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4.7 y/o 'clumsy', poor fine motor skills, should I take him to the GP? I'm wondering about dyspraxia. Long, sorry.

(20 Posts)
whatinthewhatnow Thu 18-Oct-12 09:50:58

I'm hoping someone can advise me. Last night was my DS's parents' evening. He is in reception. The teacher couldn't praise him enough in terms of personality, sociability (he has made a solid group of friends) and behaviour. She said he is doing everything age appropriately in terms of his learning, but his fine motor skills need some work.

When we looked at his classwork his drawings were, well, rubbish. All the other children had made recognisable pictures, and DSs were just pages full of scribbles. He can't hold a pencil properly and sometimes swaps hands (ie he doesn't seem be left or right handed, although he favours the right). His teacher said he rarely chooses the fine motor stuff but will do puzzles (he is really good at puzzles) which I thought was fine motor but maybe not. He can write his name.

He is also very clumsy. He falls over ALL the time, at least 10 times a day I think. We have always thought this is because he never stops running around (he loves outdoors-ey things). I'm now beginning to think it's something more though. Sometimes he falls over from standing still. But, his balance is good in other respects, he can go on a balance beam and jump between posts and my furniture well. He has a good sense of danger and doesn't really like heights. It's like when he concentrates he's ok but as soon as he doesn't concentrate he starts tripping over. I have had his ears checked and they are fine.

He can't catch a ball, but he can kick it and throw it fairly well.

He can't pedal or ride a bike.

He is quite a messy eater and will often choose to eat food with his fingers.

His teacher really wasn't worried about him but I am now. Should I go to the GP, or am I being ridiculous and he is just a normal active little boy? If he is dyspraxic would he get extra help? If I take him to the GP do I rely on what they say or should he be assessed by a paediatrician?

Thanks for reading if you've got this far.

whatinthewhatnow Thu 18-Oct-12 12:00:07


coppertop Thu 18-Oct-12 12:09:27

I think I would ask the GP for a referral for an assessment, just to make sure that there are no problems.

In the meantime there are a lot of activities that you can try with him which can help with his fine motor skills. Manipulating playdough was really helpful for my own ds. Threading and lacing activities can also be good.

Pencil grips or even the triangular pencils can help him to grip a pencil more easily.

RationalBrain Thu 18-Oct-12 12:10:11

Well, you certainly aren't being ridiculous! I'm wondering similar things about dd2, but she's still only 3, so we can wait and see. No harm in going to your GP, but I wonder if the school themselves would be a better route to an assessment? Did you ask his teacher outright whether she thought it could be a concern?

coppertop Thu 18-Oct-12 12:15:00

This thread has lots of useful ideas to help with fine motor skills.

whatinthewhatnow Thu 18-Oct-12 12:55:08

rational I brought up his drawing skills and did say 'is that something to be worried about?' and she said no, different children are at different levels and we just need to help him develop his fine motor skills, but there's nothing to worry about. He has psoriasis on his fingertips so I think that may not help. She wasn't keen on the idea of pencil grips but did say she's considering getting fatter pencils for him and a couple of the others who are finding it harder.

that list of activities is really helpful, thank you so much. I think i'll work on those for a while and if it carries on then talk about a referral with the school.

RationalBrain Thu 18-Oct-12 19:20:27

It might be worth just stating it as a possibility, and giving all the other areas you think might be relevant, which the teacher won't see. It might take months before they get him assessed, so no harm raising it now. Have you still got a health visitor, they could be worth a try as well?

It sounds like you've already looked at this, but there is a useful site

maryjane57 Sun 21-Oct-12 21:27:15

Thank you I feel as though your post could've been written by me! This is actually the reason I came to this site.

I too have a 4.3yo though he's just started nursery. I was at his parent/teacher meeting at nursery on Thursday, his teacher said the exact same things as yours eg friendships, scribbles, no preferred hand, fine motor skills, clumsiness (defo), messy eater..the lot!! Only differences is that my son seems to prefer role play and has no interest in puzzles, loves his bike and plays catch.

Hows your sons speech? With mine I felt for a while he may need help his teacher agreed and is referring him for speech therapy which i'm dreading as he refuses point blank to go to places such as the doctors or dentist so I know i'll have to trick him, also she says (and I agree) that he seems to have problems understanding instructions for certain things like rules of games and things like that. sigh

whatinthewhatnow Mon 22-Oct-12 12:12:18

Hi maryjane. Well, his speech is fine in terms of vocabulary. He still has a lisp and gets his words jumbled up sometimes if he's excited or trying to tell a complicated story - they all sort of run into each other. But, from my (totally non-scientific) observations he seems pretty much like other children his age in that respect.

I'm getting him a few bits for christmas to help with fine motor skills. I don't want to overdo it, but I'm getting him an easel with a chalkboard to help with the upright stuff and an etchasketch to strengthen the muscles. I've been trying to cook stuff that he has to use a knife and fork for to encourage this, although that's proving trickier!

Interestingly when I was talking to DH about it he looked at me like I'm bonkers and just said 'but whatin, he's a 4 year old boy.'

