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Poss Dyspraxia. Do we need a diagnosis? Advice welcomed.

(19 Posts)
MsMommy Wed 28-Nov-12 21:29:08

So, I'm wondering whether my 8yo daughter might have mild dyspraxia.
When she was younger she would fall over nothing all the time, and although she falls over a lot less now, she is still quite awkward with her limbs and often bumps into things, or does weird movements that can send her legs flying. But then again she is a good dancer. She does tap, ballet and modern and was recently selected to represent the dance school in a competition as part of a troupe. She is also a good swimmer performing above her age, and also does well running and cycling.
On the other hand she has the worst memory in the world. Like goldfish bad. I will send her off to do a couple of tasks and she will come back ten minutes later having been distracted the moment she left the room and completely forgotten to do them. She does it all the time. And really basic things that are part of her everyday routine she will forget to do. In the mornings I have to constantly remind her to bring her book bag, or to pack it and so on. One day this week she forgot to order her lunch at school - which she does every day - and then had to eat a weird mix of what was leftover.
But on the other hand she can do quite good maths and sums in her head. She has good maths and literacy skills and is performing nearly two years ahead of target. She is better than me at doing mental arithmetic and plays maths games with her dad halving and quartering numbers he challenges her with. She can read well and has no problem with pronunciation but her handwriting is quite poor. She can write much better if she takes her time.
Her planning skills are not great and she sets ridiculously high standards for herself and then gets hugely frustrated when she doesn't attain them. She's a bit of a perfectionist and will dissolve into tears if she feels she's let herself down. She is struggling with anger and frustration quite a lot at the moment.
She is quite clumsy and will regularly send drinks flying.
She struggles terribly to switch her head off at night and will often take a long time to get to sleep.
So I am not sure what's going on here. She has quite a lot of the 'symptoms' of dyspraxia, but then also many of the symptoms that are classic dyspraxia she does not display at all.
When I express my frustration at her poor memory for example she will get really upset and say 'what's wrong with me mummy?' which is what has led me to research and brought me to the dyspraxia suggestion.
But maybe she is just a bit clumsy and forgetful and this is just in her nature and she is being a fairly normal 8 yr old.
My OH thinks this is the case and that we don't need to get her tested and that it is better just to lighten up on her clumsiness and forgetfulness and help her find ways to manage it and that if she were to get a diagnosis it would just be a label that could set her back.
I spoke with my daughter about the pros and cons of going to see the doctor and she decided she would prefer not to and would instead like to find ways of managing her symptoms like using a notebook to help her memory.
I'm wondering if a diagnosis would help her feel that these things are something she can't help, that there isn't anything wrong with her but that it is the syndrome. And I also think it might help me and my OH to ease up on some of the more annoying facets of her behaviour. But for now I'm happy to accept her preference not to get tested.
I'm hoping that someone might be able to say, no, there's nothing wrong with your daughter, she's just an average 8 yr old, or if someone whose child does have dyspraxia can tell me whether they think she is showing enough of the symptoms to suggest she might have it to some degree and even if she does, would a diagnosis gain us anything?

anothercuppaplease Thu 29-Nov-12 12:08:20

Dyspraxia has many symptoms, and some children will tick all the boxes and others will tick only a few.

Would it be possible to talk to the school and see if they could have an occupational therapist to check her? I know DS was checked by a pedeatrician and also by an occupational therapist.

I don't think that memory has anything to do with dyspraxia, however sequencing does. I think I read somewhere that children with dyspraxia may have problem with putting things in order in time, sequencing stories, predicting what will happen next.

Usually children with dyspraxia have problems with balance and coordination, those are the main symptoms. Also problems with speech sometimes.

swanthingafteranother Thu 29-Nov-12 13:10:45

As a mother of an undiagnosed but possibly dyspraxic 12 year old son, I would get her diagnosed! He is very happy go lucky though, I have never felt perfectionism was part of the dyspraxic profile in his case, as he was much too careless.

I probably had dyspraxia, and yet I absolutely loved dancing, and was good at all the things you describe, highly academic, but nevetheless there remains this problem with sequencing/organisation/motor skills that does cause significant difficulties later (at least it did with me). My mum wrote a poem about me aged about 11 which sums it up "Angel child or silly clot! (it was a joke)" shockgrin I think that is how she felt, frustrated at my clumsiness, and yet impressed by all my other talents!
If your child is bright, it can mask the difficulties.

I would say the most significant thing is that your daughter feels frustrated. By something, her own skills, your judgements, school, something. Worth seeing the doctor just to discuss that issue alone: is she stressed by too much pressure on her, too many after school activities, too much homework - if she is a natural worrier, maybe the problem lies in just taking a bit of time to get her to slow down and realise she doesn't have to be perfect, and enjoy things that aren't being judged in any way, reading to herself, playing that sort of thing..

I found I gained a lot of confidence doing craft, sewing and other slow stuff that wasn't competitive, rowing, climbing, walking, singing etc. I suppose a sort of poor man's OT..

