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What is Developmental Dyspraxia?
Dyspraxia is an immaturity of the brain resulting in messages not being properly transmitted to the body. It affects at least 2% of the population in varying degrees and 70% of those affected are male. Dyspraxia is a disability but those affected do not look disabled. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage.
These are some of the problems caused by dyspraxia:
Confused about which hand to use
Difficulties throwing or catching a ball
Sensitive to touch
Find some clothes uncomfortable
Poor short term memory, they often forget tasks learned the previous day
Poor body awareness
Reading and writing difficulties
Cannot hold a pen or pencil properly
Poor sense of direction
Cannot hop, skip or ride a bike
Slow to learn to dress or feed themselves
Cannot answer simple questions even though they know the answers
Speech problems, slow to learn to speak or speech may be incoherent
Phobias or obsessive behaviour
Intolerance to having hair or teeth brushed, or nails and hair cut
Plasters are too uncomfortable to wear
Not all of these will apply to every dyspraxics, and many of these problems can be overcome in time, but also could be met by more problems
Older children are usually very verbally adept and converse well with adults. They may be ostracised by their own peer group because they do not fit in. They may cleverly avoid doing those tasks that are difficult or even impossible for them.
Dyspraxics can be of average or above intelligence but are often behaviourally immature. They try hard to fit in to the socially accepted behaviour when at school but often throw tantrums when at home. They may find it difficult to understand logic and reason.
Not all dyspraxics have all of these problems, but all have a common link.
Many parents of normal children will say that their children have some of these problems but if your child is dyspraxics, either diagnosed or not, you will know the difference between a normal child with any of these problems and a dyspraxics.
There is no cure for dyspraxia but the earlier a child is treated then the greater the chance of improvement. Occupational therapists, physiotherapists and extra help at school can all help a dyspraxics child to cope or overcome many difficulties. Sadly, a lot of the skills that we take for granted will never become automatic to a dyspraxics and they will have to be taught these skills.
The Dyspraxia Foundation wishes to help all dyspraxics and their families. We believe that promoting awareness will help diagnosed dyspraxics to be understood, which will in turn build up their self-esteem. We also know that there are a lot of dyspraxics children and adults who have gone unnoticed and we desperately want to let them know that there is a physical reason for their problems, and that they can get help or just meet and talk with other dyspraxics.
© adders.org 2004
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