Our grateful thanks to the Dyspraxia Foundation for their input to this weeks report and for the use of the information below. Please visit their website to find out more by clicking here. They also operate a telephone helpline service via 01462 454 986 which is available from 10am-1pm Monday to Friday.
As you heard 'on air' (if you haven't caught up with this week's report scroll down the screen and hear it via our radi player) the findings of a new study released to coincide with Dyspraxia Awareness Week has revealed a new and often silent knock on effect of living with dyspraxia.
So what is Dyspraxia it is a disorder that is surprisingly common in both children and adults. It is a hidden condition, which is still poorly understood. Movement Matters, an umbrella organization representing major national groups in the UK that represent people with coordination difficulties offers the following definition:
Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), also known as dyspraxia, is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. DCD is formally recognised by international organisations including the World Health Organisation. DCD is distinct from other motor disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke, and occurs across the range of intellectual abilities. Individuals may vary in how their difficulties present: these may change over time depending on environmental demands and life experiences, and will persist into adulthood.
An individual’s coordination difficulties may affect participation and functioning of everyday life skills in education, work and employment. Children may present with difficulties with self-care, writing, typing, riding a bike and play as well as other educational and recreational activities. In adulthood many of these difficulties will continue, as well as learning new skills at home, in education and work, such as driving a car and DIY. There may be a range of co-occurring difficulties which can also have serious negative impacts on daily life. These include social and emotional difficulties as well as problems with time management, planning and personal organisation, and these may also affect an adult’s education or employment experiences.
The Dyspraxia Foundation adds to the Movement Matters description, recognising the many non-motor difficulties that may also be experienced by people with the condition and which can have a significant impact on daily life activities. These include memory, perception and processing as well as additional problems with planning, organising and carrying out movements in the right order in everyday situations. Although dyspraxia may occur in isolation, it frequently coexists with other conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, language disorders and social, emotional and behavioural impairments.
The Dyspraxia Foundation also provides support to people affected by verbal dyspraxia (also known as ‘childhood apraxia of speech’) which can occur alongside motor coordination difficulties, or as a separate condition.
What causes Dyspraxia (DCD)? For the majority of those with the condition, there is no known cause. Current research suggests that it is due to an immaturity of neurone development in the brain rather than to brain damage. People with dyspraxia have no clinical neurological abnormality to explain their condition.
How would I recognise a child with Dyspraxia(DCD)?
The pre-school child
The school age child
Dyspraxia (DCD) can also affect adults, and those who suffer from the condition often find the routine tasks of daily life such as driving, household chores, cooking and grooming, difficult. They can also find it hard coping at work.
Treatments At present, there is no cure for Dyspraxia (DCD) but there are many strategies that can help. Occupational therapists will look at fine motor and perceptual skills, together with activities of daily living such as household tasks and organisational skills, and help develop strategies to improve these. They can suggest suitable equipment to help with these tasks. Speech therapists can help with speech or language problems and also sometimes with communication and social skills. Counselling can help to overcome some of the problems. Drugs such as anti-depressants can be of use where depression and anxiety are a big problem.
For more information contact the Dyspraxia Foundation. The charity operates a helpline service via 01462 454 986 which is available from 10am -1pm Monday to Friday.
Listen to this weeks radio report
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