Dyspraxia is a neurological disorder of the brain in childhood causing difficulty in activities requiring coordination and movement.
Dyspraxia affects around six per cent of the population and up to two per cent quite severely. In basic terms, it is a neurological condition which can make even basic activities challenging and difficult. Medically speaking it is described as a ‘an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement’, however it may also cause difficulties with language, perception and thought.
Children with dyspraxia can face a variety of challenges related to their difficulty with movement and coordination, there are however strategies that you can use at home to help your child.
Children with dyspraxia may struggle to eat their food without unintentionally making a bit of a mess. To help make mealtimes easier for your child, you could put a damp flannel under their plate (so it does not slip), use a cup with two handles so it is easier for your child to hold it and look to use a deep plate with a rim to minimise spillages.
Practise Skills with you child
Spending quality time with your child, can make a huge difference and is great fun for you both. Many activities advocated by therapists and physios are aimed at effectively rewiring your child’s brain and will inevitably amuse and entertain them. Regularly carrying out activities that develop fine motor skills such as playing games, drawing on a Kids Whiteboard, painting or colouring can be extremely beneficial.
Encourage activities to enhance co-ordination.
Going swimming, teaching your child to ride a bike or just getting outside and playing ball in the garden can make a big difference. Physically showing children by moving their limbs has proven to be much more effective than simply showing them how to do it. When a child has dyspraxia, repeating an action over time can reinforce the relevant brain pathways.
Help them learn necessary social skills.
Children with dyspraxia may be quite clumsy in social environments, they could have poor spatial awareness or find it tricky to read emotions. To help with this issue, it is imperative that you encourage your child to make friends and take part in activities outside of school and outside of the home.
Professional support for parents of children with dyspraxia is available from the Dyspraxia Foundation. Their helpline offers help and advice to adults, parents, carers and families on and about dyspraxia and is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm; call 01462 454986.
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