Dyspraxia is a form of developmental coordination disorder (DCD) causing difficulties with gross and fine motor skills. It can also affect speech, perception and thought.
SUPPORTING STUDENTS MORE INFORMATION
Causes of dyspraxia
- Dyspraxia is a lifelong condition.
- Immaturity of neurone development in the brain may be responsible for DCD.
- There is a higher risk of developing dyspraxia when a baby is born prematurely, born with a low birth weight, where there is a history of dyspraxia in the family or where an expectant mother drinks alcohol or takes illegal drugs.
Symptoms of dyspraxia
- Poor co-ordination makes it difficult to jump, hop, catch or kick a ball.
- Students may find using scissors, writing neatly, threading beads or tying shoelaces difficult.
- Students may find walking up and down stairs difficult.
- Some students may find it difficult to concentrate.
- Some students may find it difficult to organise themselves.
- Some students may become frustrated and develop low self-esteem and behavioural problems.
- Older students may try to avoid having to write in lessons or taking part in physical education classes.
- Dyspraxia cannot be cured, but students can be helped to overcome the challenges they face.
- A small number of children may see symptoms diminish as they get older
- Most children will need professional help to reach their full potential.
- Making an early assessment is crucial to providing appropriate help.
- The most common intervention is a task-orientated approach. This involves working on specific tasks that cause difficulties and finding ways to overcome the difficulty.
- Tasks are generally broken down into small steps, teaching specific movements and practising regularly.
Supporting students with dyspraxia
Early identification and assessment
- Medical diagnosis via a GP with referral to a Paediatrician & Occupational Therapist (OT) will help a child access the help they need.
- A cognitive assessment by an educational psychologist or specialist teacher may highlight weaknesses in working memory and speed of processing.
Help with organisation
- Target support to identify an individual student’s strengths and weaknesses.
- A clear and predictable daily routine can help develop independence.
- Print out homework tasks or give out homework at the start of the lesson and allow time for students to seek clarification.
- Prompts to remember appropriate resources and help in organising work and notes are helpful.
Help in class
- Build in opportunities for students to practice task-oriented skills.
- When teaching writing skills use a multi-sensory letter formation, use sandpaper, rice trays and air writing.
- In PE help develop co-ordination with beanbag throwing, walking on a line and provide balance or wobble boards.
- Make eye contact before giving instructions, use straightforward language and give one or two-step instructions.
- Give time for processing and wait for a response.
- Give visual clues as well as oral instructions.
- A low stimulus learning environment will help if a student is easily distracted.
Information to help schools support children with Dyspraxia. Department for Education funded project to provide training and quality assured information about dyslexia and other SpLD for teachers and support staff.
Information to help schools support children with Dyspraxia.
Department for Education funded project to provide training and quality assured information about dyslexia and other SpLD for teachers and support staff.