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I think that DS (nearly 6) is dyspraxic - does anyone know what kind of help can I seek....?

(26 Posts)
josben Thu 15-Feb-07 21:21:30

DS1 is nearly 6, he is a lovely, gentle and very caring little boy but I've gradually been getting a bit more concerned about his development (if thats the right word) Basically, I've read up a bit and he does show many of the symptons of dyspraxia. Then today DS1's teacher told me that he doesn't fit in with any of the boys in his class. I kind of new that he didn't have a big circle of friends in his class but I just feel worried for him and a bit helpless. Has anyone been though a similar situation and is there anywhere I can do to seek help for my DS1.

brandy7 Thu 15-Feb-07 21:24:33

is this where they are a bit clumsy and have problems with their fine motor skills. im sure theres someone on here with a child with dyspraxia,it may be one of the children with autism. i know i read it on here recently

josben Thu 15-Feb-07 21:38:54

Yes, it's sometimes called clumsy child syndrome, there's other problems that my DS has and I have kept thinking 'its a phase' and 'he'll grow out of it' but now I think i might need to see someone. I have made and appointment with our doctor - that is to ask about his speech, (his teacher thinks he may need some speech therapy.) So I will also mention it to his doctor then...

brandy7 Thu 15-Feb-07 21:43:11

theres a lad in our village with dyxpraxia, he found p.e hard at school and had to have special chunky pens to make his grip better.he has a speech problem, nothing major, you just have to listen a bit harder. he did get a statement for school and a few hours help.

lovely boy, fantastic memory. hes 14 now, he asked me when he was about 5 what my date of birth was and he still remembers it exactly now! he knows my eldest boys d.o.b as well. he probably knows the whole villages

josben Thu 15-Feb-07 22:03:23

Ah, thats great My DS1 is in the top sets for reading, spelling and numeracy but the major problem is that the teacher can only just read his writing, same for me. His pencil grip is very awkward, so maybe chunkier pens would help him... He also lacks confidence to speak up in class and his teacher says he hates being centre of attention when speaking. He also struggles with co-ordination and is all arms and legs when he runs. He goes to a fooie club which he enjoys and he starts beavers after half term and so I'm hoping that he'll be able to forge some friendships there and hopefully gain more confidence...

frances5 Thu 15-Feb-07 22:09:38

Prehaps you can ask for a referal to a community paediatrian. My son has a friend who goes to a handwriting workshop run by an occuapational theraphist once a week. Its worth asking if something like that exists in your area.

coppertop Fri 16-Feb-07 16:59:37

Does your ds get any extra help at school? Does he have an IEP?

I would ask your GP for a referral to a Developmental Paediatrician. In the meantime I would be talking to the teacher and SENCO about what they are planning to do to help your ds at school. My ds1 (6.5yrs) has problems with handwriting. (He is also autistic). He finds it hard to grip the pencil properly and also has problems forming some of the letters. He is right-handed but tends to form his letters as though left-handed, IYSWIM. He has an IEP with targets to help him with this and has been able to make a lot of progress because of it.

coppertop Fri 16-Feb-07 17:00:24

Ooops! That first bit sounded like an interrogation.

LIZS Fri 16-Feb-07 17:17:29

Depending on your area there may be a wait for an assessment so your best bet is to get the school working with him in the meantime. ds was simiarly identified by his teacher at that age. Occupational Therapy may help and one to one or small group work at school . He could be referred fro an assessment either by the school SENCO or your gp/hv.

Blandmum Fri 16-Feb-07 17:21:27

Talk to the school.

If you want to do something youself there is an excellent scheme that helps them with handwriting called 'Write from the Start'. You can get it from Amazon.

The Ed Physch recomemnded this for our ds who is the same age as yours and we have just had a dx of dyspraxia.

We do 5-10 minutes a day and it is already having a positive effect on his ability to use a pen, and his confidence

josben Fri 16-Feb-07 18:56:50

thanks for your posts.

No Coppertop , he doesn't get any extra help at school, they haven't mentioned dyspraxia or anything - just their concerns about his handwriting, speech etc, i've come home today with a little white board and marker pen for DS1 to practise on over the half term hols. She seems to be wanting me to help him at home with his handwriting - rather than him getting extra help at school, I told his teacher today that I'd booked a GP's appointment, she hasn't mentioned anything about SENCO. (I don't know what an IEP is?)

Martianbishop - how was your DS dx? Did you seek help or did school refer him? If you don't mind me asking, what were the things that made you think that your DS may be dyspraxic?

