Dyspraxia - Developmental Coordination Disorder Page 2

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What other conditions might a child with dyspraxia have?

Though many children with dyspraxia will have no other formal diagnoses there is an increased association with the following conditions:

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
Speech and language needs
Social and emotional needs
Verbal dyspraxia

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What other behaviours may indicate dyspraxia?

As there is quite a lot of overlap with ADHD and dyslexia, children with dyspraxia often exhibit similar behaviour traits to these conditions. The following traits are often associated with ADHD or dyslexia children but are also often associated with dyspraxic individuals:

Fidgets and has difficulty sitting still. (See article on hyposensitivity to proprioception on sensory needs page.)
Poor concentration skills - is easily distracted.
Difficulty understanding time concepts. They may also struggle with following timetables and in secondary school may often arrive late for lessons.
Students often have poor organisation skills and will often arrive for lessons without homework, books or kit. They frequently forget where they put things.
Poor short term and working memory - often forgets instructions and struggles with more complex tasks.
Many dyspraxic children and teenagers have immature social skills. They often lack social confidence and can become socially isolated from peers. They may be very dependent on one or two close friends.

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How can parents support children with dyspraxia?

Parents can support their child by choosing clothing that it easier to use. Clothes and shoes with large zips, velcro or large buttons. Clothes that are easy to work out which way they are worn, front to back. Short thick socks rather than long thin ones.

Parents can also support their child by providing lots of fun opportunities to practice and develop fine and gross motor coordination. This can include painting, large crayons, Lego and other construction activities, cooking, baking and sewing to develop fine motor skills. Encourage participation in sports, martial arts and performing arts to develop gross motor coordinations and important social skills. It can be worth asking around for clubs and organisations that are more inclusive. There are many clubs that take pride in involving children of all abilities, managing their needs and giving them equal opportunities. It is paramount that your child enjoys participating and is not made to feel not as good as others!

Parents can do a lot to help their child develop good self-esteem. Regular praise for everyday things, celebrating all achievements, use of reward charts.

Parents can also support their child to become socially confident. Helping your child make and maintain friendships is essential.

Parents should engage with professionals and patiently be an advocate for your child particularly when they change class or school.

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How can schools and nurseries support children with dyspraxia?

It is important to create an accurate assessment of the child's needs. Staff should share concerns with parents and develop a clear plan of support. This should include programmes to develop fine and gross motor skills and any language or speech needs. It is likely that the child will need further assessment and the involvement of other professionals such as occupational therapists, specialist teachers and paediatricians specialising in developmental disorders. If there are speech and language concerns then the involvement of a speech and language therapist or an educations psychologist may be necessary to provide advice and strategies.

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You may also be interested in the following pages:

Dyspraxia Management Strategies

Fine Motor Skill Development

Sensory Needs

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