Also worth going to Dr just to check anything untoward with the physical symptoms you have described, just to set your mind at rest that there isn't a PHYSICAL cause..the dyspraxia thing might not the real reason she is tripping up etc.

anothercuppaplease Thu 29-Nov-12 16:18:36

Just curious, has she been checked for hypermobility? Is she very flexible? That can sometimes cause clumsiness. DS has hypermibility, hypotonia (low muscle tone) and dyspraxia, but he can swim, ride a bike, has excellent balance. Starting karate soon and hopefully it will help with remembering series of movements. He's only little (5 years old) and his main issue is speech.

MsMommy Thu 29-Nov-12 17:12:41

Thank you all so much for your replies.
I keep swinging to both sides. Sometimes I think she has enough of the symptoms it might be worth getting checked and then I think she has so few of the key symptoms that we should just manage the forgetfulness. Poor memory and being overly emotional are also symptoms of tiredness and with her sleep issues she is tired quite often.
I have also considered hypermobility but not had her tested for that either. I have the worst ankles and knees and when I was a kid it was a family joke how much I fell over, which I think could be down to hypermobility, and she would appear to have inherited that. But I got - slightly - more stable on my feet, and she is getting better at that too, so again I'd left it. I know someone with quite severe hypermobility and she has needed special treatments including special boots and things to help with balance and strengthening muscles and stuff and I don't think my daughter needs that.
She wouldn't appear to have much problem with sequencing. She can read and understand and recall stories well, and she has a good imagination for making up stories which seem to follow a logical sequence. I can't point to any fine motor skills issues either. She is ok at catching and can do buttons and tie laces.
So maybe I am adding two and two and getting five. I don't know. I hate stuff like this. Bloody kids. It's so hard to know what to do that's best for them.

swanthingafteranother Thu 29-Nov-12 17:50:48

nothing to add, except the child I know with hypermobility finds sleep very hard, as his bones ache after a day of running around. Parents had tremendous problems with his sleep patterns. My son and I have no sleep issues at all, so for us not part of the profile. Sleep issues sound like a very plausible explanation for a lot of the stuff to do with memory, planning, stress.
Take her to the GP!

MsMommy Thu 29-Nov-12 21:11:46

Thank you.
We now have a morning checklist and this evening we tried a notepad to list the three chores I needed her to do and she went straight up and did them and ticked them off and came back down and showed me the list. She seemed to enjoy the responsibility and of course was happier that she'd done the jobs quickly and hadn't got nagged for getting sidetracked. So maybe we'll see how that goes for a while and ease up on some of her clumsy tendencies.

laozi Fri 30-Nov-12 21:13:48

Hi MsMommy, this has been our experience, hope it helps:

My DS was diagnosed earlier this year, and it's been very positive for him and us. Before his diagnosis, he was in all the bottom groups in his class, and his own self-esteem was poor. Now he's been diagnosed and school understands better what's going on with him, he's moving up in the class, he's allowed to type instead of hand write, and his self esteem is improving.

Having the diagnosis also means we understand we need to be more patient about certain things he genuinely finds hard, when it can look like he's just not trying, for example he still can't eat with a knife and fork. It's tempting to hassle him about this, but we know now that we've got to give him more time.

No child will tick all the boxes for symptoms and some of the things you describe do sound like they could be dyspraxia. My DS also struggles to retain a list of instructions in his head, and his teachers give him a written to-do list for independent tasks, otherwise he never finishes. Dyspraxia varies massively from one child to another, so I'd say there's enough going on with your DD for you to be worried, so don't fear going for a diagnosis.

If you do, though, be prepared to insist your GP gives you a referral to a paediatrician. My GP clearly knew absolutely nothing about dyspraxia, and pretty much told me he didn't believe either dyspraxia or dyslexia were real! Fortunately he referred us anyway, but I have no idea what we'd have done if he'd refused.

MsMommy Mon 03-Dec-12 13:42:09

Thank you. I'm so glad your son is happier and getting the right approach now to make sure he does well in his endeavours.
I still can't decide really. I got a call this morning from our local arts hub telling me she's excelled at her recorder lessons, far beyond all the other children and the teacher has made special arrangements with the school for her to have one to one tutoring. That doesn't sound like a child who struggles with motor control or ordered thinking.
So I think we will compensate for her dodgy memory, try to ensure she does better sleeping, and try to lay off the nagging and help boost her self esteem if we can, and see if that helps.
If some of the issues persist and make her unhappy then we can revisit.
Thanks again. smile

swanthingafteranother Mon 10-Dec-12 22:11:39

We are referring ds1 for dyspraxia, yet he is very good at the violin - which seems at odd with the rest of his fine motor skills. Sometimes music can order the brain in a way that is surprising.

laozi Mon 10-Dec-12 23:53:42

Hello again,

That's great about the recorder lessons going so well!

