Friday, 5 April 2013

 Living with Dyspraxia by  @
Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013

We are mature adults and parents who have lived a lot of years…spent quite a few of them comparing ourselves to others and deep down we probably knew we were somewhat different.
How can we begin to explain what it’s like…how it feels…how many have to cope with being dyspraxic? It's a hard condition to explain to people who don't have it, a task many dyspraxics face a lot of the time. There are so many aspects to it which make it very difficult to explain...want to explain or even admit it. You go through a phase of denial and inward beating yourself up (why me?) and then the comes a point where you start to make things happen and the world, in part, stands up and begins to slowly take note of you. That is the time you are happy to stand up in a crowd and feel quite happy to say ‘I am dyspraxic... look at what I have achieved…practice really does make perfect!’.
Dyspraxia causes a variation of disrupted signals to various parts of our brain. In short, it prevents messages to and from the brain being received and transmitted precisely. By and large it affects our intellect…emotions…our physical activities…language…social skills and our sensory processing.
Dyspraxic children can present with variety of problems or a mere few. For example, some have problems with balance and co-coordinating (gross motor skill) and others are very good at sport…they in turn might be poor academically. Dyspraxia is quite different in most every individual, although there is a general list of problems many dyspraxics face every day.
Dressing in the early years can be difficult and take some mastering (boys doing up a shirt is a big thing). It’s so important to start at the very bottom or very top button. Post-It notes can help with building a dressing and hygiene routine.
Short socks are far easier to master and also a small bit of talc on the feet will help them slide on much easier…coloured heels help line up the sock. Trousers start off with Velcro fasteners or track suit bottoms, if allowed, and the same with trainers/shoes. With jumpers, remove the label from the back and sew one in the front, it’s easier to see if the garment is the right way around just by looking at the label when the garment is on.
Coughing (with hand over mouth or using a tissue), nose blowing and licking lips, etc. are all things that children with dyspraxia often forget to do. It’s wise to practice these on a regular basis till they do them naturally. Remind them also about going to the toilet...the reason it’s so often a rush and embarrassing mistakes can happen is they just simply get so engrossed in an activity and forget until it’s almost too late.
Is your child reluctant to clean their teeth? You could try plaque disclosing tablet dye (can be purchased online). The dye simply colours the plaque on your teeth allowing you to easily see areas that need special attention…most children find it fun and cannot believe how stained their teeth are! The special dye is easy to remove with a toothbrush.
Going to the loo can be a task in itself…have baby wipes on hand and encourage their use. Quite often children will wipe briefly after going to the loo and not clean thoroughly…the wipe will speed this process up.
Wiping our mouths whilst eating…make this a positive habit with tissues always available and encourage use at all meals, but don’t keep at them about it in the presence of guests as this tends to embarrass the child, just leave the tissues for them to use themselves. Cut up food initially to reduce the size of meat especially…never buy tough meat as this will be taken out of the mouth after a short period…some dyspraxic children have poor gag reflex.
Let them try as many different foods as possible…it’s all about taste plus texture. Some fruits are a no no…pears are quite stringy as are some peaches…most would dislike the taste and texture of an apple skin but would be quite happy with the apple peeled. Trial and error is the best way.
I would like to point out as always I am not a psychologist but a teacher of specific learning needs for well over twenty years and a parent of children who also has dyspraxia. From my own childhood and being a parent of dyspraxic children (and now grandchildren!), these are some of the things I have seen, tried, used and even invented!.. all to provide practical support to make my child’s life that bit easier when growing up. Maybe some of these you may find of help to you...and any feedback or contributions would be most welcome!
And finally.... praise, praise, tons of praise when they get it right! This is the key, as self-esteem is 9/10’s the key in overcoming obstacles!

This is my story and based on are welcome to share my experiences above but please mention the origins and author of the post and feel free to comment Toby Lee

Additional information available on our web site

No comments:

Post a Comment