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Dyspraxia and seeing

(63 Posts)
aloha Tue 07-Jun-05 21:06:53

Hi Saker!

Ok, can't post much tonight as off for dinner, but yes, ds doesn't follow a point at all well even now (4 in Sept) and will point very, very vaguely. He can't find ANYTHING - even stuff that's right in front of him, is hopeless with jigsaws as finds it so hard to see the pattern if it's not joined up...does any of this sound familiar? Do you think it's part of dyspraxia?

Jimjams Tue 07-Jun-05 22:38:39

Aloha- a really interesting book/person to talk to is "a positive approach to autism" by Stella Waterhouse. if you want to talk to her I can ring her (or you can- her numbers in the back of the book- but tell her I told you to talk to her). Despite the title the book mentions dyspraxia and talks about the sensory problems in autism and dypraxia (roughly the same but kcking in at a later age in autism according to her). She is lovely lovely lovely and I can recommend talking to her. She's written stuff about dyspraxia as well.

aloha Tue 07-Jun-05 22:52:07

Really seeing the sensory stuff now. He can't walk down the street without pressing himself against the walls/trees -its as if he doesn't feel safe in space unless he is pressing against something. Also, in the park he will lay flat down on the ground and loves the sensation. It's - I think - a bit like being blind - you have to 'feel' where you are in space because your other senses don't process the environment well and you don't feel safe. His depth perception is definitely askew as well. He is afraid of falling a lot of the time when in motion. Will hardly ever use both hands for anything. He does really benefit from being with other children but is better with girls or younger children who don't challenge him as much physically. He's a wonderful boy, he really is, but now dd is here can see the differences more clearly and I can see her overtaking him which is a bit sad. I shouldn't say that to you Jimjams as I know your situation is more extreme. Stella W sounds interesting. I don't think the people who have encountered ds really understand his issues, iykwim.

Saker Tue 07-Jun-05 23:02:33


Yes Ds2 still can't follow a point, he gets quite panicked if you point and starts turning frantically round looking. Equally he doesn't point apart from in books and then he uses his thumb sometimes or all his fingers and he touches the page. Interestingly if I point to a picture on a page and ask him to name it, sometimes he names the picture next to it like he can't quite work out what you are pointing to. The pointing stuff is one of the things that makes the clinical pyschologist talk about whether he is on the autistic spectrum. But I really don't think he is autistic and he is always verbally pointing ("There's a lady with a dog, what's that man doing" etc). I suspect he doesn't point because he finds it hard to line up with the thing he can see plus he finds it hard to isolate the right finger which is why he uses his thumb. (He has poor fine motor skills). I would be interested to know if anyone else with dyspraxic children has seen a similar thing.

Saker Tue 07-Jun-05 23:06:58

Also Ds2's depth perception is poor; I remember watching him when he was first learning to go upstairs, he would lift each foot well above the stair then drop it down.

Jigsaws is a funny thing. Ds2 couldn't do them at all and that was one of the multitude of things that bothered me so I used to practise with him a lot and he got quite good to the exclusion of everything else. Since his confidence and play have developed more he has stopped doing jigsaws and when I got some out yesterday he was very poor again and struggling with only 4 pieces. And he has no concept of using the box to help him.

He's not too bad at finding things in a familiar place but doesn't seem to be able to scan a room and see something.

Saker Tue 07-Jun-05 23:08:59

Still me going on - I agree so much about people not really understanding - even the OT and PT don't really seem to grasp how hard it is for Ds2 to do really simple things. We get given all these sheets with activities like cutting out biscuits, or copying designs on pegboards and that is way beyond him to manipulate those things.

Jimjams Wed 08-Jun-05 09:51:12

aloha- you may also enjoy the book by Lucy Balckman- adventures in autism \link{\here). Again autism (non verbal in her case- although she can type now) but she never knows where she is in space, and describes her sensory problems very well. She's the author most like ds1- but a lot of these problems sound similar anyway. Maybe Stella's right and ds1's just kicked in at an earlier age?

