From SEN Wiki
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Symptoms
- 3 Classroom Strategies
- 4 Sources / Further Reading
- The word “dyspraxia” comes from the Greek words dys meaning bad and praxis, meaning action or deed. Dyspraxia is also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD).
- It has been described as a “difficulty getting our bodies to do what we want when we want them to do it”, a difficulty that can be considered significant when it interferes with the normal range of activities expected of a child of their age. Dyspraxia can adversely affect speech and language, fine motor control and gross motor coordination.
- Students with an official diagnosis of dyspraxia qualify for extra time in public examinations.
Gross Motor Control
- Poor balance. Difficulty in riding a bicycle, going up and down hills
- Poor posture and fatigue.
- Difficulty in standing for a long time as a result of weak muscle tone.
- Floppy, unstable round the joints.
- Some people with dyspraxia may have flat feet
- Poor integration of the two sides of the body.
- Difficulty with some sports involving jumping and cycling
- Poor hand-eye co-ordination.
- Difficulty with team sports especially those which involve catching a ball and batting.
- Difficulties with driving a car
- Lack of rhythm when dancing, doing aerobics
- Clumsy gait and movement. Difficulty changing direction, stopping and starting actions
- Exaggerated 'accessory movements' such as flapping arms when running
- Tendency to fall, trip, bump into things and people
Fine Motor Control
- Lack of manual dexterity.
- Poor at two-handed tasks, causing problems with using cutlery, cleaning, cooking, ironing, craft work, playing musical instruments
- Poor manipulative skills. Difficulty with typing, handwriting and drawing. May have a poor pen grip, press too hard when writing and have difficulty when writing along a line
- Inadequate grasp. Difficulty using tools and domestic implements, locks and keys
- Difficulty with dressing and grooming activities, such as putting on makeup, shaving, doing hair, fastening clothes and tying shoelaces
- In the context of a school, the student may encounter difficulties...
- with playground activities such as hopping, jumping, running, and catching or kicking a ball – they often avoid joining in because of their lack of co-ordination and may find physical education difficult
- walking up and down stairs
- writing, drawing and using scissors – their handwriting and drawings may appear scribbled and more childish than other children their age
- getting dressed, doing up buttons and tying shoelaces
- keeping still – they may swing or move their arms and legs a lot
- A child with DCD may appear awkward and clumsy as they may bump into objects, drop things and fall over a lot.
Speech and Language
- May talk continuously and repeat themselves. Some people with dyspraxia have difficulty with organising the content and sequence of their language
- May have unclear speech and be unable to pronounce some words
- Speech may have uncontrolled pitch, volume and rate
- Tracking. Difficulty in following a moving object smoothly with eyes without moving head excessively.
- Tendency to lose the place while reading
- Poor relocating.
- Cannot look quickly and effectively from one object to another (for example, looking from a TV to a magazine)
Perception (interpretation of the different senses)
- Poor visual perception
- Over-sensitive to light
- Difficulty in distinguishing sounds from background noise. Tendency to be over-sensitive to noise
- Over- or under-sensitive to touch. Can result in dislike of being touched and/or aversion to over-loose or tight clothing - tactile defensiveness
- Over- or under-sensitive to smell and taste, temperature and pain
- Lack of awareness of body position in space and spatial relationships. Can result in bumping into and tripping over things and people, dropping and spilling things
- Little sense of time, speed, distance or weight. Leading to difficulties driving, cooking
- Inadequate sense of direction. Difficulty distinguishing right from left means map reading skills are poor
Learning, thought and memory
- Difficulty in planning and organising thought
- Poor memory, especially short-term memory. May forget and lose things
- Unfocused and erratic. Can be messy and cluttered
- Poor sequencing causes problems with maths, reading and spelling and writing reports at work
- Accuracy problems. Difficulty with copying sounds, writing, movements, proofreading
- Difficulty in following instructions, especially more than one at a time
- Difficulty with concentration. May be easily distracted
- May do only one thing at a time properly, though may try to do many things at once
- Slow to finish a task. May daydream and wander about aimlessly
Emotion and behaviour
- Difficulty in listening to people, especially in large groups. Can be tactless, interrupt frequently. Problems with team work
- Difficulty in picking up non-verbal signals or in judging tone or pitch of voice in themselves and or others. Tendency to take things literally. May listen but not understand
- Slow to adapt to new or unpredictable situations. Sometimes avoids them altogether
- Impulsive. Tendency to be easily frustrated, wanting immediate gratification
- Tendency to be erratic ñ have 'good and bad days'
- Tendency to opt out of things that are too difficult
Emotions as a result of difficulties experienced
- Tend to get stressed, depressed and anxious easily
- May have difficulty sleeping
- Prone to low self-esteem, emotional outbursts, phobias, fears, obsessions, compulsions and addictive behaviour
- Give the student as much encouragement as possible.
- Be aware that protracted handwritten work may cause frustration.
- Allow extra time to complete tasks.
- Do not provide too many verbal or visual instructions at once.
- Give step by step instructions and check they are understood.
- If necessary, place simple written instructions on the student’s desk.
- Sit the student near the board.
- Use checklists and story planners.
- Allow access to computer technology.
- Use lined paper with margins.
- In Mathematics, use squared paper.
- In Physical Education, a new skill may have to be fully demonstrated before the student can perform the task.
Strategies to support handwriting
- Position of whole body: Needs to be in a stable position for writing with feet on the ground. The writing surface should allow elbows to be supported sitting squarely at the table.
- Position of arm: Arms must be able to move freely (the use of a hand is dependent on the stability and movement of an arm).
- Ensure that the student’s pen and pencil grip is comfortable.
- Position of hand: A tripod grip is the most efficient way of holding a pencil, with thumb and first finger holding the pencil and the middle finger behind, supporting the pencil.
- Experimenting with different types of paper and writing instruments will allow the student to experience different ‘feel’. It is easier to write on a softer surface such as layers of paper rather than directly on a desk or table. Lined paper will help someone who is having difficulty in keeping their writing level. Squared paper may assist a student who is having difficulty in spacing their words and letters.
- It may help to use a writing slope. An A4 folder would be a cheaper alternative. You can cut Dycem matting to fit your slope to stop paper moving around on folder.