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Can anyone advise me on a good assessment tool for dyspraxia that I can use?

(21 Posts)
Wherediditland Sat 02-Apr-16 08:28:25

I think DS might be dyspraxic.
School think so too but they don't want to put him forward for testing as he is doing ok at school so not much to be gained and of course it is a budget issue.

I can see their point- he is average and happy but I'd just be interested myself and then look at what I could do to help him.

He is fine academically but writing awful for his age (altho left handed) and presses very hard with the pencil so tires easily.
He is rubbish at PE and ball games and most sports tbh although very energetic and lively. Can swim but took a while and isn't a good runner. Just appears really uncoordinated.

He has no spatial awareness. Walks in front of me and trips me up if we are walking on the pavement ALL the time.
Knocks cups and plates off the table, very messy eater, took ages to use cutlery and still defaults to hands a lot despite so much prompting. Every meal he leaves a huge mess and is covered in whatever it is he is eating.
He will regularly hair wave his hands around and send things flying. I can't have any vases or picture frame within his reach as they dont survive. He doesn't seem to 'see' them rather than not being in control of his limbs tho.
Hasn't toilet trained well- still wet and soils- just seems largely unaware of it all and pretty unbothered. Getting slowly slowly better on this over time but needs daily encouragement and reminding and isn't clean more days than he is.

Can't tie laces. Takes ages getting coats and shoes on but not sure how much is actual capability and how much just not being bothered. He can dress himself after PE but often a bit slow but then he chats a lot. Can do a tie.

He is 8.

Could I do an online tool used by the professionals to get an idea? The basic ones on the dyspraxia society type pages aren't much help really.

Any other advice?

Wherediditland Sat 02-Apr-16 13:42:16


craftyoldhen Sat 02-Apr-16 13:58:16

I don't think there's any you can administer yourself iykwim. The list of symptoms of dyspraxia foundation website is probably the best you're going to get.

He will need a proper assessment by a qualified occupational therapist.

craftyoldhen Sat 02-Apr-16 14:06:26

I would also say that if you think he has dyspraxia and school thing so too, then he very probably has. And school are doing him a massive disservice by not requesting an assessment. Just because he's doing OK now doesn't mean this will always be the case. The new KS2 SATS now score on handwriting ability and from what I've read they can't score above a certain level if their handwriting is poor, regardless of the content - unless you can prove a disability of course.

Wherediditland Sat 02-Apr-16 16:00:13

Yes possibly although I doubt they would prioritise him for any additional help even if they would find the assessment.
The school is in dire straits.

I just thought I could look at the formal tools and get an idea although obviously respect that it takes years of professional training to understand and utilise them correctly.

Does anyone recognise the issues I have listed in their own child with dyspraxia or is he just a bit clumsy and unsporty?

I should say school feel the handwriting is not the biggest pointer and were it only handwriting being assessed he would just be considered an awkward left hander who isn't big on writing.

He was very late to try and write.
Showed no interest in colouring or scribbling at all through pre school and couldn't form (hadn't tried or wanted to) even a simple letter until reception.
He doesn't doodle or draw now, never chooses to have a pencil in his hand.

His writing isn't theworst in the class from what I see on the board but one of the worst. His drawings are very immature.

His vocabulary and reading age are years ahead of his age.
Maths so so- bottom of the middle group of guess (haven't asked)

postmanpatscat Sat 02-Apr-16 16:24:12

Check whether there is an OT advice clinic in your area. In mine, the school can refer pupils up to 10 for assessment. Is your son on the SEN register at the school?

Wherediditland Sat 02-Apr-16 20:19:42

How do I find that out?
Not on the SEN register no.

postmanpatscat Sat 02-Apr-16 21:31:28

Ask your GP or Google the NHS trust that covers your area. If so, either the school or GP can refer I expect. The form I use takes less than 5 minutes to complete but the waiting list is about 6 months here.

Toffeelatteplease Sat 02-Apr-16 21:50:38

You want NHS refferal to Occupational Therapy through your GP.

However the waiting list is long and there is a good chance you will be discharged if they can get away with it.

If you can afford a private Occupational Therapy assessment and/or treatment this can be phenomenal in ensuring your child gets the right help through the NHS.

DS was originally almost discharged with no active treatment. Currently has six weekly blocks of direct therapy with a skilled OT , then six weeks therapy with his school one to one (had to go to tribunal). I have also paid for ten weekly sessions with a private OT and a private assessment before the tribunal process started. I recognise many of the symptoms you have listed.

You may find a few simple things help day to day. Eg Adapted cutlery, writing slopes and pen grips.

I'm guessing your DS may have issues with working memory which can have a massive impact on maths. (How can you finish a sum if you forget what you are doing half way through/can't hold all the bits of informationat the same time). To spot this like for issues like: Does he have issues with memory games like matching pairs or "I went to the shop and bought an apple...etc" or remembering a list of instructions.

Your son's school are doing him a massive disservice by not taking this further.

