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Dyspraxia, what age can you tell?

(15 Posts)
rhetorician Thu 11-Apr-13 11:55:25

My dd was 4 in January, and I have always thought there was something not quite right. She is intelligent, good verbally, can learn things quickly, e.g. Songs, poems etc, but displays some things which chime with descriptions of dyspraxia. For example, she still can't really use a knife and fork, can't dress herself, do buttons or fastenings, use scissors. She can draw pretty well, and write/copy letters, although her pencil grip is poor. She knows her numbers now and is getting there with Letters. She constantly drops things, spills things, makes a mess. But she can ride a scooter well, and is getting there with her bike, she can do jigsaw puzzles well too. She walks into things and people.

socially she is young for her age, plus rather shy, and she is quite stubborn, won't follow instructions. The main thing really is that rules etc have to be spelled out for her. Her sister, who is 16 months just seems to pick them up.

But all of these things are also, surely, within the range of normal for a 4 yo? Her little friends at nursery do say things to her like 'you're not 4, you're 3' which suggests that they perceive her immaturity in some way, although it might just be that she is physically small.

Btw, thinking about it various members of extended family are prob dyspraxia though not diagnosed.

is it simply too early to tell?? Sorry if this is a daft post, just want to help her if I can

PolterGooseLaidAChocolateEgg Thu 11-Apr-13 12:25:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

rhetorician Thu 11-Apr-13 12:31:16

It's tempting to suggest that she is a bit lazy, but I don't want to label things negatively if its not something she can help. She gets very easily frustrated, so it's difficult to get her to practice things for long enough to master them, and there's only so far I feel I can cajole before it becomes completely counter productive. Thank you for the reply. If she is, it's pretty mild.

rhetorician Thu 11-Apr-13 12:32:07

I'm not in the UK, so stuff like this generally wouldn't kick in until school, which she starts in sept

PolterGooseLaidAChocolateEgg Thu 11-Apr-13 12:39:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

rhetorician Thu 11-Apr-13 12:46:43

I don't think she's hyper mobile, at least not as far as I'm aware

auntevil Thu 11-Apr-13 12:58:42

There is a lot of distance in the UK to give a dx before the age of maturation (7 ish)
That said, DS1 was dx before starting reception -4
DS3 just been assessed at 5.8 years.
Like Polter said. There are lots of other dx that could present similarly, or it could be outgrown. That is why there is no rule of thumb for dx age.

rhetorician Thu 11-Apr-13 13:08:39

I think we'll just wait and see, and see what school thinks. Nursery haven't raised any concerns, but there not exactly proactive and I think she is quiet and well behaved, so I'm not sure how much they notice her IYSWIM. Thank you.

towicymru Thu 11-Apr-13 13:18:13

DS1 teacher said that she had thought that he was lazy in September when she first started teaching him but has come to the realisation that he won't try something that he knows he can't do/will struggle with. How we get past that is anyones guess at the moment!

He is being assessed for dyspraxia and the OT suggested that a way of trying to engage him postively in trying things is to work backwards. For example, when tying shoe laces you do tha majority of it and get DD to do the very last bit. She will feel like she has achieved something rather than her starting at the first part and not being able to see the finished bow if she can't do it all! Once she can do the last bit well, you then let her do the last 2 bits and so on. We have stopped the laces thing as DS was finding it too tough but we did use it to conquer buttons and zips to some extent (get the button halfway through hole and got DS to push the last bit, pull the button to the hole & get DS to push through etc/pull zip 3/4 and let DS do rest, then 1/2 and so on).

We do notice that coordination is the first thing to go when DS is tired. Most days he can take his school jumper off. If he is tired, he just can't!!

auntevil Thu 11-Apr-13 13:20:11

Just remember. You can do no harm in doing activities recommended for improving core strength and fine motor skills. If it turns out there is no problem, skills will be enhanced if there is, you have made progress on what would have been.
You don't need a dx to benefit.

rhetorician Thu 11-Apr-13 13:22:13

Dd has that jumper issue! Without thinking we have started doing part of the task, and encouraging her to finish it and will keep at that. It's understandable though they won't try. DDs cousin is highly competent, but willing to try, but her feedback loop is that once you try you achieve the goal, DDs is very different as she fails more often than she succeeds, so she expects not to be able to do things sad she is just as bright, but says 'I'm not very good at----' which makes me very sad for her, although her self esteem so far seems fairly robust.

rhetorician Thu 11-Apr-13 13:34:03

Yes, that's a good point aunt. I think there was a really good thread on here a while back with suggestions for fine motor skill stuff

EllenJanesthickerknickers Thu 11-Apr-13 14:14:03

Do you mean this list? grin

This is a fantastic list I copied and saved from a post by mrz Hope it inspires you!

