Dyspraxia is generally recognised to be an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement. Associated with this may be problems of language, perception and thought. Other names for dyspraxic include Clumsy Child Syndrome; Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD); Minimal Brain Dysfunction: Motor learning Difficulty; and Pereceptuo-motor Dysfunction. (Dyspraxia Foundation, 2010)
Cause: For the majority of those with the condition, there is no known cause. Current research suggests that it is due to an immaturity of neurone development in the brain rather than to brain damage. People with dyspraxia have no clinical neurological abnormality to explain their condition.
Early indications include:
- Lateness in walking
- May miss crawling altogether
- Difficulty with tasks such as dressing, ball games, riding a bicycle and identifying hands on clocks in telling the time
These underlying problems continue into adulthood, usually displayed by poor gross motor skills, including poor spatial awareness. May also emerge with difficulty in driving and in sporting activities such as cricket, where hand/eye coordination is required. May also show certain dyslexic tendencies.
It is not unusual for a co-morbidity to exist especially dyslexia and evidence shows that where dyslexia is identified, dyspraxia may go unidentified.
Dyspraxia like dyslexia difficulties can be overcome with the correct support. Dyspraxia can be identified by the dyslexia test and dypraxia screening test, provided by Dyslexia Success.
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder)
ADHD is one of the co-morbidities usually associated with Dyspraxia. It is usually characterised by inattentiveness, disorganisation and impulsivity.
- Children with ADHD are less likely to interact with their peers.
- They may sit quietly, but they are not paying attention to what they are doing.
- The child may be overlooked, and parents and teachers may not notice that he or she has ADHD.
- They tend to fidget a lot and are not able to sit still.
Some children with ADHD continue to have it as adults. And many adults who have the disorder don't know it. They may feel that it is impossible to get organized, stick to a job, or remember and keep appointments. Daily tasks such as getting up in the morning, preparing to leave the house for work, arriving at work on time, and being productive on the job can be especially challenging for adults with ADHD. These adults may have a history of failure at school, problems at work, or difficult or failed relationships. Many have had multiple traffic accidents.
Like teenagers, adults with ADHD may seem restless and may try to do several things at once, most of them unsuccessfully. For some adults, a diagnosis of ADHD can bring a sense of relief. Adults who have had the disorder since childhood, but who have not been diagnosed, may have developed negative feelings about themselves over the years. Receiving a diagnosis allows them to understand the reasons for their problems, and treatment will allow them to deal with their problems more effectively. (NIMH 2010)
Dyslexia Success includes testing for ADHD as part of the full diagnoistic assessment.
Dyscalculia, Dyslexia and Maths
Dyscalculia is: ‘A condition that affects the ability to acquire arithmetical sklls. Dyscalculic learners may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers, and have problems learning number facts and procedures. Even if they produce a correct answer or use a correct method, they may do so mechanically and without confidence.’ DfES
Dyscalculia is like dyslexia for numbers. But unlike dyslexia, very little is known about its prevalence, causes or treatment. Current thinking suggests that it is a congenital condition, caused by the abnormal functioning of a specific area of the brain. People with dyscalculia experience great difficulty with the most basic aspects of numbers and arithmetic.
Research suggests that 40-50% of dyslexics show no signs of dyscalculia. They perform at least as well in maths as other children, with about 10% achieving at a higher level.
For some dyslexic pupils, however, difficulty with math may in fact stem from problems with the language surrounding mathematical questions rather than with number concepts - e.g. their dyslexia may cause them to misunderstand the wording of a question.
In summary, dyscalculia and dyslexia occur both independently of each other and together. The strategies for dealing with dyscalculia will be fundamentally the same whether or not the learner is also dyslexic.
Typical symptoms of dyscalculia.
- Counting: Dyscalculic children can usually learn the sequence of counting words, but may have difficulty navigating back and forth, especially in twos and threes.
- Calculations: Dyscalculic children find learning and recalling number facts difficult. They often lack confidence even when they produce the correct answer. They also fail to use rules and procedures to build on known facts. For example, they may know that 5+3=8, but not realise that, therefore, 3+5=8 or that 5+4=9.
- Numbers with zeros: Dyscalculic children may find it difficult to grasp that the words ten, hundred and thousand have the same relationship to each other as the numerals 10, 100 and 1000.
- Measures: Dyscalculic children often have difficulty with operations such as handling money or telling the time. They may also have problems with concepts such as speed (miles per hour) or temperature.
- Direction/orientation: Dyscalculic children may have difficulty understanding spatial orientation (including left and right) causing difficulties in following directions.
Further details may be obtained from the National Autism Society website.