Blandmum Fri 16-Feb-07 19:07:45

tbh, I wopuld have been less surprised if they had come up with a dx of dyslexia, as he was also struggling with his reading, but the test showed he was quite 'normal' for his age.

He is 6, and will be 7 inMarch. He was dxed a month ago.

His gross motor skills are good, he can ride a bike, has no probelms with footballs etc, he dresses himself swiftly.

His fine motor control is v bad (bottom 5% percentile when otherwise he averages about 55% percentile for stuff). His handwriting is awful, hates to deaw etc. He also has problems with organisation and has a very poor short term memory (3%). Dysgraphia describes him more accuratyu , but we need to see the paediatric OT before we get any more detail.

School asked us to refer him, but if I am honest most schools would not have (I am a teacher) since he isn't that 'bad' IYSWIM

Blandmum Fri 16-Feb-07 19:08:19

oh and his speech was ropey as a younger kid, and still isn't great

LIZS Fri 16-Feb-07 19:19:33

MB Your last comment is what worried us about the state school system and is why we feel more comfortable with ds at a private shcool in a class of 20 rather than 30+. ds may have problems but he is good at finding ways to cope which makes it less pronounced and he isn't badly behaved. The downside being that any external state funded/nhs "help" is at best less readily accessible than it might have been had he attended a state school.

josben Fri 16-Feb-07 19:30:13

With DS I don't think he is that 'bad' either,(IYSWIM) and so I can't see school doing anything until I do. But as a mum I can see that he's developmentally quite a bit behind his brother - (who's 17 months younger.) So I'll go the my GP and see if we can get a referral to a development paediatrician.

I will def get that handwriting book from Amazon and hopefully that will help. Thanks

Blandmum Fri 16-Feb-07 20:14:27

lizs, he is also in a private school and is in a class of 12.

I have picked up children , significantly more dyspraxic than ds, at the age of 12, and refered them to the SENCO myself

There are, of course excellent state schools and wonderful SENCOs. I would not 'blame' anyone for missing ds's probelms if he were in a class of 30, since ds's probs are not that great. But we hope that by putting in some extra help now it will stop ds becomming 'switched off' learning later on in his school life.

Neroli Sat 17-Feb-07 00:54:35

My DD is 8 and has a diagnosis of dyspraxia. She has a sloping writing board in class which does help her a bit with her writing I think, though ropey it seems to be improving over the last month.

Madeleine Portwood's book, Developmental Dyspraxia is very helpful. I've lent mine out I think but am trying to find it as I think she has a section on exercises that a few schools implemented for their pupils who had co-ordination issues. I'm going to give these a good go in conjuction with the course the MB has recommended and get her back on fish oils which do I think make a difference when I can get them down her.

The benefits to DD of having an IEP are things like when she was really struggling and getting demotivated the classroom assistant would act as a scribe or she could record into a tape recorder, the aim being to take the pressure off. This was in Year 1 where in her school there was quite a big leap from reception and she lost a lot of confidence. She currently gets a one on one session with the SENCO weekly - they are practising scissor skills and writing at the moment, and she does Brain Gym with her. She's just been discharged from our local co-ordination where a physio & OT worked with her and she is having a course of SALT as her speech wasn't sorting itself out as it should have been.

The social skills aspect I have had to work pretty hard on. I make sure she regularly has someone round after school and have tried as much as possible to explain some of the non-verbal cues ie. if you stand too close to someone they begin to feel uncomfortable etc.

Hope some of this makes sense, I am up way after my bedtime and not very coherent !

josben Mon 19-Feb-07 22:31:47

Thanks Neroli, I will try and order that Madeleline Portwood book.

I was wondering how long it took from you first being aware that your DS/DD had dyspraxia to them being diagnosed with dyspraxia? I can't talk to my DH about this at the moment - as I know that he will be very dismissive as he will say it is just labelling DS1. I can understand this, but after worrying about DS1 for a long time, I do feel sort of comforted in a way to know that there's help and also it's good to hear of others experiences. I'm glad I've got an appointment with our GP.

DS1 really struggles with his confidence when he is at school -and so I'm going to start inviting friends for regular playdates - and hope that that will help him 'gel' with some of the boys in his class.

The other thing is that DS1 also absolutely loves computer games which we do let him and his brother have limited access to - just websites like cbeebies etc. But he desperately wants a PS2 for his birthday - which we'd love to get him, but we don't think it's a good idea because it's such a solitary past time and I can't see how it'll help him with his confidence, etc. Do you think it would be such a bad thing for his development to get a playstation?

