Dear Jacqui, I suspect that my child with language and communication difficulties is also dyspraxic. Please can you explain more about this and how we can have this assessed?

Dyspraxia is the inability or difficulty with three aspects of completing a motor action: ideation, sequencing, and/or motor execution. Ideation is the ability to generate new ideas, sequencing is planning out the steps needed to conduct the idea, and execution is implementing the motor plan i.e. carrying out the action to complete the idea. Once a child can execute an activity i.e. tying shoelaces, automatically, a plan is no longer needed. The lower brain has taken over and higher cognitive processes are no longer needed to complete that task. The following can be symptomatic of dyspraxia:

  • Clumsy, awkward movements and difficulty climbing
  • Difficulty finding ones way around a new environment
  • Poor body awareness
  • Poor sequencing of tasks
  • Difficulty dressing, putting clothes on in the correct order i.e. socks then shoes, and correct orientation i.e. not back to front
  • Slow motor reactions
  • Difficulty playing ball games
  • Difficulty with hand writing and fine motor skills
  • Difficulty timing movements
  • Difficulty with organisational skills
  • Difficulty with oral-motor muscles for eating and speech
  • Difficulty with social communication, and may have low self-esteem

The sensory integration Paediatric Occupational therapist at my practice will do a screening for dyspraxia, handwriting and sensory processing disorders. This includes advice and strategies on how to manage any difficulties. For more information regarding an assessment, please contact Jacqui Wright.