3 Dyspraxia Symptoms to Be Concerned About in Your Kid

dyspraxia symptomsDo you notice your child’s motor skills quite delayed, as compared to an average kid? If so, then it may help if you have your child tested and evaluated by a medical professional who can determine possible reasons for this condition. There are certain causes of this delay in motor skills, and one of those is dyspraxia. Read on to find out more about the different dyspraxia symptoms in kids and what may be done to address this issue.

Overview of dyspraxia

Dyspraxia is a condition characterized by a person’s inability to move and perform tasks accurately. Children with dyspraxia encounter problems with their gross motor skills such as jumping, hopping on one leg, running, skipping, or throwing an object. They may also find it difficult to carry out movements that involve smaller muscles of their body, including writing, painting, whistling, pronouncing words, and drawing.

People who are diagnosed with dyspraxia may have language issues, and they experience difficulties with perception and thought. Their brain is unable to process information in an efficient way that allows for accurate transmission of neural messages. While dyspraxia does not have any effects on the person’s intelligence, it can lead to learning problems in kids.

Symptoms of dyspraxia

There are a number of symptoms linked with dyspraxia in children, three of which include the following:

1. Developmental issues

Babies and toddlers may show signs of dyspraxia when they are not able to attain the normal development stages for their age. For instance, these kids may take longer to sit, roll over, walk, speak, toilet train, stand, and crawl. In addition, their speech may appear to be immature and difficult to understand during their early years. These kids may also have unsatisfactory vocabulary and language skills.

When given an opportunity to mingle with other kids, they may have certain problems in relating with children their age because of poor gross and fine motor skills. Parents may be concerned about the performance of their kids in school because they are unable to concentrate or process thoughts easily. With these developmental problems that kids encounter, they may end up avoiding home or school activities because of the assumption that they will only embarrass themselves in front of other people.

2. Learning problems

Children with dyspraxia experience learning issues because of their poor concentration and cognitive skills. They are unable to focus on one thing for several minutes, and they have problems picking up and mastering new skills unless they are given encouragement. Hence, these kids perform better at school when they are surrounded by several people or when teachers take time to supervise them on a one-to-one basis. These kids may also find it too challenging to write stories or copy notes from the blackboard, so it is common for them to be quite behind in school.

When kids encounter learning and perception problems, they may be branded negatively by their peers. While it is not their fault that they have these issues, the constant teasing or reprimanding that they get from peers and adults may cause them to feel bad about themselves. These children may even blame themselves and develop a poor self-image as they grow up.

3. Muscle coordination and movement

Kids with dyspraxia have issues with eye-hand coordination and movement. They may find it difficult to join typical playground games, such as catching a ball, running, skipping rope, and playing any sport. They may also lack interest in playing with jigsaw puzzles, shape-sorter toys, and building blocks. Moreover, these kids have problems in using their pens, crayons, and scissors because of their underdeveloped fine motor skills.

Some people may perceive children with developmental dyspraxia as clumsy or awkward since they are prone to dropping things, bumping into objects, or falling over frequently. They are also unable to sit or stand still, tie their shoelaces, or write neatly.

Addressing issues caused by dyspraxia

If you notice these dyspraxia symptoms in your child, it is best to have him or her diagnosed and treated immediately. With proper guidance, encouragement, and counseling, parents and teachers can help kids manage their difficulties in learning, moving, and concentrating. It is also important that you work on building your child’s self-image and confidence through positive reinforcement and motivation. Instead of reprimanding kids for their incompetencies, you should encourage them to participate in regular activities and mingle with other people to help improve the quality of their life.


Does Your Child Have Developmental Coordination Disorder?

developmental coordination disorderDevelopmental coordination disorder (DCD) is caused by the underdevelopment of part of the brain responsible for making skills automatic (the cerebellum) — in other words, motor skills and coordination are not performed automatically (for example, picking up a toy or putting food into the mouth using a fork). Also known as developmental dyspraxia, DCD has absolutely nothing to do with your child’s intelligence and can be managed carefully so that your child does not miss out on any opportunities at school or at home.

You are probably concerned that your child seems especially clumsy. You are probably also worried that others have begun to notice this too, and perhaps your child is becoming increasingly frustrated as a result. In the past, experts would have said that your child has “clumsy child syndrome” and leave it at that. “They’ll grow out of it” or “It must be because they’re having a growth spurt” were common dismissals. Now we know better. Not only is your child frustrated at not being able to do what they want with their fingers, hands, arms, and legs, but they cannot understand why they can’t do what all the other children seem to be able to do without even thinking about it. Their language, communication, and perception skills are also likely to be delayed.