Jimjams Wed 08-Jun-05 09:51:34

try again

Jimjams Wed 08-Jun-05 09:52:22

Saker too- although a lot of the behaviours sound similar to aloha's ds1. Lucy talks about not being able to see something until she'd touched it for example.

Jimjams Wed 08-Jun-05 09:53:48

Saker- a lot of ds1's problems are caused by depth perception- I particularly realise how many now I've read Lucy's book. He used to have trouble moving from carpet to wooden floor for example

Saker Wed 08-Jun-05 10:11:33

Thanks Jimjams, it looks interesting.

Ds2 also needs a lot of physical input - he likes to run his hands along walls and things when we go past, spends a lot of time rolling on the floor, cushions, often sleeps with his head pressed up against the end of the bed and loves "squeezies" where I hug him really tight. He fits a lot with the picture of a child with problems with vestibular integration as described in the Out of Sync child. Interestingly she suggests that problems with vestibular integration and auditory processing can affect language and ability to answer questions, hold a conversation etc all of which fits with Ds2. Ds2 also does this thing she describes of running up and down while talking which stimulates the vestibular system and helps to get the words out.

Davros Wed 08-Jun-05 10:41:30

My DS also does this thing where he needs to touch things to "know" where he is in space iyswim. He is like a pinball going down a corridor! But his fine and gross motor skills are excellent, the only thing about his chronological age I think. If he could understand rules he would be a great sportsman. If the Paralympics hadn't banned people with learning disability I would suggest we put together an UNsynchronised trampolining team! I hope London DOES get the 2012 Olympics so we can do something about this.

Davros Wed 08-Jun-05 10:41:56

ABOVE his chronological age I mean.

Saker Wed 08-Jun-05 11:00:57

As I understand it visual tracking and perception problems can be part of dyspraxia, which is why I was suggesting that it might be worth taking your ds to see a behavioural optometrist at some point Aloha. He may still be a bit too young for them to do much but it may be that he will have problems looking from board to page at school etc. I had Ds2 booked in to see one and she started with basic eyesight tests (which are free at this age) and we were going to go back for some more sometime. I haven't been in a hurry because I think Ds2 won't co-operate and some of the tests are for older children anyway. But it might be worth enquiring.

Plus, has he had his normal vision tested? It would be worth just checking he can actually see (sometimes the explanation is the most simple).

Saker Wed 08-Jun-05 11:03:18

Another thing my Ds2 seems to have problems with is recognising faces (I know this can be quite an autistic thing). Yesterday we were looking at pictures of the family on the computer and he actually failed to recognise me in one of them . But then in another he did. And he has been known to slip his hand into another mother's in the playground (which can be very embarassing).

Jimjams Wed 08-Jun-05 12:45:36

sorry hijack? What??? paralympics banned learning disabilities? why??? DS1 is incredibly fast, and dh is sad that he'll never be able to use that speed in football/rugby.

LIZS Wed 08-Jun-05 12:53:13

sorry , can I just hijack - can anyone point me in the direction of a Behavioural Opthamologist please ?

ds has Ocular Tracking problems which are not improving with his OT exercises. Similar to Aloha's ds, he has sensory and motor issues but no actual diagnosis of Dyspraxia. Is there a particular qualification or directory of those who practice in this field ?

Saker Wed 08-Jun-05 13:13:47

try this website - it has a list of registered behavioural optometrists.

LIZS Wed 08-Jun-05 13:18:56

Thank you, that is great ! One is quite close to mil.

misdee Wed 08-Jun-05 13:21:23

wow. its like your describing my dd2 i nsome ways.

she has eye clinic soon and has been referred back to the hospital

what age did you notice a difference aloha?

