Saturday, 18 May 2013

How much is there to know about Dyspraxia and Dyslexia and their relationship (co-morbidity)?  Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013

Dys = Difficulty and Praxis is to plan/practice (Dyspraxia)

Dys = Difficulty and Lexia is the Greek for Literacy (Dyslexia)

Over the years, Dyspraxia has been given several different titles and can also be called 'Developmental Dyspraxia' and 'Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), which are one and the very same. This is also part of the same family as the 3 D’s Dyslexia/Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia'. Why is that?... well the brain is divided in two different sections, to be called upon by us to receive information and is the command centre for all our activities, from (cognitive) thinking to motor (doing).

We are still at the early learning phase with this condition and it’s still slightly grey as to what causes dyspraxia (strong links to genetics), but it is thought to be due to an immaturity of neurone development in the brain. Students with dyspraxia may have difficulties with the simplest of tasks - developmental milestones are often delayed, fine and gross motor skills are affected, ie. dressing, hygiene, eating, threading beads, tying shoelaces, balancing, riding a bike, multi-tasking, catching a ball. Other problems can co-exist, including problems with vision and speech (verbal dyspraxia).

Like all of the ‘D’s, the spectrum is huge… each of us present with a multitude of difficulties and that is also apparent in dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia… some might only have a few areas that are weaker than expected and others could have several and these, if not helped through good intervention, will affect your academic progress and life skills. Many are prepared to write those off with the condition (some groups supporting this theory in the UK and US) and even some with the condition have succumbed, but this is far from the way it has to be. We work with predominantly dyspraxic students and have a very high success rate in most areas, including co-ordination and academics.

Why is there shared difficulties with life and academic ability?… It is thought to be a neuro-dysfunction - the brain needs to receive information from our body and that of others (parrot fashion) and our brain does this via the cerebral cortex (upper portion), through impulses. As we grow, there is a certain amount of primal instinct but many things are learnt through others, or simply through doing and indeed much learning occurs quite naturally. This improves as our brain matures… we only have to do things a few times to grasp the new process. However, this is not the case with dyspraxia or the 3D’s…we often have to go through far more repetition for things to become the norm/routine.

Those with dyspraxia generally have a stronger right brain than left… however the left is important for normal processing of the written or spoken word and leads to a strong linear thinking pathway.

The right brained are more inclined to think and process in a more non-linear way, thinking is less constrictive – this lets your creative right side run free. This is largely unstructured and that is not a bad thing as this allows freedom of thought and allows most things that stimulate the mind to be thoroughly investigated… most of the world’s entrepreneurs are right brained and this is very much down to thinking outside of the box… something many left brainers fail to do.

The Visual cortex imports images and sends them, like audio, to the cerebral cortex, which is split into two halves, being the left and right hemispheres, with each playing a different role in making sense of what we see and hear and ultimately in what we do. The left receives the information in an almost encrypted fashion and tries to untangle it, along with the right side which works on images, etc. and the pair then making sense of what has been presented to us in thought or reality.

With the family of dyspraxia/dyslexia the two halves are not both functioning and maturing at the required developmental milestones and this leads to delays in cognitive and motor development stages being reached at the appropriate age/milestones. Quite often, unless recognised early on, the dyspraxic/dyslexic child will try and compensate by using each/either hand, in sometimes clumsy fashion, to write, eat and carryout personal hygiene and dressing routines, whereas all other children will develop a strong dominant side and one hand will be favoured over the other. This is very apparent with many dyspraxic children when we look at their poor pencil grip and hand control, making some of them write very poorly (dysgraphia).

There are also other problems, such as a negativity towards certain things, like touching things with a different feel, ie. cotton wool or labels on clothing, to taste of foods. This is often due to presentation of pulses from the limbic region and quite often a weak Cerebral cortex struggles to suppress these and it can often lead to anxiety and a lack of adventure in eating/doing, etc. The earlier this is diagnosed the better chance of a positive outcome. Failing to do so will make the task all that much harder down the road, as life brings greater challenges and this also leads to a lack of confidence and low self-worth.

Dyspraxia has a variation on the numbers who present with it and if you take the 3D’s as a whole, it affects around 10% of the population, with a range from moderate to severe as mentioned. Looking at ratio, it tends to affect far more boys/male than girls/females… around 80% are boys.

There are many things you can do that will improve dyspraxia and the 3D’s, with brain training that helps to improve memory and also Multi-sensory intervention programmes, like the one used by Dyslexia Dublin CETC. Fine and gross motor exercises which will strengthen arms, hands, legs and also core muscles are very beneficial and will improve posture and help reduce fatigue… this will also improve writing by improved pen/pencil grip and increased energy, which in turn will improve attention span… working with a good PT programme will also help balance.

In conclusion, I can’t say this enough… many people with dyspraxia go on and do very well in life, just look at Daniel Radcliffe and Florence Welsh (Florence and the Machine)… both dyspraxic and the list for dyslexics is endless… Richard Branson, Henry Winkler, Cher, Whoopie Goldberg, Jamie Oliver, Stephen Spielberg, Tom Cruise, John Lennon and many, many more! We have in stock great books that are written by Henry Winkler and also carry the Barrinton Stoke range of Dyslexia Friendly books at our online store and we ship to all countries!

The information included herein is from our research and the research of others and should only be used for guidance… you should always consult professionals if you have any other concerns.

Dyslexia Dublin CETC

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