LIZS Sat 02-Apr-16 21:54:19

Try the Dyspraxia Foundation website for lists of traits and ideas for activities to assist. However you really need a paed and/or OT involved. Simple things like using the side of a folder as a writing slope, visual reminders, playing games to improve hand/eye coordination and dexterity can help.

forkhandles4candles Sat 02-Apr-16 22:05:10

Everything you say about your DS is true of my DD, who is 10, (except for soiling) who has been diagnosed with moderate dyspraxia. But apart from a little OT to learn to tie shoelaces, nothing else has been offered.

Parietal Sat 02-Apr-16 22:06:01

you want the DCD-Questionnaire, available here

I think it is still free, but if it isn't, PM me.

As others have said, this is a starting point and really you need a formal assessment from a clinician to get a diagnosis.

Toffeelatteplease Sat 02-Apr-16 22:15:41

I should say even if the only issue was the writing, it is well worth getting a skilled OT to take a look.

They have handwriting tests that compare you normal handwriting with your best handwriting and your handwriting under time not just looking at how well your child writes but also how your child's writing is impacted functionally.

The private Occupational Therapy I got for DS wasn't cheap, but it was one of the best thousand pounds I have ever spent. DS made massive leaps in the sessions. It also gave me a blueprint for what a good OT sessions for DS looked like and the confidence to explain what DS needs.

craftyoldhen Sat 02-Apr-16 22:50:16

FWIW he sounds very similar to my DD who is awaiting a dyspraxia diagnosis, which the comm paediatrian thinks is likely. She already has an ASD diagnosis.

Her hand writing and drawing is poor
She can't swim despite weekly lessons, Can't do laces or use cutlery properly
Can't catch or throw accurately
She struggles with door handles and locks on toilet doors
Walks in front of people and cuts them up
Spills drinks, still gets food down her front at mealtimes
Gets tired very easily with physical activity
Even her hand gets tired with writing

Is clumsy, accident prone, messy and very, very disorganised.

mazarineblue Sat 02-Apr-16 23:26:32

My dd11 has had 4 years of various interventions by school-craft clubs,fine motor skills sessions etc. She's also had speech therapy and OT sessions. She has all the classic signs listed by craftyoldhen-plus her brother also has diagnosed dyspraxia. Her writing is so bad school are giving her a scribe for SATS. School have asked me to get a referral from GP to access further help - but GP has said he has no idea who to refer to, and school need to take next step! It's all so confusing- we'd go private for a referral if needs be,but t no one appears to have any idea what our next steps are...

Toffeelatteplease Sun 03-Apr-16 06:49:50

OT you need an OT referral. Totally shock and hmm that the doctor didn't know that.

LyndaNotLinda Sun 03-Apr-16 07:03:11

Some GPs will refer via paediatric health as a first step. I was under the impression that OTs can't diagnose?

PolterGoose (who can be found on the SN boards) has a link to a brilliant developmental document which I found really helpful in getting my DS assessed recently (he has very similar symptoms to yours and got a private DX at 6 but I want an NHS DX). He is on the SEN register at school and gets physio sessions 2-3 times a week.

Wherediditland Sun 03-Apr-16 08:38:26

Oh wow just come back to this thanks so much everyone

Parietal that was so useful thank you.
I'm not sure how to answer about things like jumping over objects- he loves climbing in the garden etc but isn't at all good at it- much more scared than a lot of kids his age and when we did PGL family he was vastly behind some other kids in the group but then they seemed particularly good to be (small sample size) and a lot is anxiety I think as his brother isn't that great either and both are quite cautious.
He can run but not fast.

But he is very slow to learn cycling (this took ALOT of patience on all our parts) and swimming.
Just hard to know if just not that good at sports or an actual issue.
This is why it
Needs a professional isn't it?

But some things lept out- the falling off a chair after sitting a while- he does this every meal time! Always slumps and school have commented on this too.
And the pressing hard with a pencil

I think I will look for a private OT.
Thank you

Toffeelatteplease Sun 03-Apr-16 08:40:11

You are quite right they can't. But here the waiting list for them is 18 months to 2 years so i tend to err on the quickest way into the intervention/treatment side of things! Our area paeds don't really diagnosis dyspraxia, they just refer to OT. DS was being treated for dyspraxia style symptoms (OT not diagnosinggrinwink) years before the diagnosis was added, although partly as they were unsure whether the symptoms didn't have a definitive cause. I forget other areas are different in that respect and of course the diagnosis may be more important if a school is not accustomed to providing for need over diagnosis.

VashtaNerada Sun 03-Apr-16 08:44:52

I almost certainly have dyspraxia and my parents chose not to have the assessment, I often wonder if it would have made a difference if they did. OTOH it might have made me feel less of a freak if I understood there was a medical reason for my difficulties but on the other, not knowing meant I would keep trying at things that I might have given up on if I thought I'd never master it. Not sure what point I'm trying to make here! It probably is worth pushing for an assessment if you can as there might be support they could give him, but if you don't get it he might still be okay.

Toffeelatteplease Sun 03-Apr-16 08:48:41

The thing to remember is that dyspraxia is really just a description for a collection of difficulties that don't have a definitive physical cause. You child's particular mix of symptoms cam be very different than someone else's. Eg DS gross motor skills are severely affected but fine motor skills are less so.

Slumping at sitting is more usually to do with poor core muscle tone. Do mention the slumping and that school have noticed it too...

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