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Dyspraxia in Children

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 15 Dec 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
 dyspraxia Physical Therapy

Dyspraxia is a neurological condition that impairs movement. As it relates directly to a child's motor skills, children who experience dyspraxia (or development coordination disorder as it is also known) have problems with coordination which is often wrongly interpreted as clumsy behaviour. The condition is genetic and more boys suffer from it than girls, and it is more common than you might think. Studies show that about 10% of the population is affected by dyspraxia, with about 2% experiencing severe symptoms.

Recognising Dyspraxia

Although symptoms are present early on in a child's development, many children with dyspraxia aren't diagnosed until their impairment causes them to lag behind their peers in a significant manner. It is helpful to diagnose the condition as early as possible, so that proper therapy can be started to help your child learn to cope with the challenges common to dyspraxia.

Symptoms in Babies

Babies with dyspraxia may display some of the following symptoms:
  • Undue fussiness
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Delayed achievement of developmental milestones
  • Failure to crawl

Symptoms in 3-5 Year Olds

The following may be a sign that a younger child (aged 3-5) is suffering from dyspraxia:
  • Frequent falling
  • Bumping into things
  • Excitability
  • Inability to sit still
  • Poor concentration
  • Inability to stay on task
  • Poor small motor skills, such as the ability to use scissors or hold a pencil properly
  • Difficulty in eating without making a mess; frequent spilling
  • Language and communication difficulties
  • Difficulty pedalling a tricycle
  • Limited enjoyment of creative play
  • Preference to socialise with adults rather than other children

Symptoms in Older Children

If an older child has dyspraxia, he/she may be experiencing some of the following symptoms:
  • Poor listening skills
  • Inability to multi-task and poor memory
  • Illegible handwriting
  • Difficulty tying shoelaces
  • Lags behind peers, academically
  • Difficulty coordinating the use of a knife and fork simultaneously
  • Emotionally charged
  • Sleeping difficulties

Diagnosing Dyspraxia

Parents are often the first people to notice the symptoms of dyspraxia in their children, so it helps if you are on the lookout for these. But be aware that many of the listed symptoms are common to perfectly healthy children, too. Children develop at varied stages, so while a development delay isn't likely to be cause for concern, it is advisable to bring up any worries that you have with your child's GP or health visitor. The sooner that a problem is diagnosed, the sooner your child can begin to get treatment.

Dyspraxia Treatment

Although there is currently no cure for dyspraxia, there are ways to help your child to maximise their coping skills. Physical, speech, and occupational therapy can help your child to deal with the condition, by teaching methods designed to help children slow down, concentrate, and find their own ways of mastering life skills.

Though a small number of children will mild dyspraxia will grow out of the condition, most will be affected by it into adult life. However, with a thoughtful plan of therapy, many children with dyspraxia are successful, both academically and socially.

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Sam - Your Question:
I just found out about Dyspraxia and I'm almost certain my 11 year-old stepson has it. He exhibits the following signs:* cannot ride a bike* breaks things on a regular basis* very messy around the house, spills or drops things* constantly runs into people and then blames them* poor organizational skills and short-term working memory* not very athletic and has below average hand-eye coordination* bored easily and zones out regularly; does not listen when adults give him instructions* bright student but struggles with math and spelling* still scared of the dark and requires sleeping with his 9 year-old sister* low self-esteem and does not interact much with other kids* throws temper tantrums when emotionally overwhelmedAny suggestions on what to do because his mom would prefer ignoring this. Thanks.

Our Response:
I think you still need to talk with his mother about taking him to the doctors regarding these issues, if you think they are more than just the usual pre-teenage problems, as specified in the article, be aware that many of the listed symptoms are common to perfectly healthy children, too.
SafeKids - 16-Dec-15 @ 12:52 PM
I just found out about Dyspraxia and I'm almost certain my 11 year-old stepson has it. He exhibits the following signs: * cannot ride a bike * breaks things on a regular basis * very messy around the house, spills or drops things * constantly runs into people and then blames them * poor organizational skills and short-term working memory * not very athletic and has below average hand-eye coordination * bored easily and zones out regularly; does not listen when adults give him instructions * bright student but struggles with math and spelling * still scared of the dark and requires sleeping with his 9 year-old sister * low self-esteem and does not interact much with other kids * throws temper tantrums when emotionally overwhelmed Any suggestions on what to do because his mom would prefer ignoring this. Thanks.
Sam - 15-Dec-15 @ 7:11 PM
my grandson is 7 now he has been going to a doctor for almost 4 years now to be diagnosed with dypraxia his father got diagosed at a very early age the doctor keeps putting it of they said they couldent diagnose at the moment how long does it take it is very frustrating he gets very angry has behaviour problems in and out of school lashes out at people and gets very aggressive doesent like loud noises or shouting has sleep problemshe has been trough a lot in 4 yearsas he lives with me and my husband
nannybiglugs - 7-Jun-12 @ 12:15 PM
My son will be 17 in November and is going through the process of GCSE exams and leaving school.He was diagnosed as having Dyspraxia when he was 3 years old.As he got older through primary school he did have assessments with the schools team as to whether he had Aspergers but there were signs from the way he coped well with certain things that pulled them away from diagnosis on this.At the moment though he seems to have gone backwards in life, dragging his feet, hunched back, not realising the importance of school life when all these years he has done very well at school and tried very hard to get anywhere, that it seems to have all flopped..I suppose that with his dad dying last year in January hasn't helped and also that I have met someone else now hasnt been easy for him but he seems to have settled down now about his dad dying but continues to be going backwards in life not realising the importance of his last year in school and really making everyone now have to tiptoe around him,He seems to have also got aggressive with his body behaviour and getting annoyed over the slightest of things that even saying the simplest of things gets a reaction from him.At the moment I am struggling of a way to make him be a better person than of late that can survive in life better than what he is doing as it seems that everything that I have worked on for him through his growing up seems to have now had no effect.
Brooke - 5-Jun-12 @ 7:35 AM
My son is now 7 years old, he was diagnosed adhd at 6 has also been diagnosed with strong dyslexic tendencies although dyslexia team say his problems are more complex. After reading this information I can relate all of his symptoms and development stages to dyspraxia. We are currently on our fourth appeal to the LEA for a statement of educational needs and maybe if we can get a diagnosis he might get some help thank you for this information.
lorrie - 20-Apr-12 @ 9:12 PM
My son is 11 and just been diagnosed with dyspraxa, its really hard in some situations he doesn't like crowds becomes very anxious and with that agressive, he doesn't like to be left in a room on his own and doesn't sleep through the night,he has no friends not like I had when I was a child, he also can act very inappropiate in public and I often get strange looks. I'm still waiting for his assesment but now getting a little frustrated as he has been back and forth to the hospital since the age of 4
toni - 4-Mar-12 @ 11:26 PM
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