How to Care for Someone with Dyspraxia
How to Care for Someone with Dyspraxia
Dyspraxia is a disability in which, despite no physical impairment, the person's brain has trouble planning out movements. As a result, they can be clumsy, have difficulty starting or stopping movements, have poor balance, and/or struggle with learning new motor skills.
Never make fun of them, and don't tolerate others doing so.Many kids with dyspraxia are bullied, especially in gym class, because of their poor athletic ability. Remember that they are trying their hardest and that staying fit is more important than being able to make a hoop or catch a ball.
Break actions down into steps.In martial arts programs, they break down every movement in great detail. For example, for a karate punch, you make a fist with your thumb outside and curled so it doesn't stick out, start palm-up by your side, extend your arm and twist at the very end of the movement. If you figure out equally detailed instructions for things like tying your shoes or riding a bike, this makes it a lot easier for the child with dyspraxia to learn how to do those activities.
Keep practising.Start them off by doing the movement in slow motions, so they have time to think through all the steps, and then have them gradually speed up, while still making sure they're doing the right movement.
Teach them how to fall.Many children with dyspraxia fall frequently due to poor balance and coordination. Check out the page on how to fall safely and practice this skill with the child until they can do it. This could prevent a serious injury if they do lose their balance, especially on ice.
Look at their other strengths and weaknesses.Dyspraxia often goes along with learning differences such as autism, nonverbal learning disability, and ADHD. These can cause difficulty with social interaction, mathematics, and paying attention, and these issues need to be dealt with separately.
Help them to write.Children (or even adults) with dyspraxia will often have trouble writing, spelling and making their words neat so that other people can understand it. In other words, they will usually have bad handwriting. Don't just brush it off, help them by sitting with them and practising their handwriting to make it better. At school, it might be easier to use a laptop and type up their work instead. Check to see if your child's school will provide a laptop or allow you to bring your own one in. They can email the teacher any homework if they need to.
Examine sensory processing.Many times, dyspraxia can be an effect of Sensory Integration Dysfunction, a condition in which the brain has trouble making sense of sensory information. If the feedback they get from their bodies (tactile, balance and/or proprioception) is poor, then their coordination will also be poor.
- Occupational therapy can help with sensory processing issues.
Check out executive functions.Executive functions are the ability to plan and regulate behavior, such as inhibiting impulses, keeping organised, and controlling the amount of effort you put into a task. Since many of the same brain regions control both motor coordination and executive functions, it's common for issues with one area to go along with the other area. Executive dysfunction can be especially frustrating because it looks like the child is unmotivated or lazy when they are actually unable to do what is expected of them.
- People with Dyspraxia are trying their best they just learn in a different way. Be gentle about helping them because they may think that you're mocking them, or trying to make fun of their learning disability.
- If the child was diagnosed late, they might have gone through a lot of frustration and teasing, and be reluctant to face their issues or prone to getting upset about them. Be patient and explain to them that it's not their fault, the part of the brain that plans out movements simply doesn't work as well in them. If you can help them to experience success in movement, their confidence will build. Don't let them avoid movement activities altogether, because this can put them at risk for later health problems such as heart disease and obesity.
Video: Como cuidar de alguém com Dyspraxia
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