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Anybody have experience with dyspraxia?(18 Posts)
I have a 10 year old dd who is currently being checked out at school for dyspraxia and anything similar. I was just wondering if anyone had experience with dyspraxia and could give me advice on how to deal with it in day to day life because at the moment it is quite frustrating. She has coloured sheets that go over her school work which she said has helped her and she has special pens but her day to day life is a struggle.
Advice would be much appreciated.
Yes my 9 year old son is also diagnosed with dyspraxia. What specifically does your daughter struggle with eg gross/fine motor skills, coordination, writing, emotional regulation, sport, noise, friendships etc. Does she have sensory difficulties eg with noise or texture? If you post a bit more detail or PM me I would be happy to help as much as I can. I can recommend the dyspraxia foundation as a great source of info and support (they have a website and helpline) and also a couple of excellent books - Dyspraxia the Foundations (e-book), The Out of Sync child (for sensory processing issues), Caged in Chaos (written from the PoV of a dyspraxic teenager). Please post a bit more, very happy to help if I can X
Second looking on the dyspraxia foundation site , they are also really helpful if you contact them. Ideally you need an OT assessment when you have a diagnosis or paed referral, they would recommend exercises and equipment. For handwriting she needs to plant feet firmly on the floor (or stool) and adopt a supported posture. Core strength is required so any activities which would help with this- swimming, climbing, dance etc . A writing slope (or A4 folder turned sideways full of paper) may help. Can she learn to touchtype as this would be useful in exams even if she didn't qualify for other adjustments. Fine motor skill activities like lego and puzzles can help. Ds learned to check and recheck bag and things needed for the day, use timetables, lists and so on to help organisation.
Thanks for your replies. Her motor skills aren't a major issue with her as she has had dance and gymnastics training since young but she has always refused to do jigsaws and build with lego, I had just assumed she didn't like it but now realise it's because it is difficult for her. She struggles to use a knife and fork and takes an age to tie laces. She also randomly falls and trips up her own feet and is unable to sit still.
Her biggest issue is concentration and short term memory, everywhere she goes (school, clubs etc) she has been nicknamed dolly daydream. The only way she can concentrate is in a room with no distractions, even a picture on the wall will be a distraction. The teachers have said she is never a disruption but they can't get her to focus on anything.
I am struggling with organising her. I have visual prompts and a big calendar for her so she knows what she has to do and when but it seems to be no help. Every day I say the same things to her without it sinking in and we have quite a strict routine in our home.
It must be upsetting for her especially when my 4 year old is able to do a lot of things better than her!
She also has an issue with wetting herself which as she will be going to comprehensive next year needs to be controlled. She doesn't have a bladder problem as she doesn't wet the bed or anything. She doesn't do it enough to have to change trousers (not often anyway) but her underwear is soaking every day.
She also gets very obsessive with any upcoming events. We don't tell her about things anymore because when she knows something is coming up its all she will think of to the point she will come down in the middle of the night to talk about it even if it's weeks away.
We don't even know if this is dyspraxia but it is something that the school nurse is exploring.
Ds1 (now 16) was diagnosed with dyspraxia at 13.
His confidence increased through doing music - choir, violin, singing lessons.
He likes institutional settings, as he likes being part of team where someone else can prompt - he finds it difficult to judge how to initiate activities. He has always been enthusiastic about sport where there was a reward of being a team member or an outing or a trip, but less enthusiastic about the sport itself ifysim. He needs a lot of reinforcement to participate in physical activity, it is not self motivated.
He is very polite and likes rules, but at the same time he finds it difficult to judge how to behave in "free" situations. He is therefore very shy socially but comes across as sensitive and likeable. Again, takes no iniative, and takes a lot of things literally.
Sensory issues, he needs a lot of downtime because he gets overwhelmed by a busy day, so a day at school followed by extra curricular activities does not suit him at all. He can barely manage to complete homework after school. Comes across as very lazy, but I perceive it as a form of self preservation before next demands are made.
Very emotional, reactive, but very loving too, and apologises quite quickly, wants to do the right thing. I've had to learn to be quite sensitive and not be hard cop with him when he gets angry, because he needs very calm responses not being shouted at in return. When someone has low self esteem, they take criticism very much to heart.
Ds shows confidence and maturity and good sense in many ways now that he is older, he is the opposite of a fibbergibitt or a socially labile teen swayed by peers(sp?) I respect that in him. Ds is also delightfully enthusiastic and thoughtful about things he likes (in this case films) not sullen or disaffected. So many strengths.
Other things to watch out for, are need to chew (btw he really does need to do this to concentrate, so find sturdy chewable things or gum, or straws to suck drinks through) need for prioprioceptive activity, like heavy knapsacks, heavy work (google)
School work, get school to issue very clear instructions, bullet point homework, and assume child will have a very literal understanding of what is expected and fail to see subtleties. Presentation is also affected with dyspraxia, so school should not criticise for this, or she will feel it is not worth bothering to do the work she has done. Very important to cue school about this, cause of lot of heartache here. Once explained school stopped marking him down for presentation. Ds's handwriting is now fine, slightly slow, but in normal range. It tires him though, so you need to insist that homework is not pages and pages of writing, as I say bullet points rather than pointless lengthy essays when they are young.
