Anyone got experience with Dyspraxia? Worried about 4 year old.

(29 Posts)
Aria2015 Tue 24-Sep-19 22:02:48

So my lo had an unexplained physical development delay that meant he was very behind with certain milestones like rolling and getting from laying down to sitting. He's had physio and is much improved. Still, even now, he's very slow at running, can't pedal on a bike or trike, can't hop on one foot and can't catch a ball. He really struggles to use a knife and fork and gets super frustrated and he can't get himself dressed, although can get undressed no problem from the waist down.

He's started school and they are struggling to get him to use a pen or pencil. He's always shown zero interest in colouring or any similar activities despite us having lots of stuff at home. He is also apparently not engaging with any of his peers or joining in any class activities. He gets frustrated easily and also doesn't like loud noises (although this isn't always the case). He also likes things to be 'his way' and struggles to share. He also likes routine - although enjoys new experiences and activities. He also hates PE and rarely joins in.

On the up side, he's very articulate and chatty - was an early talker. He also potty trained super quick. He has a great imagination and loves making up stories and role playing. He's affectionate and can concentrate well on playing (when it's something he's chosen). He plays well with slightly older children (who also enjoy a good chat!) and can play well one-on-one with other children. He also enjoys soft play. He also 'gets' humour and loves books being read to him.

I have however been reading about dyspraxia and I'm wondering if that might explain some of the difficulties he's having at school with making friends and writings and also the physical development side. Has anyone got any experience of it? Or advice? Is it possible he could have a few of a main symptoms but not all and still have it?

I was reading up about dyspraxia

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LIZS Tue 24-Sep-19 22:06:34

Possibly. You don't need all the traits. Have a look at the dyspraxia foundation website and visit gp eith a list of issues asking for referral.

Aria2015 Wed 25-Sep-19 07:23:56

I was wondering if I should let him go longer at school before making a gp appointment? He's seen a physio and paediatrician who put his physical slowness and awkwardness down to his personality but this was before he started school so didn't have the info about PE, how he is with School peers and learning to write.

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Grannybags Wed 25-Sep-19 07:34:19

Google SPD (sensory processing disorder). Your son sounds very like mine at that age. If you continue to have concerns then push for an assessment.
If it helps, my son is 11 now. Just started High School, excellent SATa results and doing really well. Still can’t ride a bike, tie shoelaces or use a knife properly but he doesn’t let it worry him.

LIZS Wed 25-Sep-19 07:41:58

Referrals can take a long time, better to get the process started.

Aria2015 Wed 25-Sep-19 08:26:25

Thanks for the responses, I appreciate you taking the time. He's already got an appointment with the paediatrician consultant in March and is still under the physio so we're already 'in the system' but I suppose the GP could recommend that his appointment be moved forward? The thing that confuses me is that some of the stuff he refuses to do at school like take part in singing or dancing, he does at home but I was wondering if he feels more secure at home doing those things because there are no other children to compare himself to? He's not especially clumsy and he's very cautious but I can see a marked difference physically in his abilities compared to other children his age. He's never been a tear around type of child so I've put a lot of it down to personality but I don't want his been perceived as awkward or lazy if there is a reason for him refusing to take part in things or getting easily frustrated. I'll speak to my GP and see if they can bring his appointment forward. Should I mention my concerns to the school?

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Grannybags Wed 25-Sep-19 08:43:09

Yes, talk to the school, both to his teacher and to the SENCO. They will be able to support both him and you and may suggest things you can do at home to help him.

BlankTimes Wed 25-Sep-19 10:29:31

Whilst you're waiting for any professional involvement :-

Ask school SENCO to try him with a selection of pencil grips to try and improve his control of his pen/pencil. They should have a few different sorts, otherwise look online.

Ask the physio to observe him and see if his unwillingness is an attention issue, a writing slope and knobbly cushion would help him to focus enough to write/draw if that's the case.