I've just thought of something I found out from my ds1's paediatrician, which might be useful to anyone wondering if their child might have dyspraxia:

A key part of diagnosing my ds was the Fogg test. Essentially, if asked to walk on his heels, or on the sides of his feet, his hands will mirror what his feet are doing. So when he walked on his heels, his arms were stiff by his sides, he held his hands palms-down, with the heel of the hands lower than the fingers. When walking on the outer edge of his feet, his palms turned slightly inwards towards his body. Essentially, he put his hands into the same sort of position as his feet. Tbh, it was quite funny to watch! It's not going to give you a very clear-cut dx on its own, but it might be worth asking your dc to do the 'silly walk', without letting on what you're looking for, and just watch those hands.

ballroomblitz Tue 11-Dec-12 00:05:53

We are in the middle of getting ds assessed. He has been assessed by physio who brought up the possibility of dyspraxia and has referred onto OT and then we've to have a paedatrician appointment if OT supports he may have it.

Personally I would like to know, simply for the fact there may be ways for me to help him or get him support in the future if he has it.

MaggieMaggieMaggieMcGill Tue 11-Dec-12 00:12:44

As a sufferer of dyspraxia who was at school before the rotund looking out for these sorts of things, I would say get a diagnosis. I struggled for years and when I finally got the diagnosis at around fifteen, it was already too late for me, my desire to do well academically had gone.

notnagging Tue 11-Dec-12 01:05:22

My son is diagnosed dyspraxic and it hasn't made that much difference in terms of school support. It's one of those sen conditions that are seen as silent & I have really had to fight. Symptoms are not always obvious. Look at the dyspraxia foundation, they have a group on Facebook. I have done alot of things that seem to help such as changing his diet & getting him to do more coordination exercise like trampolining & riding his bike. There is a book called is that my child which has alot of useful information. Sequencing has worked the best for me but he can be very frustrating at times! We just try and make him feel as confident as possible. Your daughter does sound very similar.

Ani123 Mon 31-Dec-12 15:43:32

Regarding dyspraxia - if you think your child is dyspraxic, you can have him or her assessed by a specialist teacher - list from Patoss or Dyslexia Action - if the test results reveal enough evidence you can get child/student extra time for GCSEs, GCEs and can be used as evidence for DSA allowance if going to university. A specialist teacher can award extra time for exams but the school/college has final decision.
Please note specialist teachers have only been allowed to assess dyspraxia for the educational arena for the past few months - they are cheaper than Educational Psychologists too.
Good luck.

tacal Mon 31-Dec-12 16:17:35

Hi MsMommy, I am really glad you have asked about dyspraxia because I have been wondering recently if my 4 year old ds could have dyspraxia. The replies to your post have been very helpful for me. I think I will make an appointment at my gp to discuss my ds. Otherwise I will always be worrying about it. DS is very slow at learning physical things like riding a bike and swimming. He had a balance bike for a year but could not ride it. He just kept saying mummy I can't do it. He also stays away from jigsaws, lego anything like that and also drawing/arts and crafts. He is not very good at holding a pencil and can go between right and left hand. I think it is possible he could be a late/slow developer but I am worried he will get left behind when he starts school if he does have dyspraxia but no dx. I hope everything works out ok for your ds.

MsMommy Mon 20-May-13 14:56:07

Thank you to the people who continued to reply on this thread. I'm glad it's helped some of you.
Just to update, we haven't sought a diagnosis and she continues to be clumsy and forgetful and struggles to sleep but has been less frustrated and is still thriving in all her activities so I think we're ok for now. Best of luck to you all.

twobluesandapink Mon 20-May-13 15:06:30

Hi there MsMommy, Ive sent you a pm. I have a daughter with dyspraxia who's nearly 8 and, well, reading your post was like read my diary! So yes I do believe your daughter has this too and think that a diagnosis is essential to her education both bow and for her future. I have a dyspraxic son and I chose to be guided by the OH and altho he got help via laptops in secondary school he left looking and feeling a failure sad I wasnt getting caught up in the lets not make a fuss style again! So this time im not quiet, yes I fight, yes im still fighting, as her school head is 100% sure dyspraxia has nothing to do with 'them' ie nothing sen could help with even if she could 'see' a need grr But after getting parent partnership in on just one meeting they had the school doing gym trail, one to one, memory games, extra reading etc (head put the kybosh on them attending with me again!) its all stopped now as I have no one to go to the meetings with, Im disabled myself and she makes my life hell and her answer to all this? Well, if you dont like it, take her out! all in private of course lol Funny thing is the school is meters away and has gone from a roll call of over 900 to under 300 in the 6 years shes been head smile sadly no one seems to put 2 and 2 together as most do just leave but makes you think doesnt it ;) Sorry, just realised I got all ranty about our sch and went off track, sorry sad xxx Hope you choose the right choice for your family and things work out for you all xxx

MsMommy Mon 20-May-13 19:37:47

Yes I got your message, many thanks for that. I really appreciate your insight and taking the time to write to me.
I'm sorry to hear about the struggles you've had. It sounds nightmarish. Well done for keeping up the fight in spite of everything. The kids are lucky to have you on their side.
I have had another look at the dyspraxia symptoms and I am unconvinced that my daughter has it. She is doing great academically. As an 8 yr old she has a reading age of 11 and a half and is advanced in maths too.
So she is clumsy and forgetful but unless anything more serious reveals itself I think I will just continue as we are.
Thank you and best of luck with everything. Thanks again for your thoughts, I'm very grateful.

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