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Live webchat with child development expert Professor Amanda Kirby, Wed 12 November, 1-2pm, sponsored by Haliborange

(66 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 07-Nov-08 15:34:30

Hi, we're welcoming Professor Amanda Kirby for a webchat on Wednesday lunchtime. She's an expert in child development, with more than 35 years of specialist experience under her belt. She's written a number of books as both a parent and professional, and her team at the Dyscovery Centre Wales has an international reputation for nutritional and behavioural research.

The Dyscovery Centre is internationally recognised for its work in Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD or dyspraxia) and related specific learning difficulties. Amanda has both a professional and personal interest in DCD as her middle child has coordination difficulties, and trying to address his difficulties first sparked her interest in the area. She's currently based at the University of Wales.

She has written the Haliborange Play and Learn guide and we've asked mumsnetters to comment on the guide here. Everyone who adds their comments on the Play and Learn guide will be entered into a prize draw to win £100 of SpaceNK vouchers.

Please post any advance questions you've got for Amanda here.

Thanks, MNHQ

southeastastra Fri 07-Nov-08 15:55:12


a couple of years ago my ds(7) was referred to occuptional therapy, the OT said he has low muscle tone and flexible joints. we were then signed off the service and i thought that would be the end and he'd just catch up naturally.

he really is struggling with maths at school and they want to get him assessed by an ed psychologist and maybe get him a statement.

i know it's probably not alot to go on but do you think his problems with maths could be related to his muscle tone problems?

it's causing me so much worry but no-one seems to be able to pinpoint exactly what the trouble is, or if anything can be done to help him.

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 07-Nov-08 16:56:50


Prof Kirkby has had to change date to Wednesday (it was going to be Monday originally) so please ignore "on Monday" in OP, it's Wednesday.

lulumama Fri 07-Nov-08 21:31:53

Do you know if there is any connection between hypermobility and any other issues? DS is dyslexic and has a degree of hypermobility. He is 9, and was diagnosed a year or so ago. DD is 3, and no idea yet whether she has the same issues, but she is very bendy grin DS has been discharged from the OT though
any thoughts?

thank you smile

PillockOfTheCommunity Fri 07-Nov-08 21:54:11

Can I just point out your OP says Kirby please Geraldine. As a fellow Kirkby I get quite miffed when people do this and imagine she might too grin

moondog Fri 07-Nov-08 22:02:50

It's sponsored by a commercial company,therefore her advice is not impartial.

People need to know that.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 07-Nov-08 22:04:48

My son is severely autistic and desperately needs OT (he is very sensory seeking). There is none available locally - not even to pay for - we can get an NHS assessment (have had one) but then there's no equipment available to use.

What try to do what we can at home (trampoline, birth pool filled with balls, visit the park for swings etc) is there anything else you can suggest?

moondog Fri 07-Nov-08 22:12:24

Jimjams, I did my PG thesis on Intensive Sensory Environment (ISE) developed by an s/lt called Dr. Karen Bunning.

It is about the need for people with pmld to have deep sensory stimulation. She talked a lot about rocking and swinging in particular (ie giving this stuff to people). Not sure if her thesis published but some bits in this link


wrinklytum Fri 07-Nov-08 22:54:09

My dughter has lissencephaly,cortical band heterotopia.She is progressing very well given her dx.What role have nutritional supplements got to play in helping the child with a neurological malformation,if any?She has hypotonia,and some hyperextensible joints.TIA

TinySocks Sat 08-Nov-08 06:05:32

Hello, my son is almost 4 years old. He was born with a brain atrophy which has caused developmental delay in all areas. He is doing extremely well and has exceeded doctor’s expectations.

My big concern is his behaviour. He is starting to become more and more angry and aggressive, fists closed flapping them in my face, gritting teeth, screaming. The strange thing is that he is generally such a happy loving boy, that I don’t understand were this is coming from. He is now able to communicate with us well, so I don’t think it’s due to lack of communication.

Is there anyway in which I can help him?
Is there any literature I could read about this?
Thank you!

coppertop Sat 08-Nov-08 13:36:02

My 8yr-old has a diagnosis of autism. He gets help with his fine motor skills difficulties but not so much with his gross motor skills and general co-ordination. He is often described as "floppy" and "bendy" and has to use a wedge-shaped cushion to stop him from sliding off chairs etc. He also tires easily.

What can we do at home to help him?

Pollyanna Sat 08-Nov-08 14:05:25

my son aged 9 has a diagnosis of dyspraxia.

At the moment, the issues that are causing us the most concern are:

His behaviour - he can't control his emotions and this causes problems when he gets angry as he is violent. School are very concerned and we desperately need help teaching him to control his anger (he can't control any other emotions either - fear, humour etc, is all very exaggerated).

His handwriting - it is still absolutely appalling. He has had various sessions of OT over the years and has done the Write from the Start programme too, but this has made no difference. Apart from typing (and what would be a good programme please?) what else can we do to help him?

He has lots more problems - eating, organisation, social skills etc etc - and we are just starting to realise how much help he needs as his differences with his peer group become more apparent.

Mercy Sat 08-Nov-08 19:49:14

Hello, my ds is 4.8 and has what I can only describe as an unsual personality! (no known medical or physical issues though)

He has been a fussy eater since he was 18 months old, often refuses to acknowledge familiar adults and even peers, is aggressive, insists on inapproriate clothing (I could go on but I won't!)