At home, try some Kura Care kids cutlery for him, it has specially shaped handles which again improve the grip and control, lots of suppliers if you google 'Kura Care kids cutlery'

I'd doubt if his paed appointment could be brought forward from March, the system is creaking under the number of referrals, average wait from enquiry at GP for referral to diagnosis is 18 months to 2 years, depending on where you live.
you can contact the Paed's secretary and say you can come at short notice if someone drops out if that's a possibility for you and your son, but a lot of other parents will also be doing that too.

Whilst you're waiting until March, do as much reading as you can on dyspraxia, autism and sensory processing disorder there are many shared traits with each of those conditions and a few others.

Aria2015 Wed 25-Sep-19 11:19:37

@BlankTimes thanks for your reply. I've actually already ordered him a variety of pencil grips to try, they should be arriving soon. I've just looked up the cutlery and ordered some too. The physio is usually happy for me to chat to her so I'll ring and speak to her about my concerns. I think you're right about his March appointment changing but good shout to ring and ask about any cancellations. Thanks so much for the advice.

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KisstheTeapot14 Wed 25-Sep-19 12:32:31

Sounds very like dyspraxia to me.

I work in an education library, and have a son with dyspraxia. Can recommend books and websites if you want me too.

Keep a diary/list of things he struggles with to talk to Senco and other professionals. There are lots of things you can do to help. I'll pop back here later and give you some starters for 10. Even if he hasn't got dyspraxia they are simple things that will help his areas of need. School should do the same. Extra Fine motor and gross motor in small group could help and he may be less self conscious if the other children also struggle.

Aria2015 Wed 25-Sep-19 17:08:44

@KisstheTeapot14 thank you! Any further advice would be most welcome!

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tempnamechange98765 Wed 25-Sep-19 19:45:47

Following because my DS sounds similar (although more social with peers) and has been referred to neuro development. I have been thinking he has ASD but a lot of the boxes he doesn't "fit". My DS is 4 at the end of the year.

Can I ask how old your DS was when he rolled/sat up/walked etc?

Also does he have any sensory seeking behaviours as well as his sensitivities?

Aria2015 Wed 25-Sep-19 20:26:51

@tempnamechange98765 my lo didn't roll until 18 months. He didn't crawl but he could walk from 14 months but couldn't get up from laying down to sitting / standing until 20 months. So he was in trouble every time he fell over as you can imagine! He doesn't have any other sensory issues I don't think. He doesn't like some loud noises but others he seems to tolerate fine. He's seen the paediatrician a few times and he made a point of saying that he had no concerns about autism. To be honest, before I had this feedback from the school I didn't have any major worries about him. I mean I could tell he's slower than other children physically but I know some people are more physical than others. He's also made great progress physically since he originally saw the paediatrician and physio so I suppose I was looking at that more that than what he can't do. Now I'm back to worrying!

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KisstheTeapot14 Wed 25-Sep-19 20:37:03

Our son has dyspraxia, as mentioned. He hates loud noises like hand dryers or fireworks. Freaked out. Walked at 18 months, did crawl. Not crawling can be a dyspraxia thing. Actually is a good excercise for older kids - we do bear walk and crab football and throw and catch on knees. All great for pelvis/shoulders. work on ball skills just rolling to each other and try bean bag animals - more forgiving to catch. Charity shops are your friend here. throw into a big box or at a target. Try sporty things he likes - we still go to soft play, 'swim' in little pool and footy in the park. Try a 3 wheel scooter - we had one with two wheels at back and it was stable but great for confidence. forget pens for now. playdough and pastry are fine. build hand muscles and dexterity. stickle bricks etc

Aria2015 Wed 25-Sep-19 21:11:53

@KisstheTeapot14 thanks for those suggestions, I'll definitely give them a try. I'm not sure if the noise is a sensory thing or just a usual 4 year old thing. He doesn't getting his hair dried with a hairdryer for example and is excited by fireworks (although I put defenders on him), he also enjoys being the car horn which is pretty loud. I suppose it's more sudden / unexpected noises he's sensitive to now i think of it. It's a relief to hear you say forget the pen for now - his teacher was saying how easy it is for kids to fall behind and I was panicking but he's only just started school so surely that can't happen just yet? Will concentrate on things he does like. I have a scooter for him which we could definitely try using more and he does like play doh so could do that more often too. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