My plan is gentle encouragement of fine motor skills, give it another term or 2 and then if he's falling behind take him to the GP.

He fell over twice on the way to school this morning. He is so used to it that he doesn't even stop talking while it happens!

Thanks again everyone.

mawbroon Mon 22-Oct-12 12:27:30

My ds1 was very similar to this when he was that age. I discovered when he was 6 that he was tongue tied and I have recently discovered that tongue tied kids often have trouble with fine motor skills, are often late walkers.

When you mentioned speech in your last post, I wondered about tongue tie. DS1 lisps and tongue thrusts. Also messy eating. Is he fussy too?

What else is going on health wise? Did you breastfeed him, or try to? That is often a big clue in identifying tt.

Dontwanttobeyourmonkeywrench Mon 22-Oct-12 12:31:48

You could be writing about my DD(5) last year. We got the SENCO to refer her and she was diagnosed with hypermobility (runs in the family) and given exercises to do to strengthen her grip etc.

She gets 1-1 attention during PE to help develop her balance and she was seen by the physio this summer. We were told that she was physically fine and was just taking a bit longer to develop these skills because of her hypermobile joints. I should point out that on the scale of hypermobility she is hardly affected. She has poor grip and balance but not to the extent that it causes great difficulty and she gets tired very easily but that is about it.

There has been a marked improvement over the past year and even though her pencil grip is terrible she has better control and can draw clear pictures and keep within the lines when colouring in. The easel is a good idea because it forces them to use their wrist properly.

unexpectediteminbaggingarea Mon 22-Oct-12 16:22:50

mawbroon yes, he was breastfed for a couple of years, but the first 6 weeks were agonising, properly, cry-at-every-feed, bleeding nipples agonising. He never lost a gram of weight though and never had to be topped up, so he was certainly getting lots of milk.

Health-wise he has always been pretty sturdy, very rarely gets coughs or colds. He caught a cold in july and it went to his chest and he had to be nebulised, but hasn't wheezed since. He has this odd psoriosis on his fingertips.

He's a fussy eater and has been since weaning but he is becoming less so. He has a tiny appetite too, although boundless energy.

I can't remember when he started walking blush but I do know that it wasn't particularly note-worthy, ie not very early and not very late. Maybe that's why I don't remember. Or I'm a rubbish mum.

I might get him some colouring books too, to help with pen control but without the stress of having to remember letters too, when holding a pen is difficult.

unexpectediteminbaggingarea Mon 22-Oct-12 16:24:48

oh, i've name changed. DH found me grin

mawbroon Mon 22-Oct-12 21:15:55

DS1 was exclusively bf with no top ups either, so it is possible with tongue tie.

info here she doesn't specifically mention links to motor skills, but see if any of the other stuff applies.

Certainly so far having mentioned all the things you have mentioned, I wouldn't rule it out!

Shaiandbump Thu 25-Oct-12 21:30:34

This original post is EXACTLY what I'm going through right now except his reception teacher says she has major concerns with the fact he has poor fine motor skills but intellectually he's brilliant she advised me To go to my GP and not to accept " he will grow out of it " as an excuse and she's ready to write a letter to my GP also. I'm so confused I wasn't expecting this review at parents evening as I had some of the same concerns in nursery and I was told not to worry about it.

Broodymomma Fri 26-Oct-12 09:35:31

My son has just went through the process aged 5. Place his hand against yours and see how far his fingers comfortably push back. The therapist done this with my son first and they went all the way back turns out he has hyper mobility and he has exactly the same issues as your son. Pm me if you want to chat.

unexpectediteminbaggingarea Fri 16-Nov-12 13:31:21

sorry, just caught up with this thread. thank you so much. broody I'm going to try that when he gets home.

simpson Fri 16-Nov-12 13:36:53

My DD is hyper mobile too ( also in reception).

My advice would be to go to the GP now as if you are referred to see an OT they may have quite a long waiting list...

DD has problems with stairs, scissors, poor pencil grip, co-ordination in general (always falling over etc) although she has improved massively lately.

She wears ankle boots to school to give her more support.

simpson Fri 16-Nov-12 13:38:34

Forgot to say the thing that really helped DD was squeezing clothes pegs every day and attaching them to card...

spidermanspiderman Fri 16-Nov-12 14:38:25

We are hopefully on the way to a diagnosis for ds who will be 5 in december. Everything takes ages to happen with appointments etc so even though they do not like to diagnose until after the age of 5 (info from the leeds consensus statement), its worthwhile getting everything started now. Oh and if your paed is anything like mine they prefer dcd to dyspraxia (i'm always being told off for saying dyspraxia by her).

With us preschool picked up on it. School are being fantastic though as he requires a lot of one to one. Ds is unable to transition from area to area in the classroom, gets lost going to the loo, cannot navigate through groups of children (he is like a pin ball bouncing off surfaces to get to where he is meant to be). Ds also has hypermobility. He does love hama beads which is fab. School have arranged specialist seating for ds and are looking at other things too like weighted blankets etc.

You mention speech, don't know if this is any help. Ds elongates words (can be really slurred) and struggles with expressive language. He is either happy or sad, this is after a lot of work, there are no other emotions apparently!

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