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Is 14 too late to do anything about dyspraxia?(19 Posts)
My dd (8) has dyspraxia. We do games etc at home but, to be honest, I can't see a teenager being too thrilled about playing 'throw the ball at the target'
We have found that a slanted writing board helps with handwriting (about a fiver in Ikea) as do pens which don't require a lot of pressure.
Our OT said that swimming is one of the best things to help co-ordination.
Sorry, I'm not a lot of help.Hope you get some good ideas from others.
Our OT said most of the kids she saw were 7-8, but she did also see teenagers, so no, I don't think it's too late
ds is 12 and only got the extra dx of dyspraxia about a year ago
We had a set of exercises to do...but they are very time consuming and quite hard to get a less than willing older child to do. He did them for 6 months and then the TA and i kind of bargained with him that if he took up a regular exercise regime that he could stop the daily exercises at home
She recommended (on top of general activities)
Scootering...He's ok at this, likes this and now scoots if we need to go anywhere.
Running ....no way was that ever going to happen. He seems to have a pathological hate for it. Plus he kinda gallops sideways with flappy hands...it seemed a huge struggle to actually get him to do proper running..so we gave up.
Trampolining...biggest hit..we have an indoors one (sort of a cross between a trampette and a trampoline) which he bounces on.... a lot
Swimming... He's not keen but we make him swim lengths...every week. Sometimes we have to bargain with him (he has asd too). He can swim (rather bad technique...has no awareness of what he looks like in the water) but he now does 12 lengths when he goes. Still looks like he's drowning though! In fact a whippersnapper life guard came up and asked if he could 'actually swim properly and should he be in the deep end?' when we first started going.I think he's twigged that he has special needs now though because he's stopped staring.
Stressballs and those twisty clicky toy things have been good for his hands....he likes fiddling with them.
Extra time for exams ? will your boy get that?...so that he can write neater without panicking so much about time? (because as soon as he has to go fast ds's writing goes really bad). The ot did a writing test and measured neat/legible words per min.
ds gets extra time anyway (because of his other probs) but his friend who has mild dypraxia also gets it.
I'd try grips on the pens, and a writing slope. If you have any of the big lever arch folders around, you can try that first before splashing out. I'd try a grip like these which ensures the fingers have to go in exactly the right positions. ds1 developed an odd grip with hisn thumb too far forward because of his dyspraxia and hypermobility.
I'd try a few different pens and see what helps. in our case we've found ds tends to press too hard, so something that doesn't require a lot of pressure is helpful.
And tell him, that computer games and fine motor controls aren't that closely linked! ds1 loves his video games, but still can't write. W
If he won't do swimming, how about some sort of martial arts? That would be great for improving motor control.
You might find that with grippers and a slope you see a big improvements right away, it was amazing what difference it can make.
The ot recommended putting a peg onto ds's pen...so that it sat in his palm and his fingers closed around it.
It did make his grip much better
But he wouldn't use it in the classroom ..and i just made the decision that it wasn't worth the battle.
Might be worth a go though?
I'm sure there's plenty you could do still. You might get some useful info from the Dyscovery Centre website. They have quite a lot of resources, books, equipment available. I am sure you should be entitled to see an NHS OT, but it will probably be a fight and I can understand if you don't have the energy to take it on. If you could afford a private OT, even for a one-off session, you could get some advice.
Sorry meant to say also, that trunk and pelvic stability has a big effect on handwriting and fine motor control, so it might be that you need to get some exercises to work on these also.
DS has been using a pencil grip which has helped. If your DS doesn't want to use one, can you get a triangular pencil/pen for him?
Can you get an appointment to see an OT? DS has been seeing one for 6 weeks and the improvement is remarkable. Would he let you brush him? I've been doing this at home and noticed an improvement (doing homework quickly, actually swimming alone just a couple of examples) after a week. Trampoline, rolling about on a therapy ball, being 'squashed' under cushions will also help but getting an OT to tell you what to do specifically for your DS and for his age is best, if you can. To answer your OP, it is never too late.
Oh yes, as Saker says, building upper body strength has also helped esp handwriting: walking on hands or bearing weight on them is a good one.
I seem to remember that this book "Developmental Dyspraxia: Identification and Intervention: A Manual for Parents and Professionals" by Madeleine Portwood has a chapter about how to help older children and you probably already know about the Dyspraxia Foundation's website. Good luck
Riven: you say "PE lessons were a unco-ordinated nightmare" - is he no longer having them?
Does his school do cycling proficiency?
How is his organization and motivation both at school and also with homework?
I should add that I'm twice the age of your DS and my university allows me the use of a computer in examinations, so you should ask DS's school to fund that or a scribe - funnily enough, they may suddenly find it easier to sort out his handwriting...
There's little you can probably do at home IMO, but between now and the GCSEs you can see what you can do re additional time for the exams. This is something the school will probably have to initiate, and has to be OKd by the exam board, but if you have a diagnosis and can get the paed to write in support you'd be in with a good chance.
DS2 (11) got additional time, a scribe for some papers and the use of a laptop for his SATS recently.
My DS1 has dyspraxia and they won't be interested in him after Junior school as they don't have the resources. He has a course of therapy now and it is helping but I do worry about him at secondary.
Can they not even refer you for a one-off appointment with an OT? They could set up a programme for him to do which might help.
I would be pushing the SENCO to acknowledge he has a dx and get him extra time with exams. They can have a scribe, use a laptop and have extra time if needs be.
Can your DS touch type - at the last OT appointment we kind of gave up on getting DS to have cursive writing and now we are going back to block writing but they want him to learn to touch type as he could use a laptop efficiently then. That might be a better use of his time than trying to write neatly.
There is a free, albeit slightly childish course, on the BBC website.
I do think you have to work on the SENCO though - it isn't for her/him to decide if your DS is bad enough - he has a dx so should be given help even if that just means doing his homework on computer or something.
We have a good kid's typing programme - which your Ds2 might like since he enjoys computer games. It's called "Typing with Timon and Pumba". I know your Ds2 is a bit old for Lion King but all the same, it is set up as a series of games, so it's quite fun if he can get past the Disney element. Even if he is not allowed to type at school at the moment I think it will make a big difference to him in the future. (IMO all children should learn to type properly - it should be part of the national curriculum!).
Conductive Education (see my other post specifically about the centre that I work at in Herefordshire) can be very effective for Dyspraxia and 14 is certainly not too old. Don't know where you are specifically, if you are in the Herefordshire/Shropshire area then look at our website (www.meganbakerhouse.org.uk), if not then you can look on the Foundation for Conductive Education website www.conductive-education.org.uk) for a list of centres in your area, some of which may have Dyspraxia sessions (not all do).
Hope this helps.
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