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LIZS Wed 25-Sep-19 21:30:45

There are ideas for activities on the Dyspraxia Foundation website for fine and gross motor skills, core strength, planning - like drawing letters with finger in wet sand, throwing/catching, games and puzzles. Can the school learning a pctivities be adapted? Was he assessed for hypermobility? Does he tire easily and walk/run awkwardly perhaps? Can he sit still and concentrate at circle time or does he fidget? Something like a move n sit cushion may give sensory feedback to help and he should be well supported on a chair with feet flat on the floor. Does he need a lot of reminding of what he is supposed to be doing next? Even if not dyspraxic in the end these strategies may be useful in the meantime.

tempnamechange98765 Wed 25-Sep-19 21:32:12

My DS wasn't as late, he rolled at 6-7 months, sat at 8 months, crawled at 11 months and walked at almost 19 months. He's still noticeably behind his peers with a lot of things though like running, climbing. He has a weak core for sure.

Our sons sound similar in lots of ways though, the humour, creative play (I was worried about this but he seems to be really progressing, and he's not 4 until the end of the year), chatty and articulate, affectionate, loves stories, potty trained easily. These are the things that make me doubt and ASD and I have considered dyspraxia before, although my DS doesn't seem overly "clumsy" (mind you he knocks drinks over a lot! But so do I grin).

Aria2015 Wed 25-Sep-19 21:44:44

@LIZS The paediatrician and physio have both physically examined him and watched him run and do other things and they've never mentioned hypermobility? They said he's got an inefficient run which is why he gets tired easily but have put it down to his personality just saying 'some children just aren't that physical and prefer to do more static activities' although they have encouraged us to get him moving by doing stuff he enjoys which we do do.

He does get tired easily and doesn't like walking for long periods. He'll ask to be carried which we twists. He sits still at home playing and sits beautifully if we go out for dinner etc... but he struggles in circle time to stay quiet but they haven't mentioned if he finds it hard to sit still during it?

He follows instructions well, I can ask him to go to the fridge and get this and that or to take clothes upstairs and put them in the wash basket. He also has a good memory of people and places and if I say 'tomorrow we'll do such and such' he remembers the next day. I don't find myself reminding him to do stuff that I've noticed.

I'll look at the Dyspraxia Foundation website. I've also recently ordered some toys which are meant to help with motor skills.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

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Aria2015 Wed 25-Sep-19 21:58:00

@tempnamechange98765 yes they do sound similar. I haven't been concerned about ASD because he just doesn't have a lot of the main traits. He 'gets' feelings, can see from my facial expression if I'm happy, upset or cross. He'll ask if I'm upset or cross at appropriate times and say that he wants me to be happy. He can articulate his feelings too and will reciprocate a smile and affection. He is also spontaneous with his playing and imaginative. He'll dress up and put on voices pretending to be a monster or dog for example. It's odd to me that he doesn't interact with children at school because he's otherwise friendly with other children but it's usually in a small group or one-on-one. His conversations seem appropriate and social. He'll ask questions and seem interested in their replies for example.

He does struggle to share if left to his own devices but he's young and an only child so not sure if that's just usual? If I'm around and remind him to share then he does (albeit reluctantly!).

It's really the physical stuff. It's almost like he has no clue what a body can be capable of doing so he moves awkwardly and slowly. Other children, literally run rings around him. He can do things like thread string through a small hole in a bead but can't use pincer tongs to pick something up for example. He definitely lacks strength in his core and hands - the physio told me that but she thought it would improve with practice. These physical issues coupled with his behaviour at school is what's making me wonder if he could have dyspraxia. Like a previous poster said, there are things we could do that would hopefully improve things and not be wasted efforts even if he doesn't have it.

