WHAT IS DYSPRAXIA?
As many as 6% of primary school children are affected and DCD commonly coexists with other conditions such as Dyslexia, Aspergher’s Syndrome, Attention Deficit (Hyperactive) Disorder (ADD/ADHD) and Autism.
The following problems may be experienced by a child with Dyspraxia:
A general clumsiness and poor coordination, often tripping over or bumping into objects.
Poor balance and falls easily, often ‘falling over thin air’.
Late reaching their major developmental milestones, e.g. sitting, crawling, standing, walking.
Poor handwriting, which is often illegible and/or slow
An inability to sit still, often being fidgety or restless.
Difficulty dressing/undressing, particularly with buttons, zips and shoelaces.
Poor sense of direction and visual-spatial processing difficulties (including spatial awareness).
Unable to ride a bicycle or is slow to master the skill.
Difficulty organizing themselves and their thoughts, making essay planning and timekeeping challenging.
Poor ball skills, e.g. throwing, catching, kicking.
Sensory processing difficulties which may manifest as disliking loud noises, hair washing, clothing labels and messy play.
Dislikes/difficulty with P.E. lessons and games, with their poor coordination and spatial awareness difficulties being intensified by the fast-paced environment. Some children will go to any lengths to avoid the humiliation of P.E. lessons!
Difficulty using a knife and fork, often being a messy eater.
Poor short-term memory and forgetfulness, with remembering/following instructions being a particular challenge.
Difficulty copying text from the blackboard, due to poor motor coordination in the eye muscles.
Difficulties with motor planning.
May have difficulty with social skills, perhaps being a ‘loner’.
Daily struggles with school life may manifest as behavioural difficulties, perhaps being disruptive in class or becoming the class ‘clown’.
Easily distracted with poor concentration.
I graduated with a BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy from Brunel University in 2000, having completed part of my degree in Sweden as part of an ERASMUS exchange.
* Member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP)
* Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered. This requires an active commitment to maintaining continuous professional development and to regularly updating knowledge based on latest research.
* Criminal Records Bureau checked
* First aid trained – Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Professionals (including adult, child and infant CPR procedures)
I started this private practice in 2008, assessing and treating solely children (aged 5-15) with Dyspraxia, Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD), other coordination difficulties and handwriting problems.
Since developing an interest in this niche, I have taken many courses focusing on the assessment and treatment of these children and have enjoyed keeping up to date with current research in this field.
In 2016, I attended DCD-UK, the biennial academic and practitioner conference on Developmental Coordination Disorder at the University of Leeds. This saw all the UK leaders in this field gather together for a highly informative 2-day conference which helped me to consolidate and develop my knowledge and to exchange best practice with other therapists, doctors, teachers and academics.
During my career I have also gained 11 years’ experience working as a specialist physiotherapist for the Royal Air Force and as team physiotherapist for Icarus FC, the RAF Officers’ football club. This work has involved the assessment and treatment of Armed Forces personnel with a diverse range of problems, from sports and training niggles to disabling injuries sustained on Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
I have also qualified as a Yoga Teacher and Ballroom & Latin American Dance Teacher. I practice a number of complementary therapies, including acupuncture, homotoxicology, Reiki, sound therapy, Indian head massage, Hopi ear candling and dowsing. You can read much more about my adventures in yoga, spirituality, fitness and healthy living on my blog: The Spiritual Junkie.
THE DYSPRAXIA ASSESSMENT
Please note that for a diagnosis of DCD to be given, European Academy of Childhood Disability (EACD) guidelines state that the involvement of a paediatrician is necessary to exclude other conditions that could account for the motor problems and to ensure that any overlapping conditions (such as Attention Deficit (Hyperactive) Disorder (ADD/ADHD), Autism and Aspergher’s Syndrome) are identified so that appropriate support can be put in place.
The Dyspraxia Assessment also highlights the child’s specific areas of difficulty and thus enables individualised advice and treatment to be given.
The Dyspraxia Assessment lasts approximately 2½ – 3 hours and most children find it to be fun.
The Dyspraxia Assessment consists of a number of components, including: