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Signs-Symptoms-of-Dyspraxia

Signs & Symptoms of Dyspraxia: New Booklet Launched For Parents

Dyspraxia/DCD Ireland have launched a new booklet to help children with this condition to make the transition from Primary to Secondary School. 

The booklet, entitled ‘The Next Adventure’ is written by Dr Dorothy Armstrong (whose son, Alan, 17, has Dyspraxia) and is based upon experiences gathered from a wide range of teenagers who have used their stories to highlight the challenges faced when moving from first to second level in school.

Dyspraxia/DCD is a form of Development Co-Ordination Disorder and affects about 8% of Ireland’s population. Symptoms are varied and affects movement, coordination, organisational skills and carrying out sensory/motor tasks. 

Guest speaker at the launch was Government Chief Whip, Regina Doherty, who has a 13-year-old son with Dyspraxia. Regina praised the work of Dyspraxia Ireland saying:

“Dyspraxia Ireland is a valuable resource for parents and children. When Dyspraxia is diagnosed, the first question is often ‘What is this and what do we do?’ The organisation provides a great help and support to parents.”

She also paid tribute to the booklet’s author, Dr Dorothy Armstrong, an occupational therapist who was inspired to get involved when her son, Alan, was diagnosed with Dyspraxia. She herself witnessed the challenges faced by Alan and his peers when making the change to Secondary School.

“They were drowning.” She said. “So I went back and did the PhD so I could help.”

Ciara Garvan, Chairperson of Dyspraxia Ireland had some advice for the parents who had attended the launch:

“Remember, you are not alone and Dyspraxia Ireland is here to help.” 

She recommended making good connections with the child’s school and getting to know counsellors and learning support staff. Highlight the positives to teachers and tell them what your child works well at. Children with Dyspraxia often have self-esteem/emotional issues so boosting their confidence while helping them to face challenges in school is a big help.

“Nobody is as persistent or as brave as kids with Dyspraxia,” Ciara said, addressing the children at the launch. “Challenge yourself.”

Dyspraxia Facts:

  • 8% of the population suffer from Dyspraxia/DCD but many go undiagnosed.
  • There is no cure for Dyspraxia, but the earlier a child is diagnosed and treated, the greater the chance of improvement will be. 
  • Many skills people take for granted and perform automatically have to be learned. Occupational therapy, physiotherapy and extra help at school can be of great assistance.

Did You Know?

Actor Daniel Radcliffe, who starred in the Harry Potter movies has Dyspraxia/DCD and has pursued a successful acting career despite this condition. 

Signs of Dyspraxia in pre-school children:

  • Late reaching milestones. e.g. Rolling over, sitting, standing, walking and talking.
  • May not run, jump, catch or kick a ball although their peers can do so.
  • Has difficulty keeping friends or judging how to behave in company
  • Poor at dressing – needs lots of time
  • Appears not to learn instinctively – must be taught skills
  • Falls over frequently
  • Poor pencil grip
  • Cannot do jigsaws or shape sorting games
  • Artwork very immature
  • Often anxious and easily distracted

Signs of Dyspraxia in school-age children:

  • Above difficulties experience by pre-school children with little/no improvement
  • Avoids PE and games
  • Does badly in class but significantly better on a one-to-one basis
  • Reacts to all stimuli without discrimination and attention span is poor
  • May have trouble with maths/writing structured stories
  • Experiences great difficulty copying from the blackboard
  • Writes laboriously and immaturely
  • Unable to remember/follow instructions
  • Is generally poorly organised

If you think your child has Dyspraxia/DCD it’s best to visit your GP to get a recommendation for further assessment. Visit www.dyspraxia.ie for further details. 

The Next Adventure Booklet for parents and teachers is available by calling Dyspraxia/DCD Ireland on (01 ) 8747085 or logging on to www.dyspraxia.ie


About the Author

Jennifer Roche lives in North Dublin with her husband and two children. An avid content writer, Jennifer is passionate about food, nutrition and healthy living. Currently, Jennifer is studying at Griffith College, loves music and is a radio show DJ with her local community radio station, NearFM on The Grove Show.

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