What is dyspraxia/DCD?
Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is commonly known as Dyspraxia in the UK and Ireland. It is a disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. It can also be know as the Clumsy Disorder, Motor Learning Problem or Sensory Processing Disorder. As children grow their difficulties may present in a variety of ways and can change with life experience and environmental demands, but will persist into adulthood.
Whilst the term dyspraxia is not used outside the UK and Ireland, it is used to describe individuals with motor difficulties who also have difficulties with: speech, organisation, planning, sequencing, working memory and various other psychological, emotional and social problems. The DSM-5 doesn’t have a definition of dyspraxia in it unlike DCD which is recognised by the World Health Organisation also.
Some basic facts:
- Prevalence 6% of 5 to 12 year olds
- 3:1 Boys:Girls
- High co-morbidity with other disorders e.g. ADD/ ADHD – 40%
- Children do not grow out of this disorder
- Currently no biological explanation for Dyspraxia/DCD.
Possible Indicators In Infants
- Delays in reaching normal developmental milestones can be an early sign of DCD. If you are at all worried your HV or GP will advise you best.
- Your child may take slightly longer than expected to roll over, sit, crawl or walk. Remember not all children develop at the same rate so don’t compare your child to others.
- Or you may notice that your child shows unusual body positions (postures) during their first year.
- They can also have difficulty playing with toys that involve good co-ordination –such as stacking bricks – and may have some difficulties learning to eat with cutlery.
How to recognise dyspraxia/DCD in Children
The child with Dyspraxia/DCD may have a combination of several problems in varying degrees. These include:
- Poor balance
- Poor fine and gross motor co-ordination
- Poor posture
- Difficulty with throwing and catching a ball
- Poor awareness of body position in space
- Poor sense of direction
- Difficulty in hopping, skipping or riding a bike
- Sensitive to touch
- Confused about which hand to use
- Intolerance of having hair or teeth brushed, nails and hair cut
- Slow to learn to dress or feed themselves
- Find some clothes uncomfortable
- Difficulty with reading and writing
- Speech problems – slow to learn to speak and speech may be incoherent.
- Phobias or obsessive behavior and impatient
- Average or above average intelligence but are often behaviorally immature.
- They try hard to fit in to socially accepted behavior when at school but often throw tantrums when at home.
- They may find it difficult to understand logic and reason.
Not all children with Dyspraxia/DCD have all these problems, some parents recognise that their child has clusters of these problems instead. There is no cure for Dyspraxia/DCD, but the earlier a child is treated the better their chance of improvement will be. An occupational therapist, physiotherapist and extra help at school can help with overcoming many difficulties the child may be experiencing.
Secondary difficulties that can arise and need treatment also:
- Self esteem
- Low self confidence
- Mental health issues
- Social difficulties
- Specific Learning Difficulties -dyslexia
http://www.dyspraxia.ie for support and information.
Your GP will be able to refer you to a specialist for diagnosis.
Did you know we offer support for parents of children with disabilities. When your child is first diagnosed you can feel lost, isolated and don’t know where to get help. We can help support you while you support your child. It’s good to talk to someone who understands what you’re going through. As a parent of children with dyslexia I do understand. Call our offices in Ferns or Wexford Town on 089 4373641 for an appointment.