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Dyspraxia - any of you guys had this happen

(16 Posts)
mrslaughan Mon 29-Oct-12 15:37:51

DS is 7.5, with Fine motor dyspraxia, SPD(Sensory seeking), particular difficulty with motor planning and sequencing.
He horse rides regularily and is really quite a good little rider - when riding he seems to be able to organise his body with a competence he doesn't have in other area's of his life. Sits up straight in the saddle. On friday he had a riding lesson - and just rode beautifully.
On saturday he had a riding lesson, and he just couldn't seem to do it. His instructor and I thought he was taking the piss - though it was a matter of wouldn't - the weather was terrible (he was also sick - but was sick on friday to, but he didn't want to cancel).
Anyway part way through the lesson it started raining (he was decked out for the weather - I however was not), and he got hysterical, I said that he could finish early once he had trotted a full circuit of the arena - this is well within his capabilities.
Anyway - he still didn't manage it. It just lloked like he couldn't be bothered trying.
After he had finished I took him aside and explained that i am not riding at the moment because we can only afford him to do it, and I quite happily make that sacrifice because I see how much he loves it, and how much he gets from it. But that he has to make every lesson worthwhile, which means really riding for the whole lesson (I would say he didn't ride at all in his saturday lesson).
Anyway once I got him in the car etc, he said to me "I am really sorry Mum, I was really trying, but I just couldn't make my legs do it" (he just wan't putting them "on" the pony.)

My question is - is he charming me - or is this part of the dyspraxia? Forgetting how to do something he has been doing really well for months? and maybe thats why he got hysterical?

SallyBear Mon 29-Oct-12 15:39:42

Maybe Friday's beautiful lesson sapped his reserves and he ached the next day.

cornybeefhash Mon 29-Oct-12 15:41:41

Yes he may have been struggling to hold his limbs in place on the 2nd lesson

mrslaughan Mon 29-Oct-12 15:58:41

actually very good point. Thanks ladies.

auntevil Mon 29-Oct-12 17:10:06

Could also be a concentration issue. If he has not been feeling 100%, he might have been putting some of his effort into being OK rather than full concentration and effort into riding.
I often have to remind myself that it takes so much more effort to do what others take for granted and do automatically.
Somewhere, there is a description of dyspraxia where they liken a NT response to reaching out and picking up a cup of tea, where no conscious effort is applied, to a person with dyspraxia. They have to work out where their hand is in relation to their body, then where the cup is in relation to their body and judge the distance they need to move their hand to connect to the cup - and that's before they even move it to their mouth to drink. All of this is a conscious decision - no wonder they get tired!
Perhaps your DS just didn't have the 100% to get his legs to connect with the pony.
I'll bet he does better when he's 100% again.

mrslaughan Mon 29-Oct-12 18:32:27

Thanks auntevil - I think you are right, and I think I need to cut him some slack. I watch him doing stuff and the level of concentration is amazing esp when he is play fighting with his friends - you can see he has to work harder than them.
Strangely with riding (generally) he makes it look effortless, which is probably why I didn't immediately think that's the reason.
Thank you

porridgelover Mon 29-Oct-12 19:50:36

As above; he could easily have gone all out on Friday and not have had enough fuel in the tank for Sat.
Do you drive? Think of how it was for you when you first started driving, where every single action was consciously thought through and double checked before you did it. And now, after a few years, you can get in and drive without concern. Thats the difference between Dypraxic and NT....if you have dyspraxia, you never get to the ''unconciously competent'' stage. And actions that you think you have down pat, fall apart if you are distracted/ill/upset/worried.

survivingautumn Mon 29-Oct-12 20:16:36

I would guess tiredness, illness and feeling uncomfortable will all affect his motor control. My dd has CP and rides every week. Some weeks she is straight on the horse with lovely posture, other weeks she is slumped and every uneven movement looks like it will unsteady her. Just depends on all of the above factors in her case!

Glad he is enjoying the riding - has been fantastic for my dd smile

mrslaughan Mon 29-Oct-12 21:17:07

surviving mum - is CP Cerribal palsy?

Triggles Mon 29-Oct-12 22:24:24

<<<<<Thats the difference between Dypraxic and NT....if you have dyspraxia, you never get to the ''unconciously competent'' stage. And actions that you think you have down pat, fall apart if you are distracted/ill/upset/worried.>>>>>

this exactly. i see this with ds2

survivingautumn Tue 30-Oct-12 11:42:24

Hi mrslaughan - yes it is! DD has it very mildly but has some similarity with dyspraxia because she mainly has weak core muscles and fine motor control difficulties. Like Triggles says, her movements just take more thinking about than that of a NT person.