The toilet issue is likely to be toilet phobia or paruresis.
Processing speed is a big issue. A child might be intelligent but it takes ages for instructions or ideas to sink in, once in, they can come up with excellent responses, but the brain takes longer to "process" the input. Again it doesn't mean your child should think she is slow or stupid, not that any child should think that, even if she was slow...but children get affected with how their peers perceive them in classrooms, or if they cannot come up with the answer as fast as other people or do homework without taking ages.
I don't know about the wetting, but this was an issue with my second child who has Asperger's.. Could it be that she is holding on, and the messages from the brain that she is desperate are not getting through till too late, and she is scared to ask to leave classroom? In which case you need to press for a toilet pass. Holding on for a long time (which often happens when children are obeying toilet time rules in contradiction of their own needs) can exacerbate the problem with the nerves bladder making signals. She needs to drink more and go little and often, and not hold on. I think that is the case, but am happy to be corrected if this is wrong info!
More downtime and/or a less strict routine might help.
That sounds exactly like my dd. She's an absolute sweetheart but really takes things literally.
It has been hard especially with school but I'm hoping that once they know what is going on with her then they will be more sensitive towards her. It's a great school so I have faith in them but it's a concern that she will be going to comprehensive school next year. I have no idea how she will cope and how to help her.
Everything you describe (except the wetting) could definitely be part of dyspraxia. The wetting I am just not sure about, it could be too. I think it's worth exploring ways to make things easier for her if you can, to minimise frustration and support self esteem. For example you can get cutlery that is easier to use, either heavier cutlery or deeper cutlery. Look at sporks which are a cross between a spoon and a fork. For her fine motor skills which is what she needs for Lego/puzzles etc there are exercises to do to strengthen hand muscles eg using theraputty (playing with it, putting beads in it for her to pull out etc). There are also strategies to help with concentration and give her the ability to fidget a little (to get the stimulation she needs) without disrupting the class. Eg a wobble seat or fidget toy. Organisation wise you may have to go with single instructions rather than complex instructions. A visual timer may also work for her as she can see the time reducing to complete a given task. Occupational therapy can be really effective with all these difficulties. Where in the country are you? I can recommend an excellent centre in the North/North East or an individual OT practitioner in London otherwise. Overall looking for strategies to help my son with the things he struggles with (from books, other parents etc) has really made a difference to us as well as making sure school are on board and understanding/supportive. The label/name calling at school for example really isn't going to help! Hope this is somewhat helpful, do post more if you would like X
When it comes to the toilet thing it happens anywhere not just school. She claims that she doesn't need the toilet one minute and the next she is busting to go.
Ds1 likes very much to talk through things which are happening in the future, especially school timetables, whereas ds2 with Asperger's hates thinking about anything which might make him anxious, and puts his hands over his ears - we have to force him to talk through things to rationalise them, whereas ds1 is quite the opposite, he loves to discuss banal details in advance - I think it reassures him and "organises" his brain.
Ds1 is very organised in simple things, getting ready for school, knowing what is happening in school, but off with fairies if you ask him to think about something in which he is not interested or hasn't concentrated on, in fact he persistently fails to think out of the box on a lot of matters, which affects his academic performance. I'm the same, very focussed in some ways but completely erratic and distracted in others. Ds1 appears to be a daydreaming a lot of the time, when you want him to concentrate on something important like homework. He will often go off on a tangent and start talking about something that is of interest to him, instead, like the actors in the Walking Dead. Irritating but I'm sure he learns in his own way, Something!
Thank you for your replies, all very helpful.
I've heard of that too. It's an extension of the procrastination common in dyspraxia and as aPP said constantly putting it off has an impact on the brain/bladder communication
OT is really good, but get on the NHS list NOW! We found that our borough had a cutoff point of 11 years due to pressure on the service. Whereas we managed eventually to get Ds2 an OT after several years of NHS fobbing off, and their suggestions have been brilliant, goals, simple ways to promote independence, positive ways to get round difficulty instead of just try harder or give up. Ds1 was really too old for OT by the point we saw her through another route, and hated being singled out as having difficulties. She did suggest the straw and the working to Mozart though, and lots of chewing being beneficial, so not all bad.
I second/third OT - you should get a referral and they were incredibly helpful with my Dyspraxic DS. And if handwriting is an issue and as she's close to High School, ask about touch typing lessons/use of a laptop - that made a massive difference (he was able to use the laptops in GCSEs etc).
One thing re instructions - saying "can you clean your teeth, then find your PE kit and don't forget your homework" was pointless; he couldn't retain multiple instructions (still can't) and just gets distracted by anything or everything instead. So one thing at a time - once he's cleaned his teeth, then he's asked to find his PE kit etc etc. It takes bloody ages but is the only way to get anything done.
Very helpful thread. My ds is 5 and will be assessed next week. I can see a lot of the things mentioned here in him.
Dannygirl - please could I have details of your London OT?
User it was Emily Hills from Chiswick Children's Therapy, West London. Was 3-4 years ago but if you're struggling to find her I have friends who are still probably using children's OT and Physio services in London and I can ask around if helpful. Good luck X
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