What is dyspraxia?

Some children despite adequate teaching, a stimulating environment and with a generally normal intellect, have difficulty with movement and specific aspects of learning. Dyspraxia is a difficulty with thinking out, planning and carrying out sensory / motor tasks. The child with dyspraxia may have a combination of several problems in varying degrees.

These include:

* poor balance;
* poor fine and gross motor co-ordination;
* difficulties with vision;
* motor planning and perception problems;
* tactile dysfunction;
* poor awareness of body position in space;
* difficulty with reading, writing, speech;
* poor social skills;
* emotional and behavioural problems.

Dyspraxia is also known by other names including 'developmental co-ordination disorder', 'clumsy child syndrome', 'the hidden handicap', 'motor learning problems', minimal brain dysfunction' or 'sensory integrative problems'

How can dyspraxia be recognised?

Children with dyspraxia may present with some or all of the following:

The pre-school child

Late rolling, crawling, walking; difficulty with steps, climbing, puzzles; difficulty with eye movements - may move head instead of eyes; difficulty with learning new skills instinctively; slow to develop speech.

The older child

Difficulty dressing, tying shoelaces, using cutlery; poor balance; difficulty with riding a bike, difficulty with PE; poor reading skills, poor handwriting; difficulty with remembering instructions and copying from the blackboard; may have difficulty with speech and the ability to express themselves.

What do children with dyspraxia need?

Children with dyspraxia benefit most from one-to-one therapy. They need the support of qualified professionals on a regular basis to help them reach their full potential. Children with dyspraxia need support and understanding in the educational system.

What do the family of a child with dyspraxia need?

The challenges presented by living with a child with dyspraxia frequently go unrecognised outside the immediate family unit. In addition to the normal stresses and strains of raising a family in today's society, families of children with dyspraxia cope daily with their child's ongoing frustration at their own limitations. They also cope with the demand and strain of constant teaching. Families must also deal with their child being misunderstood by the general community and in the educational system.

What families need most is for dyspraxia to be better understood and recognised. With greater awareness, both professionals and the general community could respond to the needs of families in a more supportive way by providing adequate therapy, adequate support in the educational system and practical support to families.

How can the Dyspraxia Association of Ireland help?

Formed in 1995 by Aileen Tierney with parents of children with dyspraxia, the Association aims to:

* raise awareness of dyspraxia in Ireland and create a better understanding of the difficulties children and parents face.
* ensure adequate resources are available to support the needs of children with dyspraxia. This includes occupational therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy; psychological support and education.
* provide an information sharing and support network for parents.
* improve diagnostic services.
* organise meetings for parents and their children.
* provide a parent / professional link.

For further information, contact:

The Dyspraxia Association

c/o Communications House
Unit 58, Spruce Avenue
Stillorgan Industrial Estate
Co. Dublin

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margaret(HLF23727) - 14/03/2005 14:11

i\'m working on a booklet for college on how to help/assist a child with Dyspraxia. Can anyone provide relevant information?

Ray(ERO25718) - 24/03/2005 14:03

Hiya Margaret Jist saw your message now. If you contact Dyspraxia Ireland at www.dyspraxiaireland.com you shold recieve all the relevant information you need about this condition cheers Ray

Eileen(EileenLouise) - 15/04/2005 11:54

Margaret There is a booklet 'Practical tips for parents' available from the Dyspraxia /DCD Association Cork which might help. It is also on the Dept. of Education SESS website.