Fine Motor Skills
Things to remember:
Upright working surfaces promote fine motor skills. Examples of these are: vertical
chalkboards; easels for painting; flannel boards; lite bright; magnet boards (or
fridge); windows and mirrors; white boards, etc. Children can also make sticker
pictures; do rubber ink-stamping; use reuseable stickers to make pictures; complete
puzzles with thick knobs; use magna-doodle and etch-a-sketch as well. The benefits
for these include: having the child's wrist positioned to develop good thumb
movements; they help develop good fine motor muscles; the child is using the arm
and shoulder muscles.
Fine Motor Activities
Moulding and rolling play dough into balls - using the palms of the
hands facing each other and with fingers curled slightly towards the palm.
Rolling play dough into tiny balls (peas) using only the finger tips.
Using pegs or toothpicks to make designs in play dough.
Cutting play dough with a plastic knife or with a pizza wheel by holding
the implement in a diagonal volar grasp.
Tearing newspaper into strips and then crumpling them into balls. Use
to stuff scarecrow or other art creation.
Scrunching up 1 sheet of newspaper in one hand. This is a super
strength builder.
Using a plant sprayer to spray plants, (indoors, outdoors) to spray snow
(mix food colouring with water so that the snow can be painted), or melt
"monsters". (Draw monster pictures with markers and the colours will run
when sprayed.)
Picking up objects using large tweezers such as those found in the
"Bedbugs" game. This can be adapted by picking up Cheerios, small cubes,
small marshmallows, pennies, etc., in counting games.
Shaking dice by cupping the hands together, forming an empty air space
between the palms.
Using small-sized screwdrivers like those found in an erector set.
Lacing and sewing activities such as stringing beads, Cheerios,
macaroni, etc.
Using eye droppers to "pick up" coloured water for colour mixing or
to make artistic designs on paper.
Rolling small balls out of tissue paper, then gluing the balls onto
construction paper to form pictures or designs.
Turning over cards, coins, checkers, or buttons, without bringing them to
the edge of the table.
Making pictures using stickers or self-sticking paper reinforcements.
Playing games with the "puppet fingers" -the thumb, index, and middle
fingers. At circle time have each child's puppet fingers tell about what
happened over the weekend, or use them in songs and finger plays.
Place a variety of forms (eg. blocks, felt, paper, string, yarn, cereal,
cotton) on outlines
Match shapes, colour, or pictures to a page and paste them within the
Self-Care Skills
Fastening Snaps
Using a screwdriver
Locking and unlocking a door
Winding a clock
Opening and closing jars
Rolling out dough or other simple cooking activities
Washing plastic dishes
Sweeping the floor
Scissor Activities
When scissors are held correctly, and when they fit a child's hand well, cutting
activities will exercise the very same muscles which are needed to manipulate a pencil
in a mature tripod grasp. The correct scissor position is with the thumb and middle
finger in the handles of the scissors, the index finger on the outside of the handle to
stabilize, with fingers four and five curled into the palm.
Cutting junk mail, particularly the kind of paper used in magazine
subscription cards.
Making fringe on the edge of a piece of construction paper.
Cutting play dough or clay with scissors.
Cutting straws or shredded paper.
Use a thick black line to guide cutting the following:
A fringe from a piece of paper
Cut off corners of a piece of paper
Cut along curved lines
Cut lines with a variety of angles
Cut figures with curves and angles
Sensory Activities
The following activities ought to be done frequently to increase postural muscle
strength and endurance. These activities also strengthen the child's awareness of
his/her hands.
Wheelbarrow walking, crab walking
Clapping games (loud/quiet, on knees together, etc.)
Catching (clapping) bubbles between hands
Pulling off pieces of thera-putty with individual fingers and thumb
Drawing in a tactile medium such as wet sand, salt, rice, or "goop".
Make "goop" by adding water to cornstarch until you have a mixture similar
in consistency to toothpaste. The "drag" of this mixture provides feedback to
the muscle and joint receptors, thus facilitating visual motor control.
Picking out small objects like pegs, beads, coins, etc., from a tray of salt,
sand, rice, or putty. Try it with eyes closed too. This helps develop sensory
awareness in the hands.
Midline Crossing
Establishment of hand dominance is still developing at this point. The following
activities will facilitate midline crossing:
Encourage reaching across the body for materials with each hand. It
may be necessary to engage the other hand in an activity to prevent
switching hands at midline.
Refrain specifically from discouraging a child from using the left hand
for any activity. Allow for the natural development of hand dominance by
presenting activities at midline, and allowing the child to choose freely.
Start making the child aware of the left and right sides of his body
through spontaneous comments like, "kick the ball with your right leg." Play
imitation posture games like "Simon Says" with across the body movements.
When painting at easel, encourage the child to paint a continuous line
across the entire paper- also from diagonal to diagonal.

