If you, or someone you know, was recently diagnosed with dyspraxia – this article is for you. Here, we will discuss the condition in detail.
What is Dyspraxia?
Dyspraxia is known by many names – motor learning difficulty, developmental coordination disorder, motor planning difficulty, “Clumsy Child Syndrome”, and apraxia of speech (a form of dyspraxia).
The person suffering from dyspraxia deals with problems related to judgment, movement, memory, processing, coordination, and other cognitive skills. In certain cases, it could also affect the nervous and immune system of the body.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, people suffering from dyspraxia are somewhat ‘out of sync’ with the outer world. As many as 10% of people exhibit some symptoms related, while 2% show severe symptoms.
Although symptoms vary from individual to individual depending on their age and other factors, some of them include:
- Poor posture and balance
- Difficulty in perception
- Difficulty in coordinating between eyes and hands
- Poor handwriting
- Limited vocabulary
- Messy eating habits
- Sleep difficulties
While the exact causes that lead to the development of dyspraxia are still under research, experts believe that the condition is developed due to the under-development of motor neurons (nerve cells that control muscles).
Since the motor neurons find it difficult to establish proper connections, this leads to the slow processing of data by the brain. Experts believe that dyspraxia is not a result of brain damage, but rather a result of immature neuron development.
Studies have also revealed that dyspraxia is hereditary, meaning that various members of the same family could be impacted.
How to Diagnose?
Dyspraxia is diagnosed by a child psychiatrist, pediatrician, psychologist, or an occupational therapist. A careful assessment is performed that studies the developmental history, motor skills, and intellectual ability of the child.
- Fine motor skills: these skills use smaller muscles and include tasks like writing, and tying shoelaces.
- Gross motor skills: these skills use large muscles and include tasks like walking, running, jumping, and balancing.
Although dyspraxia cannot be cured, it can be improved to a certain extent with proper treatment. Here are a few commonly used therapies:
- Occupational therapy
This therapy focuses on the everyday tasks that the child performs at school and home. The expert will then help the child manage the activities that they find difficult.
- Motor training
This training works on the visual, auditory, movement, and language skills of the child, and help them improve without stressing them.
- Speech and language therapy
This therapy aims to help the child communicate effectively and flawlessly.
The Wrap Up
Although dyspraxia is not life-threatening, the condition can prove to be stressful for both children and parents. It is highly recommended to consult your doctor if you notice any related symptoms to prevent the situation from worsening.
If you believe that you or someone you know may have dyspraxia, it is important to have them evaluated by a physician. There are therapies that can help them improve their symptoms. Dr. Sean Paul, MD is a psychiatrist who specializes in developmental disorders.