(Sorry to waffle on and on!)

Fubsy Tue 20-Feb-07 10:21:35

They way the NHS is at the moment, you'd probably get seenquickest if your GP refers you to a specialist like a paediatrician. They will likely refer you on to physio, OT or both, depending on what is on offer in your area.

Some schools run motor skills groups for children who show signs of dysppraxia or similar, its unlikely a school would never have come across it before, so it might be worth asking your school how they have dealt with it in the past.

its one of those conditions that you cant really make worse by treating, but a child could fall further behind if it is missed. Its worth seeing a paed though as it is similar to and overlaps with a lot of other conditions.

It might be worth asking DH if he had anything similar, or if there is any history in the family - often there is another relative who had really bad handwriting or couldnt do PE but in those days it wasnt given a label.

pinkchampagne Fri 23-Feb-07 16:31:55

I am in a similar situation to you, josben. I am pretty convinced my DS is dyspraxic - he ticks all the boxes for it. He has an IEP at school & is under school action +, but they have done nothing about getting him assessed.
I went & spoke to my doctor about how I go about getting him looked at, and was told I had to make an appt with him & they can then refer him on.
He is in year 2 and we got his school report today - it was very depressing reading.

DrumMum Fri 23-Feb-07 20:41:10

Hi Josben, my DD is 10 and is dyspraxic, I work in a pre-school and we had a talk about dyspraxia and I recognised many symptom in my DD. I decided to ask the teacher about it at parent evening.. but she got in first saying that DD-
had problems copying from the board...
had no organisation skills
can't follow more than 2 instructions
she forgot things she learnt from one week to the next
and was really falling behind with her school work.... I could have cried!
I asked if she could have dyspraxia and she didn't know what it was...
I was later told that DD couldn't be dyspraxic as she could use a ruler!!
and that she couldn't be dyspraxic because she could put her earrings in!!

Anyway... to cut a long story short the school are crap and with hindsight I wished I had taken a book or some information up for them to read....

I would definately push for a dx as someone pointed out this condition can overlaps with autism/aspergers, adhd/add and dyslexia and probably more that I haven't mentioned
my daughter also has aspergers tendencies and I'm sure she has add as well...

I will say... be prepared to fight for your child.. it can be a long drawn out process...Do Not be fobbed of by any teacher or senco.. you know your child best...
good luck

DrumMum Fri 23-Feb-07 20:49:20

I forgot to add that my DD has hypermoblity which means her joints give a little bit more that most.. when she holds her pencil she holds it really tightly and her fingers really bend back... also her legs always used to ache and she would never stand up for long.. again this is because of her hypermobility and her ankles turned in... she now has insteps for her shoes which correct her stance.

also... if your son likes the computer get him a typing program.. we had simbar and ...[can't remember] which is aimed at kids and is really good... it would really help him to get his thoughts down instead of writing... some schools can provide an alphasmart to type on

Drummum

coppertop Fri 23-Feb-07 23:07:11

Josben - We have a PS2 and it's been really useful in helping my 2 boys to relax at the end of the day. It's actually had an unexpectedly positive effect on their social and communication skills because they both now tell me what is happening in the game and what they're doing. It's also helped ds1's fine motor skills as he's now become interested in drawing because of it and draws the various characters. He used to hate anything involving using a pencil as he found/finds it difficult to hold a pencil properly.

josben Sun 25-Feb-07 22:58:56

Pink Champagne, I really feel for you about the school report - I'm not looking forward to DS1's parents evening at all, his teacher has already told me that his handwriting is far behind any of his classmates.

Coppertop - Thanks for advice about the PS2 - I think we will end up getting one for DS1 & 2. DS1 is so animated and expressive about any sort of computer game that he plays, so hopefully a PS2 could help him with his social skills.

Aloha Mon 26-Feb-07 11:04:48

Hi, my ds is five and has Aspergers and dyspraxia. I let him use a computer a lot for writing which he is getting very adept at. He is also following the 'write from the start' programme at school and at home to improve his fine motor skills and handwriting and it is already having an effect though he is still pretty much illegible. If the school won't provide a laptop in yr1 I will buy one for him.
My son also has problems fitting in and it makes me very sad. He's a lovely, clever chap. Like you, I feel 'worried and helpless' - that's exactly it.
I feel at a bit of a loss with the friends thing, frankly. Boys aren't exactly falling over themselves to invite him to tea, and my invitations tend to get a bright 'Oh yes, that sounds great. we MUST arrange it, and then nothing happens.' I think I might start a thread on it, actually.

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