Sensory Integration

What is Dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia is a condition that can affect both children and adults, which can impact their fine and gross motor skills.

In addition, they have trouble figuring out the correct order to handle the planning, organizing and carrying out of their movements. Many experts feel is it hereditary. It is often found along with reading, focus and emotional control issues.

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is perhaps the most famous sufferer. In interviews, he has commented about the ongoing challenge of tying his shoelaces.

Importance of Early Diagnosis

With better testing available, more children are getting an early diagnosis. This is important because it allows specialists, such as occupational therapists, to intervene, providing practical steps to deal with the disorder.

Self-esteem issues are a major problem that affect children with dyspraxia because it affects how they are perceived, and accepted, by their peers. This is especially true when they hit their teenage years, when social skills and organizational abilities are essential if they want to fit in.

Signs of Dyspraxia

The disorder can affect children in a number of ways, including:

  • Manual dexterity
  • Balance
  • Poor physical coordination and may appear as clumsiness
  • Sensory problems with touch, vision and awareness of their joint position (proprioception)
  • Oral-verbal skills, affecting speech and eating

This makes everyday activities a challenge. It is common for children with dyspraxia to have trouble with activities such as:

  • Handwriting and handling a pencil
  • Skipping and/or jumping jacks as age appropriate
  • Connecting a zipper in a jacket
  • Putting together puzzles or models
  • Ball games, whether catching, kicking or throwing
  • Using silverware
  • Riding a bike
  • Playing any sport that requires balance
  • Buttoning a shirt
  • Tying shoelaces

Causes and Treatment of Dyspraxia

Children with the disorder may show problems within the cerebellum, called the brain’s skill center. It is thought that motor neurons, which control muscles, haven’t developed properly. This means the brain takes much longer to process data.

Many children can improve with early diagnosis and treatment. Occupational therapy  is one of the core treatments that can help improve a child’s motor and perceptual functioning.

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