Davros Wed 08-Jun-05 13:44:07

Jimjams, hijack..... I heard at an NAS meeting that this was so and that they are lobbying hard about it. Apparently you can't trust those learning disableds, there might not be anything wrong with them at all...... I don't believe its been changed so far. I think there was some cheating at the last one wasn't there? A "disabled" team from China or something, full of ringers. Will try to get an update.

aloha Wed 08-Jun-05 22:39:22

Hi Saker, yes he can see. He can read words in reasonably small print - he just doesn't seem to know how to 'look' - I go mad with frustration sometimes when he can't find something that is literally next to his hand. Not fair, but sometimes I feel my blood pressure soaring. And today he got tar all over a lovely shirt because he did his leaning stuff on old railway sleepers in a garden!
Ds gets people mixed up too Saker. I'll test him on recognising me tomorrow! Has thought all sorts of people in photos are daddy - some noticeably less flattering than others
Sometimes he pretends he has seen something I've been pointing at when he hasn't. Think he finds it a bit stressful sometimes. I remember once trying to get him to look a bloody great RAINBOW in a huge expanse of sky and I know he couldn't see it at all.
I will think about getting those books Jimjams...sometimes I really don't want to thought iykwim.
Misdee - hard to tell. He didn't roll over or crawl and hated being on his front - wouldn't raise his head up at all. Walked later than my NCT group's kids. This not very late at all really - but he never seemed enthusiastic or excited by it. Used to lie down an awful lot for a toddler. Just different. Put him in a door bouncer and he'd just hang there! He seemed socially immature with children though very engaged with adults with excellent speech and vocabulary. He's an old-fashioned, bright, eccentric child in many ways, which I find charming even though I do think he is 'different' and you sort of don't really want that for your child usually. Not sure he is old enough for a behavioural opthamologist but will print this off and keep it for when he is about to go to school.
Ds definitely finds it hard to find the right finger for pointing. Also he CANNOT do a social smile to order. He cannot smile for the camera for example - just does a really odd grimace. Think this must be dyspraxic - cannot work out what muscles to use to create the effect. It is quite odd. He always looks v solemn in photos - or quite strange!

Saker Wed 08-Jun-05 22:54:49

I know it can all get a bit stressful at times. Ds2 is quite big for his age and he is not far off 4 now and I am really starting to get fed up of carrying him and lumping him around generally. He does this thing when you get him dressed where he puts all his weight on your arms so you can't pull his trousers up or anything and if you let go he would just fall over. However we have got a Major Buggy which is a dream and he is also walking a lot further so we are gradually progressing.

Had an umpteenth SALT assessment today (we have had many asssessments but no therapy). Finally they have said that Ds2 can have some regular SALT input. Remains to be seen exactly what that means.

It's interesting what you say about the smiling thing Aloha. Does you ds speak clearly? Ds2's problems with speech sounds are probably oral dyspraxia.

jenweber630 Thu 09-Jun-05 00:27:23

Hello Saker and Aloha - I was a pediatric speech therapist in the US in my life before baby (ds is 6 months old). This all sounds related - often if there is discoordination in one area there is in another - very frustrating that you're getting evaluations but no treatment!! If the diagnosis is verbal dyspraxia, treatment is successful but it's a long road... Plus, it seems like seeing an occupational therapist with experience in sensory integration would be necessary as well... Feel free to CAT me if you want any other info... Good luck getting help!

LIZS Thu 09-Jun-05 08:11:22

Aloha, can totally relate to the smile/girmace thing. ds can smile beautifully spontaneously but ask him to do it to order and you get a slightly weird contortion.

Funnily he seemed ok physically up until he walked. Reading Madeleine Portwood's book (it has taken me over a year to reach a point where I was even comfortable enough to buy it!) we start to relate to things she mentions from about 18 months onwards although I now think some sensory issues were evident before then (dislike of snow, wouldn't walk barefoot or crawl on grass, wouldn't eat pasta etc). However he loved puzzles, lego, shape sorters etc and sat and rolled slightly earlier than some of his peers, so it is hard to reconcile this with his later issues.

He has been having Sensory Integration therapy for the past year and as a result, at just 7, is now starting to ride a bike on his own, can tie shoe laces and drawcords and will try to bounce a ball along, although team sports are a challenge still because of his slow reaction times and inability to anticipate actions of others.

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