I would like to know if fussy eating is an early sign of, or connected to, other behavioural/developmental issues.

lou031205 Sat 08-Nov-08 21:52:38

Hi there,

My DD is currently being assessed by the Developmental Paed, and is 2.11 (3 on 3rd Dec). He assessed her last Friday, and said that she had delays of 18 months in some areas, 12 months in others, and in a couple of areas was at age. Gross and fine motor delays, behaviour, etc. Her expressive language seems to be ahead of her understanding, but she is very good with 'factual' things like colours, etc.

How severe is this level of delay at this age? Nobody has said, and I can't find anything on the internet that states at what level "severe", "moderate" or "mild" is.

She is also seeming to be very sensory in her behaviour. What should we be doing while we wait for our SALT, Physio & OT referrals to come through?

Many thanks in advance.

TinySocks Sun 09-Nov-08 12:46:05

Hello. Could I ask another question with regards to my DS? He is almost 4 with a global developmental delay(due to brain atrophy).

I mentioned behaviour. I am also concerned about his concentration. I am aware that poor concentration is common for children with neurological problems. But how likely is it to impove with time?

I am not sure how DS will learn at school if he is unable to sit still and pay attention for some lenght of time. He needs to be highly motivated to stay focused on one task for some minutes. What are the strategies that schools are encouraged to use in these cases? (if any).

PeachyFizzesLikeADampSquibb Sun 09-Nov-08 13:32:37

Hi, I have 4 boys; the oldest has dyslexia and Aspergers which we struggle with as he is very aggressive; ds3 has delays and issues which we have been told place him on the spectrum, quite where we should find out shortly, but he is severe enough that independence isn't likely. We have just been told our ds2 has either severe dyslexia or dyspraxia but he is awaiting input from the SENCO and a SNAp assessment. Our 4th son is 7 months old, we have breastfed him and he is on a gluten and casein free diet (like ds1, ds3 and myself he is casein intol anyay). I just wondered what else would be worth a shot to help him develop as well as he can do in light of our family history?

I beleive the Dyscovery centre is quite local to us, and I have heard positive feedback.

Buckets Sun 09-Nov-08 15:44:27

Would just like to ask if you know why diagnosis for ASDs is a postcode lottery in the UK, with single health professionals making subjective judgements in some areas and whole multidisciplinary teams in others? What would be your suggestions for unifying the process up and down the country and would a Mumsnet campaign help do you think?

TotalChaos Sun 09-Nov-08 19:08:18

Have you any particular advice for improving auditory processing/comprehension in a child with language delay?

Watchtheworldcomealivetonight Mon 10-Nov-08 11:21:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 10-Nov-08 14:18:50

Here are some questions which have been posted on the other thread. Thought it made more sense to have everything on one thread.

By nolongeraworriedmummyfied

Ohhh dd has dysphraxia ,

how do i help her learn to skip and pedal a bike ect as all the other little girls at school can do it easy now but dd gets upset because she cant?

Also what effect does dysphraxia have on everyday learning, could that be why dd is bright and brilliant at most things academically but still has no number recognition?

By zoots
I've got a question for Prof Kirby - how conclusive is the research on omega 3's and how much fish would you have to eat to avoid taking supplements? We eat a ton of salmon - well, twice a week - is that enough?

Also what foods/ additives should you avoid if you're trying to help your child concentrate - a big bugbear in our house is aspartame, sorbitol - all the artificial sweeteners. I'm sure i've read that in some children Aspartame can cause behavioural problems or even cancer - yet it seems to be added to lots of "healthy" options? What's your view?

By domesticslattern

I would be interested in Amanda's views of the "Bad Science" take on fish oils. Like Nickytwotimes, it annoys me when these things are taken for granted. See link here

Back to you


mabanana Tue 11-Nov-08 10:37:07

Hi, my son has Aspergers and quite bad dyspraxia with low muscle tone - he is clever though, in the top set for maths and literacy. He is seven and has only just learned to use a scooter (one of the easy, two wheels at the front type that three year olds use). I would like him to learn to swim and I wondered if learning the piano would help him - he would love to learn to play, he tells me.
I know he wouldn't cope in a swimming class with kids his own age or really in any group setting. Do you think 1-1 lessons would be a good idea at this age or should I wait.
Re piano, do you think this is a good idea and how can I find a suitable teacher?

PeachyFizzesLikeADampSquibb Tue 11-Nov-08 11:53:52

(mabana hope you dont mind me buting in but DS1 has AS / HFA and low muscle tone esp in his wrists and violin has helped loads and its really showing with regards to his art (he got through to the finals of a contest recently) and handwriting. Also boosts his confidence loads and gives him something to be proud of, iyswim. your LEA should know of teachers, or the Head.

mabanana Tue 11-Nov-08 12:01:06

I'm grateful Peachy. I don't really - ahem - get on with the head... who could I contact at the LEA? How did you find the right teacher and how did you prepre them for your ds's quirks? (sorry if this is thread hijack)

PeachyFizzesLikeADampSquibb Tue 11-Nov-08 12:11:31

Our lea has a music dept on the website, if yours doesn't try e-mailing them? The other answer is to try a local music shop- a friend back home advertises that way, a musician with a teaching degree and a guider to boot, exactly the sort of person you'd choose, you know?

the quirks- well I just sat in on the lessons for a while then told her what his dx was- it did clarify stuff apparently but she had been focussing on the things that as doesn't always affect- precision, willingness etc and it amde for a good mix.

mabanana Tue 11-Nov-08 12:19:06

Thank you - yes there is a local music shop or two I could try.

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