I also have a busy finger box basically one of those plastic fold out workboxes for craft with lots of compartments

1. Pegs –
You need pegs of different sizes, clothes pegs, small bulldog clips, stationery clips etc. Get the children to use one hand only at a time. I usually get them to peg about 10 pegs of different sizes onto the sides of a gift bag. They might put them on with their left hand and take them off with their right.
They can also try squeezing the pegs between the first finger and thumb (on each hand) then the middle finger and thumb and so on.

2. Elastic bands –
Elastic gymnastics! – Start by putting 2 elastic bands (the same size) around the thumb, first and middle fingers, ask the child to open and close the fingers. Then add another 2 elastic bands and so on. The more you have on, the harder it is to move your fingers. These exercises help to develop the muscles which make the web space when writing.

3. Beads –
Get beads of different sizes and thread. Ask the children to thread some beads onto their string. The smaller the hole obviously the harder it is to thread. Develops hand/eye coordination.

4. Ball bearings and tweezers –
Put the ball bearings in one little box and ask the child to try and pick one ball bearing up at a time with the tweezers and place in a second small box. If this is too tricky try using Hama beads and tweezers.

5. Floam / Playdough –
These products are great for squeezing and rolling which provides necessary sensory feedback and helps to develop hand strength. Ask the children to squeeze the dough and roll it with the palm of their hand.

6. Doodle board –
The Doodleboard is just a way of children practising handwriting patterns or letters without having to commit them to paper. Provide some patterns and shapes to copy.

7. Gummed Shapes –
Give the children a sheet of plain paper and ask them to make patterns or pictures with the gummed shapes. Just picking up on shape at a time, licking it and then sticking it down all help to develop hand/eye coordination and the pincer grip.

8. Hama Beads –
Hama beads are good for pincer grip and hand/eye coordination. The children have patterned sheets to copy and peg boards to put them on.

9. Lacing cards –
Also good for hand/eye coordination. Just give each child one card to lace.

10. Bean bags –
Give a child 4-5 bean bags and place a container about 3 feet infront of them. Ask the child to try and get as many beanbags in the container as possible. (Hand/eye coordination)

11. Chalk and blackboard –
If you can, try and wedge the blackboard between two tables and provide the child with a piece of chalk in each hand. Ask them to draw the same pattern with both hands at the same time on both sides of the board. This helps develop bilateral movement.
Allow the children to draw patterns, shapes and letter shapes on the blackboard. The chalk gives sensory feedback and sound simultaneously.

12. Stencils –
Children can use the stencils to make a picture. Helps develop pencil control and special awareness among other things.

13. Feathers –
Ask the children to try and balance a feather on different parts of their body. This helps to develop balance and coordination.

14. Handhugger pens –
Hand hugger pens are the triangular shaped pens. These help the children to establish a better pencil grip.

15. Tissue paper strips –
Place the child’s palm (at the wrist) on the end of a strip of tissue paper. Ask them to only use their middle finger to get the paper to scrunch up under their hand.
Repeat, but this time place the side of the child’s hand on one end of the tissue strip and ask them to only use their thumb to scrunch up the paper and bring it under their hand.
These activities really help to develop the hand arch, web space and muscle tone of the hand.

16. Stickers –
Children love stickers. Just peeling them off provides an opportunity to develop fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination.

17. Peg boards –
These can be peg boards where the child has to place pegs in the holes, maybe copying patterns.
They can be the boards with plastic pegs already on where they have to stretch elastic bands between them to make patterns.

rhetorician Thu 11-Apr-13 14:34:20

This is the very thing! Ace, will cut and paste and print out. She will enjoy some of this stuff I think. Thanks a million for finding it.

EllenJanesthickerknickers Thu 11-Apr-13 14:35:31

I have it cut and pasted into a word document! That's how I found it. wink

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