he still cannot cope with games without very clear perimeters and rules of play. I think if you explain to PE teacher it is the random nature that makes it unsettling, not knowing what is going to happen next, when someone is going to bump into you, or shout at you, whereas knowing what you have to do, and then setting your mind to it, (Like cross country running or swimming) is entirely different.

other thoughts are Judo, swimming, dance, badminton, cycling on a fixed cycle. All these my ds2 who has loads of sensory issues, enjoys at 13. Ds1 who is DCD is really only any good at long walks, badminton and tennis. I would say he has suffered at lot from lack of early intervention, having given up rugby, skiing, swimming, cycling due to various issues. And hates dancing. But he can walk for miles and enjoys it, and enjoys PE in school because I say teachers are supportive.

2boysnamedR Sun 21-Feb-16 16:12:00

I wish I knew. Ds school seemed to go through a phase of making PE hellish I'm sure to rile me. They blindfolded him and three balls at him one day ffs.

I never rose to it and the Senco is back from mat leave so it's calmed down. He does gymnastics, swimming and dance / drama outside of school in three very nurturing classes. It will be a miricle if he ever does a physical hobby as a adult.

The school he is at will never ever get him. I don't try any more. If they make him cry Dh goes in very calmly straight to the head. Dh is covered in tats so people tend to listen to him, rather than ignore me

SparklyOnTheInside Sun 21-Feb-16 17:03:03

Thanks for the replies! Good to know it's not just us.

I did have a big chat with PE teacher about DD - she is also SENCO, so in theory it should be easy.

Knitting: we've had some OT involvement, just before y7. It was lovely and very supportive but not massively practical as was in a nice quiet area without other kids/pressure/sensory stuff.

2boys: I worry that the school don't seem to "get" my DD, because she is not actively being disruptive. I sometimes feel that they think I am the problem.

I suppose it is unfair a bit on the school.. as they don't see how frustrated and distressed she is before and after school.

Not looking forward to next week!

SparklyOnTheInside Sun 21-Feb-16 17:08:24

The PE teacher told me that DD would not have to be in a team for ball sports.. She would be about to run drills etc, but DD says she is always made to play the games.

And.. Because she is a little slower changing than the others (even with the mods to her clothes) she ends up being the last to be picked.

It really makes me sad, on PE mornings she tends to be so distressed.. Saying everyone hates her and she wishes she were dead one minute, then the next absolutely Furious and raging at me!

I think I will try to talk to the school again.

knittingwithnettles Sun 21-Feb-16 17:45:48

sounds like it is not just PE but the social communication/self esteem aspect that is affecting her - being picked last, being unpopular because she is bad at it (or her perception of herself being unpopular)

Do school run any sort of social communication or nurture group outside PE itself; that would be a way to work on those issues. They should really be tackling the social communication aspect of DCD, it is not just about being physically clumsy, it is about the ability to relate to other people and understand their motives. Have the school taken this on board?

Our school had to be repeatedly reminded that ds1 had issues with self esteem and communication with his peers, although he was not ASD, and that was all part and parcel of his DCD diagnosis. It was not just about physical clumsiness.

Ineedmorepatience Sun 21-Feb-16 19:55:22

PE was actually one of our only success stories at secondary! Dd3 was put in the bottom set with a motely crew of awesome kids with Asd, dyspraxia and various other issues! It wasnt inclusion in the purest sense of the word but these kids wouldnt have stood a chance in the mainstream PE groups!

Dd3 actually came home one day and said PE was great! Which was unheard of!

Maybe you should speak to the senco and ask if there is anything similar at your Dd's school!

Good luck flowers

SparklyOnTheInside Mon 22-Feb-16 17:12:35

Sorry! Was offline for a bit, no internet on my phone blush

knitting : yes, I think you've hit the nail on the head about the social aspects of DCD. I don't think the school know much about it - they only seem to recognise the handwriting and PE ramifications. i will have another go.

Ineedmore : that would be ideal! At the moment they are not "set" for PE, they do it in their Houses.. So you get the seriously sporty kids all mixed up with everyone else. I shall suggest it though for the future. Sounds like an awesome idea.

One of the problems I have is that I work as a TA/LSA and have a lot of experience with additional needs (mostly ASD). So I think I have annoyed the SENCO a bit by not necessarily agreeing to everything she says about DD. I did try to explain that SPD symptoms affect DD as much as they do other children even though she does not have ASD but this didn't go down too well!

The school is new, so hopefully if I keep plugging away this will help a bit.

Earlyday Mon 22-Feb-16 21:06:18

I don't think your DD should have to do sports which are beyond her and which she doesn't enjoy. What's the point - it probably makes her unhappy

Not everyone is good at sports or art or maths. It is worth trying and making some effort but if someone is never really going to be able for to then there's no point at all pushing it. I loved sports as a child but never play sport now - it makes no difference. I get exercise by going for walks and I have other interests.

My DS is 6 and has HFA with motor problems. He will never be good at sport but is getting help from a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist which should hopefully make him at least just about able to manage some football. I'm not pushing him at all towards sport as he doesn't like it as his body is not able for it. He has other interests to keep him busy. I hope when he's in school he's not forced to do team sports if he doesn't want to because he wouldn't enjoy it and I'd also worry about the other boys making fun of him.

SparklyOnTheInside Mon 22-Feb-16 21:25:18

We try find things that DD is more comfortable with, team games are no good at all but solo physical things can work quite well. Especially if she has time and space to work out what her body is doing.

It would be brilliant if the PE curriculum could be more flexible.

elliejjtiny Wed 24-Feb-16 14:31:24

I have dyspraxia and my boys are all unco-ordinated for various reasons.

Are there any groups for children with SEN in your area. I take my older 3 boys to one and it really helps their self esteem to do things like play football with children who are just as likely to fall over or walk into the goal posts as they are. I have fond memories of a similar group when I was about 8, run by a physio. I remember there was a lot of times when the physio told us all to jump to the left and we all crashed into each other as we jumped in different directions! I know it doesn't help with school PE but it might help to know that she isn't the only one who struggles with PE. I last went to those sessions over 20 years ago now and I still remember how positive they made me feel so they must have done some good.

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