WannabeBallerina Tue 30-Oct-12 13:29:45

I have dyspraxia. Perhaps more severely than your son in that I could never manage horse riding, but I nevertheless do understand the real variation in performance. At my best I can move well enough to do almost anything a NT needs for everyday life, yet at my worst I struggle even to walk properly.

And his description "I just couldn't make my legs do it" - that is a perfect, spot-on description of how I very often feel

Personally speaking, I find motor tasks more difficult when:
- I'm tired (you said your son had two riding lessons in two days)
- I'm cold (you said it was raining heavily)
- I'm unwell (you said he's been ill)
- I'm stressed or under pressure (do you think he picked up on your disapproval?)
- I'm not concentrating on what I'm doing (you said he probably wasn't)

So with regard to telling off your DS, probably the only think you could legitimately complain to him about is putting less than 110% of his concentration and focus and mental energy into the lesson - because that's what people with dyspraxia need to be able to do, 24 hours a day. But do be aware, in telling him off, that you're demanding of him what would be to NT people a demand for consistent and repeated medal-winning athletic performance sad

Gorta Tue 30-Oct-12 15:06:53

I tried pm and it wouldn't work for me so I'm just added this information onto this thread.

We use a stop, plan,do, check approach with our dd. it helps with her motor planning and organisational skills. We use it as visual checklist with pictures at home and at school to help her think about what she should be doing and to teach her how to check her work and hopefully self correct.

Stop! What do I have to do?

Plan. What do I need? How will I do it?

Do. Where do I start?

Check. Have I done it right?

This strategy was recommended by an ed psych and ot. Her motor planning is very weak and we give her lots of opportunities tp practise to build up her skills and confidence. We talk through the steps with her and get her to verbalise them before she begins.

Hope this helps

mrslaughan Tue 30-Oct-12 16:42:14

Gorta - thanks for that. We do that un-consciously, but I definately think that making it a conscious thing that we teach him is a really good idea.

Wannabeballerina - thank you for your insight. DS was only diagnosed 9 months ago and I am still trying to understand how it effects him. He has moderate dyspraxia - but is improving rapidly. infact i think with a lot of tasks/situations he could be classed as mild now, but he does have his times - one of them obviously was saturday when his symptoms were not mild.
I do disagree with the only thing I have to complain about - I see now that now matter how hard he had tried - he wouldn't have been able to do it on saturday, however what I do have reason to complain about was his babyish - wasn't appropriate. But we have talked about what happens when he finds himself in this situation again (not giving into the frustration) - about explaining that he just can't make his legs do it. I will also explain to his instructor about it, so she understands where he is coming from.

elliejjtiny Tue 30-Oct-12 20:49:02

I have dyspraxia and I second everything WannabeBallerina said

WannabeBallerina Tue 30-Oct-12 22:07:37

Babyish semi-tantrums aren't good, no. But you're right in identifying that they're about frustration. And as several people on here have said, it's very hard for both NT and people with dyspraxia to conceptualise or explain their experience of coping with the space around them - and therefore, it's extremely difficult for a person with dyspraxia to articulate their feelings of frustration when it all goes wrong in their body. As a 37 year old with an MA in English and a PhD, I find it almost impossible to use words to convey my frustration of what it's like when my body lets me down - and whereas I'm sure your DS is as bright as I am, he is only 7, which is so very, very young.

Certainly, your DS needs to learn to manage the frustration of his dyspraxia in ways that are age-appropriate and socially-appropriate - to pretend otherwise would be so stifle his social skills and allow him to become further disabled. Equally, though, your DS needs to be encouraged to express his feelings. I developed eating problems and self-harmed out of resentment towards my body, essentially because I wasn't allowed to cry or to tell anyone about the pain or humiliation or turmoil of living with dyspraxia. Looking back, I being a bit tantrum-prone might have been for me a lesser evil.

So do be gentle with him, please.

What really helped me as a child was learning some relaxation techniques (breathing, simple stretching) and finding non-demanding and creative ways to focus my frustration and express myself (writing, drawing, playing the piano). When I was a bit older, drama lessons and art therapy helped a lot, too.

Hope that helps.

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