Dyspraxia in children

Dyspraxia is a disability that affects the motor skills in many people. It is usually diagnosed in early childhood and tends to affect more males than females. Some of the earliest signs of dyspraxia in children may begin very early on. When a child is still a baby, dyspraxia symptoms can begin to surface when an infant or toddler is slow to sit up, crawl or walk, or cannot hold onto their bottles, cups or toys.

Dyspraxia effects the coordination, balance, speech, short-term memory and vision in many children. Once the child becomes older, dyspraxia symptoms may develop into other forms. Both the fine motor skills and gross motor skills will be affected by the dyspraxia making the symptoms more obvious. Difficulty with skills that take more detail and concentration will be noticed. Tasks such as talking, writing, getting dressed, tying shoe strings, brushing teeth, running, riding bikes, working puzzles, and many other seemingly easy tasks will be extremely frustrating and difficult for a child with dyspraxia. A child with dyspraxia may appear that both sides of their body are not working together. This can cause an awkward appearance. Their walk may be different and disorganized. Speech may also be disorganized since children with the condition have a hard time stating what they are thinking. Putting their thoughts into words is often challenging. Children with dysplaxia may choose not to participate in social gatherings or games with others. They feel out of place and tend to get frustrated easily.

Dyspraxia can also manifest into other problems. Hypersensitivity, obsessions and paranoia’s are often common as well. Children may not be able to tolerate the feel of clothing on their skin or they may not like being touched. They can also develop sensitivities to light, sound, smells, tastes and temperature. They may have trouble focusing on objects and lose concentration very easily.

Unfortunately, many children that suffer from dyspraxia are often teased by other children or labeled as the “clumsy” kid. Years ago, dyspraxia was labeled as the “Clumsy Child Syndrome”. Although more is known about the condition now, other children do not understand and may not be sensitive to a child who suffers from the condition. This can cause a child to feel depressed or become withdrawn, often having problems at home or strongly disliking school.

These are just some of the signs and symptoms of dysplaxia. Not every child will develop the same symptoms however these are a few of the common characteristics that may be noticed. If you notice your child showing the signs of dysplaxia it is a good idea to discuss the symptoms with the child’s pediatrician. With early treatment and therapy, children with dysplaxia can learn to cope with and manage their condition.

Once a diagnosis of dyspraxia has been made, a child may start speech therapy, physical therapy, psychological therapy or occupational therapy. All of these therapies can prove beneficial in helping a child learn how to deal with daily tasks and challenges throughout their lifetime. Learning basic coping skills at a young age is the key to helping children with dysplaxia function more normally and become productive adults later in life.

Since having a child with dysplaxia can be challenging and often frustrating, there are support groups that parents can join in order to meet other families that are facing the same situations. These are great places for advice on dysplaxia and for making friends that understand what you are going through. Support groups can be found locally or online. Although dyspraxia can be hard to deal with at times, children with supportive and patient families do much better and are more likely to thrive and learn to manage their condition.

Last updated on Sep 30th, 2009 and filed under Other Conditions & Diseases. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Response for “Dyspraxia in children”

  1. Leslie Costello says:

    I think my 5 year old has dyspraxia. Not all of the symptoms, but the clumsy and awkward movements and the difficulty with speaking the thoughts in his head. He does tend to turn his head instead of his eyes. He does not look you directly in the eyes when asked. He falls over fresh air. He is adopted, and was born heavily on methamphetamine from the birth mother using. We have had his eyes checked and all was well with that, so we did not know what else to think other than he is a drug baby with issues. His pre-school teacher is the one who has always said that it might be dyspraxia, but in doing a bit of research on it, I am now almost convinced she might be right. He is in kindergarten now and he has not improved with aging out of the symptoms…what can we do?? We have him in Tae Kwon Do to help, but he is still slow with the physical aspect of the movements.

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