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tempnamechange98765 Wed 25-Sep-19 22:12:39

They sound SO similar! My DS is also good at reading my emotions, he says things like mummy why are you cross just from my face and things like where's your smile grin (more ASD boxes that he doesn't tick). He even puts on voices to be a monster/dog! All typical little boy play I guess. He doesn't like dressing up all that much, which actually I've read kids with dyspraxia do avoid.

That's interesting what you say about not knowing what his body can do. My DS has only just started nursery attached to his future school (although he's been to a pre school setting and private day nursery before) so WRT pens etc, it's early days. He's got no interest in drawing/colouring though, unless forced encouraged. I'll be interested to see how it pans out.

Is your DS slow to move/get going generally? Eg when you're leaving the house, does it take an age to actually get him out the door, as if he just has no urgency, ever? My DS is just like this, and it drives me nuts. Even when we've picked him up from nursery etc, he's so slow exiting and walking down the path. My DH is a bit like this (too laid back!) so I thought maybe he'd just inherited it.

Is late potty training usually linked to dyspraxia? My DS was potty trained at 2.5, very easily, although he still withholds his poo sometimes. He just doesn't tick all of the boxes for anything but I feel something is a bit...off.

tempnamechange98765 Wed 25-Sep-19 22:27:07

Grannybags did your DS get a diagnosis of SPD? I thought it was diagnosed only as part of the autistic spectrum (rather than standalone)?

Aria2015 Wed 25-Sep-19 22:31:24

@tempnamechange98765 they're very similar! When I say dressing up - he has a few really easy outfits (just Velcro up over clothes) so nothing elaborate!

Yes! He's slow paced getting out the house. I have to always allow for loads of time, can never rush him anywhere! As long as we have time then it's fine, otherwise it's so stressful if we have to rush! It takes an hour from me waking him to getting out the door every morning. He only needs to get dressed, eat breakfast and brush his teeth!

My lo also potty trained quickly and easily at about 2 years and 9 months. He got the hang of it straight away but it took him months and months before he was able to pull his pants and trousers up on his own. He was probably 3.5 before he could do it without any issue. He seemed to lack the strength in his hands and the coordination / movement to reach around and pull up the back of his pants / trousers.

I just feel that other children his age seem to do a lot of the physical stuff he struggles with effortlessly and almost without thinking. That's what keeps ringing bells with me - I find it hard to just put it down to his personality. It seems like a genuine struggle. He's come a long way but now he's in school it's highlighting the differences more.

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tempnamechange98765 Thu 26-Sep-19 07:04:29

Yes I think it takes us about an hour! It's mainly getting dressed, DS can dress himself (excluding socks, they're just "too tricky") but it takes an absolute age and he'll be half naked and just start playing with a toy. It requires so much patience and I often end up getting cross which I know I shouldn't!

Yes I know exactly what you mean about the physical stuff. For ages I put it down to my DS not walking until almost 19 months, but he's been walking for over 2 years now and I feel he should have caught up.

Let us know how you get on with your DS.

Aria2015 Thu 26-Sep-19 07:21:09

@tempnamechange98765 that's with me dressing lo haha! I will keep you posted of his progress. Going to try and ring the physio today to ask some more questions!

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KisstheTeapot14 Thu 26-Sep-19 09:51:03

Slow getting out of the house - tick

Not knowing what your body can do - tick

Ours hated climbing frames. Now I know a bit about proprioception (being aware of where your body is in space - the things we take for granted huh?) I see where he was coming from.

Useful tip with clothes is the backwards chaining technique - so buttons - adult aligns button with hole and holds it ready - child works on the last bit of the move, pulling the button through hole, once they get this bit, they add the step before. Good for zips too. You can get teddy bear or doll with clothes to have a go in a playing mode too.

Another useful clothes tip - lay out jumper on bed back to front (front of jumper lies on bed) so that the child doesn't need to think about which way - help them pick up jumper and put head through, then arms. Lay out clothes in order that they are going to go on - pants at top of pile.

It may take a few years but they will get it - this works with most routines, Routines are great for regular work on a skill, so build them into your day. We have almost cracked independent drinking (age 9!)

Need to have a go at shoe laces!

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