First of all Dyspraxia IS NOT Dyslexia – they are two different conditions and have very different effects. Many people have heard of Dyslexia but are not so aware of Dyspraxia.
Its funny out everything has a label these days and it makes things seem to just appear – “oh everyone seems to have this ADHD these days” – but often this labeling is actually just re-labeling. In the case of Dyspraxia it is nothing new and was more commonly known as clumsy child syndrome which of course is no longer PC.
Developmental dyspraxia is an injury or immaturity of the organization of movement. It is an immaturity in the way that the brain processes information, which results in messages not being properly or fully transmitted. The term dyspraxia comes from the word praxis, which means 'doing, acting'. Dyspraxia affects the planning of what to do and how to do it. It is associated with problems of perception, language and thought.
Dyspraxia is thought to affect up to ten per cent of the population and up to two per cent severely. Males are four times more likely to be affected than females. Dyspraxia sometimes runs in families. There may be an overlap with related conditions.
Other names for dyspraxia include Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD), Perceptuo-Motor Dysfunction, and Motor Learning Difficulties. It used to be known as Minimal Brain Damage and Clumsy Child Syndrome.
Statistically, it is likely that there is one child in every class of 30 children, and we need to make sure that everyone understands and knows how best to help this significant minority.
TIP 1 Its important to know at this point that Dyspraxia and Dyspraxic children are all individual and their challenges, needs and symptoms can vary greatly. Their conditions are not usually clear cut either as they can also have other “overlap” conditions such as Dyslexia, ADHD, Dyscalculia, Autism, etc.
TIP 2 Having a child who has dyspraxia affects the whole family. You may find that you gear all family life around the needs of that child, but it is possible that this can leave brothers and sisters feeling jealous and neglected.
To help everyone, you could
- Try activities which involve the whole family equally
- Encourage each child to develop their own hobbies and interests so that comparisons are irrelevant – my son gave up Taekwondo when his sister got better than him. Now he plays junior ice hockey and his sister is not allowed to join in, that's HIS activity.
- Talk to your partner about the problems and be open about how you both feel -often one partner can be disinterested or in denial, its important to work together
- Try to arrange time each week to concentrate on each child, and your partner
- Take time for yourself and keep in touch with friends
- Join a local support group. Some groups run events which include siblings