Any Dyspraxic kids in here?

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An article written for teachers and parents as a guide of what to look for in children to detect Dyspraxia early. This is a collection of experiences from the perspective of a dyspraxic child. What they are thinking, what they are Not thinking - Look for the signs!

Submitted: March 19, 2017

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Submitted: March 19, 2017



Typical traits of a dypraxic child.


I’m writing this aimed at teachers and parents, so that they can be more aware of the traits and mannerisms that a typical dyspraxic child will display, and have a small insight into their mind. 

Many people have dyspraxia, it’s as common as dyslexia, yet, whenever you mention it to people you are usually given a confused look in return and asked what it is. I find myself reeling off a pre-prepared description every time, which goes as follows: It’s a condition similar to dyslexia, that mostly affects the motor functions and the way you process information.

I was diagnosed with dyspraxia at the age of 16, so lived throughout my school years with the frustration of knowing something was up, but trying desperately to carry on as normal.

The following is a collection of comments that were said to/about me during primary and secondary school, mostly from teachers. If you are a teacher, or assistant, reading this and you have said any of these things to/about a child in your class, please think twice and have them tested for Dyspraxia!



1. She’s so clumsy!


Totally true! As dyspraxia affects motor skills and basic functions, a dyspraxic child will fall over, bump into things, drop things, trip over nothing, and my personal favourite, miss their mouth trying to eat! They will probably be sent to a school nurse for some "magic cream" on their knees on a daily basis.

Because moving in general is not their strong point, they will probably also, try to get out of PE lessons, a Lot!


2. She’s very quiet, and doesn’t want to join in.


False! Dyspraxic children probably do want to join in, they just take about 5 Years to process a sentence! (I exaggerate, but it often feels that long!) I would sit in on group activities and listen to instruction with all my might, yet was never actually sure if I was doing it right –because usually I wasn’t. When asked a question by a teacher I would somehow end up looking like a terrified rabbit in the headlights while I was genuinely trying to think of an answer, but took so long about it that they just moved on. After years of this sort of situation it is just easier to avoid joining in...


3. She’s always in Fairyland!


True! Its the happiest, safest place to be when even your own neurons are against you! Dyspraxic children are classic daydreamers. They have a Wonderfully overactive imagination, paired with a short concentration span, so when the teacher starts explaining things to the class, they probably only heard the first word and then saw it was sunny outside, and then imagined being outside picking flowers and making daisy chains, and then Every Single consequential situation attached to making daisy chains with your friends, and then all the arty things they want to try to make because making colours and shapes is fun, though it will probably turn out shit because, lets face it, your making it with your spacky hands so its bound to, and…… Oh yeah, School…



4. She never does any work, she’s Lazy!


Absolutely False! Though your first thought before this may be that they actually don’t understand the work, but, believe it or not, that’s also false. If you put a paper with questions on it in front of a dyspraxic child, chances are they will read it fully, and then stare at it blankly for at least an hour, while doodling little swirly pictures in the corners. This is because doodling helps them to think a little clearer. It's almost like a background music while you think. Currently while typing this I am listening to music, because I find it near impossible to think clearly in a silent room. Exam halls were the most stressful! I'm amazed that I managed to finish exam questions at all! But I quickly learned to play myown background music in my head, and this would instantly calm me down, and help me think clearly. 

But another reason they may take Forever to answer a question is because their thoughts aren't in the same order as a normal functioning brain. A normal child will probably start at the start and end at the end, but a dyspraxic child will start in the middle and not know how to begin! For essay writing in particular, I would find it very helpful to write bullet points on what to include, and get help with suggestions for an opening sentence. The best essay I ever wrote was for English Lit in secondary school. I had managed to finally voice to my mother that I had no idea where to start. So she helped me with bullet points and an opening sentence, then basically locked me in my room with some food and drink so I had no distractions - I wrote 7 pages in a few hours! 



5. She’s very shy.


Mostly false. Obviously everyone is different, but with dyspraxia there is a definite communication breakdown that can physically stop you from saying anything! One of the basic functions this condition affects a lot is Speech. That seemingly simple little function that allows you to voice what is in your head. For dyspraxics it is basically broken. So making friends is difficult, because anything to do with emotional attachment, in particular, will definitely want to stay their head! But that does not mean they are shy. They probably say a Hell of a lot more than most people in their thoughts.

Despite this, dyspraxic children are still very inquisitive. Because of the colourful imagination they have, they may come to you with the most surprising questions!


Most dyspraxic people in adulthood end up being very loud and abrupt in social situations, as a sort of compensation for their childhood days. They stop trying to filter their thoughts and just blurt out everything they’re thinking. They will probably end up offending someone, and not even meaning to!



6. You’re not even listening!


False! Dyspraxics are always listening, its just that only some of the words actually went in, and they’re now staring at you blankly because it was such a simple instruction that they know that they Should know what to do, and yet they don’t, but are probably too embarrassed to ask you to repeat it another 4 times, so they wander off and try to piece together what you’ve just said, but still fail. Next to the speech fail, this has to be the single most frustrating experience of being a dyspraxic child. If you ever find yourself saying this, or similar words, to a child, the best thing to do is to breathe slowly, and then repeat what you just told them, and then get them to repeat it too. Having them say the words will help the information process much quicker. If it’s an instruction to do something, maybe show them how to do it first, as copying actions will be much easier for them than remembering words.



I hope this little written piece has shed some more light on some of the things to look for in small children, and how to help them in school. If we can make dyspraxia more well known throughout primary schools, then more children will have the help they need! 


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