Most parents want to do the very best for their children, but when parents aren’t sure what to look for when there is a potential issue, they need help. There are a lot of conditions that become apparent in childhood over any other time in life, and one of those conditions is dyspraxia. What exactly is dyspraxia, and what are common symptoms, treatment methods, and causes?
Intro to Developmental Coordination Disorder
Also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder, dyspraxia is not as well known as it ought to be. Given that there are some notable celebrities and people out there who handle dyspraxia and are still lauded for their work, it’s something that should be better known. Dyspraxia can cause problems from an early age, but there are some symptoms of dyspraxia that don’t become apparent until later in life.
What is Dyspraxia?
This condition is one that affects the fine motor skills and gross motor coordination of a child. It can also affect adults as some of the symptoms are not apparent until later life.
While Developmental Coordination Disorder is an umbrella term for a range of symptoms, there are other problems that affect people with dyspraxia. This can be anything from planning, organization, carrying out basic movements and even things to be done in everyday situations.
Following directions and even getting dressed properly is harder for those who are handling dyspraxia. This condition can also affect articulation, speech, thought, and perception.
It is something that can appear on its own but more often than not, it can move hand in hand with conditions such as ADHD, language disorders, and dyslexia. These conditions are collectively known as Specific Learning Differences.
Diagnosing Dyspraxia before treatment
Diagnosing dyspraxia isn’t easy in children under the age of five. That is because some of the noted difficulties can be related to other developmental delays and the lack of opportunities for skill development.
Plus, toddlers and children are also often clumsy due to learning how to be in the world. That doesn’t mean that diagnosing dyspraxia is impossible, of course. It just means that there has to be a little movement to ensure that the diagnosis is a correct one and not just something to brush aside.
Dyspraxia: The symptoms
Understanding the early symptoms of dyspraxia means that you can get help and support from an occupational therapist earlier than anticipated. Some of the earliest signs of dyspraxia include:
- A tendency to bump into things
- Fall more often
- Trip over things
Children also often have difficulty pedaling a bicycle and walking up and down flights of stairs. They likely have trouble throwing, catching, and kicking a ball too.
Of course, some of these challenges can be normal in the course of their development, but that doesn’t mean that dyspraxia should be taken off the table. Your child may also have issues with fine motor skills like coloring in and eating with the right cutlery. But this delay in hand dominance can be a red flag anyway.
Before talking about Dyspraxia treatment, let’s look at the potential causes.
What are the causes?
There is no exact known cause of dyspraxia, but the most common thought surrounding it is that there is a disruption in the way messages send from the brain to the extremities in the body.
Children are affected in their ability to perform movements that are smooth and coordinated. It’s also thought to be genetic, so if a parent or close relative has dyspraxia, it’s likely that a child will develop it. If you struggle with any of the above issues, then there is a good chance that your child will too.
About Dyspraxia treatment
This is not a curable condition, but children with dyspraxia do improve as they get older. Symptoms tend to lessen with the right occupational therapy and medical support, and these can all work to minimize the difficulties that dyspraxia can cause.
The good news is that there are a lot of activities that parents can do with their children to ensure that their day-to-day development gets the proper help. This includes things like drawing circles.
Other activities include playing catch with balloons and balls and playing games with bubbles. Children are often able to learn how to better coordinate themselves, and they are happy to work with you through play. The right occupational therapy team will be able to talk you through the exercises and games that you can play at home together.
The good news is that dyspraxia will not stop your child from having a normal life. Just look at Daniel Radcliffe! There may be some difficulties, but life can be almost as normal as possible.