DYSPRAXIA (Clumsy Child Syndrome/ Percepto-motor dysfunction)
tHIS IS JUST A FIRST DRAFT, SOME OF IT WILL BE MOVED TO OTHER ENTRIES AS SOON AS i FUGURE OUT WHERE TO SPLIT THEM
STUPID, CLUMSY, AWKWARD, DOESN'T TRY, DISRUPTIVE, OVER EMOTIONAL
This is how many teachers' describe DYSPRAXIC children. These attitudes lead to the children being marginalised and bullied. This is a good example of the problems with learning difficulties.
A Brief History of Dyspraxia
The term "dyspraxia" comes from the Greek word "praxis" which means "doing, acting, deed or practice". Practice includes both knowing what to do and how to do it, so dyspraxic children have problems with integrating the thought with the action in order to carry out a task.
Dyspraxia was documented when Orton (1937, pp72) used the term "congenital maladroitness". He recognised that disorders of the actual doing of a task (praxis) resulted in clumsiness. These children were called "clumsy children" and dyspraxia was known as "clumsy child syndrome". In the USA this condition was first given recognition through the work of Strauss and Lehitinen in 1947.
So although the condition has been known for over 60 years, many (professional as well as lay) people have little or no knowledge of the syndrome.
In the United Kingdom it has been estimated that 1 in 20 school children suffer from the syndrome which affects organisational, motor and language skills and that children with dyspraxia may also have related conditions such as dyslexia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While the cause of dyspraxia is not known, common factors include that most were born either premature of two weeks past their due date. In some cases another family member may suffer from dyspraxia, dyslexia or another related condition.
If you consider that your child may be dyspraxic do not struggle along without help. Ask your general practitioner(doctor) for a referral to a specialist (child development) pædiatrician. Treatment is generally through occupational therapy (supervised by a specialist physiotherapist), the focus of which is to teach the child how their body works and the skills that they find difficult.
Above all, remember that your child's clumsiness (dyspraxia) does not mean that he or she is stupid - many dyspraxic children are of above average intelligence.
Symptoms of dyspraxia can include:
This is not a comprehensive list, and dyspraxic children do not necessarily suffer from all the symptoms. Useful links are listed at the end of this article where more detailed information is available.
HELPING YOUR CHILD
There isn't a cure, or any drug treatment, for dyspraxia so it is a case of persevering with therapy.
Ask your doctor to refer your child to a paediatrician, listing your reasons reasons for wanting specialist attention. If your doctor is unaware of the condition (many are not!) draw his/her attention to the symptoms.
In addition to therapy:
Parents are most likely to consider that their child might be dyspraxic (or that there is "something wrong") and in a survey carried out by the Dyspraxia Foundation in the UK, only about 9.4% of teachers and 1.8% of General Practitioners are likely to consider this diagnosis.
Diagnosis of Dyspraxia is most often made by a pædiatrician, general practitioners' generally do not make this diagnosis.
Approximately 25% of dyspraxic children are recognised when they start school. This has serious implications on the outcome of their education, especially when you consider the attitudes schools have toward dyspraxic children.
This is of great concern as:
The Handwriting Interest Group
6 Fyfield Road
Essex CM5 0AH
Special Education Consortium
C/o Council for Disabled Children
8 Wakley Street
Phone: 020 7843 6000
Copies of: Special Educational Needs - Guide for Parents, and The Updated Parents Charter write to:
DfEE Publications Centre
PO Box 6927
London E3 3NZ
Or by ringing 0845 6022 260