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I have a lovely and brilliant almost-9-year-old son who has a collection of characteristics. He's doing really well academically, but starting to get into trouble at school for being disorganised. Is this just within the range of normal or could these things be something we should be concerned about? Even if he does have some level of dyspraxia or DCD, is there any real benefit in finding out?
This is him:
Very poor balance / vertigo
(Can't/won't learn to ride a bike, struggles to walk along a low wall, clings on going up stairs)
Slightly shambling walking / running gait
Handwriting and drawing struggles
Struggles with cutlery
Struggles with sport / PE
(But can catch a ball well and has found a niche by always being the goalie in football games at school)
Seems unfit / tires easily
Struggles to recognise people out of context
Terrible personal organisation
(ALWAYS loosing and forgetting things, needs constant reminders for tasks he does every day)
Trouble recognising when he needs to go to the toilet
But having said all this, he's a fab little boy. His reading is amazing, he loves maths, science and history and he can recite huge chunks from the Lord of the Rings books and songs. Is he just a naturally clumsy, head-in-the-clouds, non-sporty type, or do we need to find him some help?
School have only ever expressed concern with his handwriting, although his current teacher (he's a very young year 4) seems to be getting frustrated with him. He's currently being kept in at lunchtimes and has to sit out swimming lessons til the end of term because he's lost his PE trainers (2nd pair this school year). He's also lost his maths book, goggles and a jumper this week...). She refused to let him have a drink of water from the cups by the tap in the classroom because he's forgotten his water bottle.
I'm usually pretty much hands-off with school and have never spoken to any of his teachers outside of parents evenings, but he gets very upset at being told off in school and I feel sorry for him.
Sorry, looooong post!
You could have described my ds there exactly!
My ds is nearly 7 and was referred by the school for suspected dyspraxia. He is currently been seen by an occupational therapist for his handwriting and organisational skills. He is on a waiting list to see a physiotherapist and psychologist. He should be diagnosed after he sees these.
I am in Ireland so I don't know the Uk system. Could your sons school not refer him for an assessment of needs or could you ask the school to do that?
Thanks for replying Jamiebravo - yes, I'm sure the school could help. I'm just not sure whether to raise it, or whether to just embrace him as he is if that makes sense? I tend to over-worry about my DC so am never sure when to act!
Thank you Theweasleytwins, do you think being diagnosed has helped you?
I would say definitely talk to your sons school and ask for a referral.
I can honestly say that the help my son has received off the occupational therapist and well as the special needs teacher in his school has been excellent. He has improved more in the last 6 months and is coming on leaps and bounds since.
I was diagnosed at 19, helped me understand why I am so different. Would have been much better to be diagnosed at a younger age
Also dyspraxia generally has something else as well- I'm dyslexic as well and visual stress syndrome
So your son probably won't just have dyspraxia
I'm terrible at explaining things so hope this makes sense
Sounds like it. Try looking at the Dyspraxia Foundation website. Sessions with ot to develop strengthening and coordination exercises plus learning support really helped ds develop coping strategies to address weaknesses such as disorganisation and confidence.
You have just described by son (almost 6) exactly. I have been convinced that he has dyspraxia but the gp says that our NHS trust don't diagnose this sort of learning disability and the school don't want to fork out for a diagnosis and all the other support that comes with it. They offer some exercises to try to help but nothing official.
A private OT could assess for Dyspraxia and Dyslexia too if that's an option.
The private assessments tend to be super thorough.
Thanks everyone. I think I might start off by emailing his teacher to see whether she notices a significant difference between him and other children in the class. Part of me thinks it's just part of a scale of 'normal' and that we can't all be good at everything; we're all different and that's a good thing. But at the same time I feel a bit sad for him at the moment.
... Argh! But then I think maybe he's just lazy and careless, and that's probably my fault!
He's currently being kept in at lunchtimes and has to sit out swimming lessons til the end of term because he's lost his PE trainers
That seems unreasonably harsh. You need to ask why he is being denied access to part of the ks2 curriculum because he lost his shoes. Would they tell him he couldn't do English because he lost his trainers or he has to sit and watch them do maths but can't join in because he lost his trainers. Unless he needs his trainers to actually swim then they are being unreasonable.
Our DD1 got a diagnosis in y11 age 15 and it really help her because she could label her difficulties which made it easier to explain why she struggled with stuff. Her difficulties became more and more pronounced during secondary.
There are OT exercises that can help, so worth a diagnosis earlier rather than later I think.
That seems unreasonably harsh.
I know, but I can't work out whether I'm just being precious about someone else getting frustrated with him!
My dd was diagnosed with dyspraxia at 6. Definitely a benefit for us and she struggles with focus and paying attention (among the other things) so it stops her being classed as the naughty one as they know she struggles with it.
I also take the view it will help in years to come - she writes slower and a diagnosis may help her get extra time etc in exams.
I suspect she may also have adhd although that crosses over with the dyspraxia so it may not be the case. At the moment they have said they don't think she has but I will keep an eye on this.
Agree, totally unacceptable to have to sit out swimming unless he either doesn't have his trunks, or he mucks about and doesn't listen. They would never make someone sit out maths or English, would they?
The stairs thing is one of the things the ot will test. My dd walked up and down one stair at a time. She could also fall over sitting down so balance was definitely off!
A fair amount of your list could point to hypermobility. Has he been assessed for that? A physio would be a good start there. I don't know much about dyspraxia, though, or any overlaps. Always possible there's more than one thing going on too.
You son sounds exactly like mine, he is 7 - he has a dyspraxia diagnosis which he was given at age 5. It is helpful in someways and I think will become more so as he gets older. Having the diagnosis doesn't reduce him to a list of symptoms or feel like weight he has to carry but it does help explain why he isn't great a respecting peoples personal space or why he isn't brilliant at sport or why he need clear instructions broken into simple stages. I have found its a helpful way to explain to school staff, leaders at other activities groups etc the ways in which my unique, wonderful , funny, bright, "extraordinary" boy may be different to the "ordinary" ones.
That said my husband is exactly the same and has managed to survive and succeed without a diagonsis.
This is a great group
You've described my daughter (8). Coincidentally, we have just come home from her assessment at the children's development centre and the Dr agreed that there are some challenges and likely has dyspraxia. She has been referred to an occupational therapist for further assessment and specific support for the school to implement.
Her teacher is very supportive and agreed with me early on in the year that she likely has dyspraxia. She made a referral around Christmas time for this assessment.
I know, the swimming thing is a weird one - it sounds like the teacher just got frustrated and handed out a punishment at random... but I am also guilty of issuing lavish punishments in the heat of the moment from time to time! It has annoyed me though - we've paid for the lessons and for all his teacher knows we might be quite happy to just keep on buying him new trainers. We're not, but she doesn't know that!
I've found all your replies really helpful and will speak to his dad about emailing his teacher.
He's fine (but noisy) on the stairs at home Toomanycats99 but very cautious with steps of any sort when we're out and about.
Is hypermobility a possibility ShovingLeopard when he seems to be particularly inflexible? As in, he has trouble getting his leg over a gate or something when other kids just hop straight over...
My dd has mild hyper mobility - if you push her index finger backwards towards the back of her hand it will go just past the 90 degree angle. Mine won't get straight up. I never noticed until it was pointed out. It's this that causes some of the writing issues I think as she doesn't have the strength.
The Dr discussed hypermobility today with DD too, she said her fingers were extremely flexible
My experience of not being diagnosed until adulthood (god knows why - it was glaring) was a lot more difficulty-strewn than my D.C. who were both diagnosed in childhood.
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