Cathy - 07/07/2007 00:37

My fifteen year old son has dyspraxia and I'M wondering if any other parents out there with similar notice these children have problem keeping and making friends. My son is very immature and prefers to play with younger kids, children his own age seem to slag him off and notice he is not up their intellectual standard and I'm wondering how I can help him make a better life for himself

sara - 20/09/2007 22:30

My son who is eleven appears to be of the same nature He enjoys drama and and group work where interaction is encouraged gradually. Perhaps you could join a club such as tennis with him. This would ease him into mixing from a distance.

harry(NVG65692) - 15/10/2007 19:27

New dyspraxia centre opening within a couple of weeks. One of the aims is to form regional groups who can organise activities,classes for all ages.

olive - 24/10/2007 17:33

I would like to find out information about the new dyspraxia centre that is opening I have two children waiting to be dianosed for dyspraxia. I know as a parent that one of my sons has definetly has dispraxia both of them were born at 32 wks

harry(NVG65692) - 15/11/2007 22:04

Sorry Olive, just saw your message. If you call the Dyspraxia Association on 01-2957125 they will help you with info on centre and plans for assessments and treatments. Harry

elvi - 10/06/2008 00:57

I'm a parent of a dyslexic/dyspraxic teen,we were wondering is there any summer camps being run this year?

elvi - 20/06/2008 23:32

Hi Cathy! My daughter is also 15 and dyspraxic, I too find that she makes friends easily but doesn't hold on to them for long. She misses a lot of the social cues, and doesn't really pick up when someone is being mean to her,maybe it's cause she longs to fit in.She also has a certain immaturity about her and also enjoys playing with her younger cousins, I think it's because there's no pressure and she doesn't have to act grown up! I would love to hear from other parents with kids with dyspraxia.

catherine(TSQ59138) - 21/06/2008 21:19

Hi Elvi, I know its hard for teens normally with the hormones and everything but with dyspraxia it gives them a lot of other stuff to worry about also. Especially along the lines of "fitting in". The dyspraxia assoc has been helpful. He joined a teen club which has started up and hopefully it'll help him with social skills etc. if you hear of any other clubs or events I would love to know.

elvi - 05/07/2008 00:11

Hi Cathrine! It's great that your son has joined a club, I hope all goes well for him! I am still trying to find out about social events or even summer camps that may be run in Cork Area, so if anyone out there has any info it would be great to hear from you.Hormones.....!!!It's confusing for the parents never mind the teenager, I could have moodie, door banging, to happy and the world is wonderfull place to whatever!!!! all in the space of an hour.Never a dull moment!

Joan - 23/08/2008 03:53

I've been trying to identify the problems my 15 year old daughter has had since birth. I believe it may be dyspraxia. I'd like to hear about others with similar problems. She seems to be overcoming many difficulties but I wonder if she will succeed in college.

hun bun - 07/10/2009 12:08

Hi in college giving a talk on dyspraxia need photos for poster any idea were ican get some ?

tinkerbell - 24/01/2010 23:53

Looking for advise on what books to read to learn more about dyspraxia, any recommendations?

shado - 03/02/2010 16:06

Hi to all,

Have just found out my son who is eight has dyspraxia. When i was told i did'nt know what this was thanks to this web page i am getting a better understanding of it now.I find it heart breaking when he comes home from school and tells me didn't play with anyone as nobody would play with him. Like other comments i have read he finds it hard to hold onto friends. At the moment he is doing a lot of spining around should i stop this ? Would appreciate your comments.

Kate - 04/02/2010 20:17

Hi Shado,

Its a tough time when your child is diagnosed with dyspraxia but theres lots of help out there and over time, and with maturity things will change. my son has dyspraxia too and he's 16 now. yes there have been problems, his cognitive skills and general cop on in life is definitely compromised but hes a great kid and continues to change each day. Contact the dyspraxia centre they can be a great help and information reource for you and your child. theres also activities for him to join and meet other kids with dyspraxia, good luck in the future

Harry Dyspraxia Asso - 05/02/2010 19:06

Dyspraxia Association have a number of parents support groups in Dublin,Clare,Limerick,Wexford,Mullingar and Louth and the Dyspraxia /DCD group in Cork and Galway are also very active so would be worth linking into.

Look at Dyspraxia Association and the Dyspraxia/DCD Cork websites for more info.and best practices .

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