Here is how you can identify whether your child has DCD:

Babies and toddlers

When your child was an infant, they may have been a bit floppy (low-toned) or found it hard to stay sitting up straight. They may have been late to sit and walk or were unable to crawl. They may have been overly fussy and had difficulties with eating. Later on, as they became more mobile, they may have seemed to have more than the usual number of bumps and scrapes.

Children aged three to five

Your child is now at nursery school, where key milestones are being assessed regularly. Delays are being noted and reported to you during consultations. Here your child will be compared with their peers, so significant delays are more apparent, making diagnosis possible. You may have noticed perhaps that your child hasn’t learned to catch a ball as quickly as their older sibling did or finds eating with a knife and fork really tricky. Maybe they spill their drink nearly every time they have one and it’s driving you up the wall (buy a plastic-coated table cloth!). They are overly excitable and prefer the company of adults rather than peers in their age group. They have weak language and communication skills and, as a result, their perception is sometimes skewed. They don’t enjoy creative play much and struggle to stay on task. They find riding a tricycle tricky, being unable to alternate pedal pushes and maybe not having the core strength to remain on the seat. They may even keep bumping into things.

Physical symptoms

A child with the physical symptoms of DCD is going to have underdeveloped core stability. Core stability is all about your body being able to sit upright, maintain balance, and have your limbs moving in a controlled and fluid manner. A child with DCD will therefore find it difficult to sit or stand comfortably, keep their balance even while seated, and stay seated for long. They will need to move about to readjust their position in an attempt to get comfortable and will become tired quickly.

Diagnosis

If your child is under five, then a diagnosis is unlikely but not impossible. Why? Because children move through the early developmental stages at such different rates that it is hard to tell whether their difficulties are part of normal developmental delays or are more chronic (long-term). You may have seen this variation in the speed of development with your own children or those of your friends and family as you compare their progress from first words to potty training to learning how to share. However, your health advisor will be able to observe any delays in development and offer guidance on ways to support your infant or toddler at home. Also, a diagnosis is more likely when your child is in a setting where they are quite clearly falling behind their peer group, such as full-time education. However, the earlier the diagnosis, the better.

Nobody knows your child better than you do. And nobody wants the best for their child as much as you do. That is why you are in a great position to understand your child’s developmental coordination disorder (remember, you may hear it referred to as developmental dyspraxia) and get the best results for them.


Dyspraxia in Children: How to Test for It

dyspraxia in childrenAs a caring parent, do you always find your child experiencing some difficulties carrying out daily life activities? This could be in terms of poor relations with the peers or finding it hard to execute some simple activities. Have you ever taken time to establish what this challenge really is? There is a practical solution that has been tested over time and can help in determining the real cause of such unusual behavior displayed by your child. Most parents would wish to know exactly what is denying their children the comfort of normal life. This condition is known as dyspraxia, and dyspraxia in children is responsible for the signs exhibited by the affected children.

There are measures that can be undertaken to determine whether the child is affected, and they include the following tests:

Education tests

Any parent with a child experiencing academic challenges at school should consider the services of education experts. How is this relevant towards solving the problem? Education experts are professionally trained individuals who can analyze and give proper judgment about the issue at hand. They subject the affected child to some simple academic work that correlates with the child’s age. This is to establish whether the child can handle the task with ease or will be forced to quit along the way.

The conclusion will be based on the end result. Should the child fail completely in the given test, it leads to the conclusion that there is a mental factor which is responsible for the behavior. The experts have many years of experience in the study of the human mind and can advise on the appropriate action to be taken. For instance, a twelve-year-old child should be able to write with ease the word ‘earth’. Should there be failure, it means there is an issue that needs urgent attention.

Physical-exercise tests

Subjecting the child to some exercises that involve gross use of energy is also necessary. This is because some children find it hard performing activities such as riding a bicycle or even playing with bean bags. By involving physical trainers who in most cases have a medical background, the problem at hand will be established. Dyspraxia has a tendency of impairing proper communication between the brain and the muscles. Should the children under testing find it hard to execute activities that require a high level of energy, it can be concluded that they are affected.

Medical tests

Some children experience difficulties with sight and have impaired hearing. It is therefore necessary that once these signs are detected, the child is taken for clinical examination to establish the cause. A hearing test could be performed by letting the child stand at a distance away from the source. This is important so as to establish whether the child can respond positively at various distances in relation to the sound generated.

It is important that proper and careful judgment be made regarding how the child started to adapt to basic activities such as crawling and holding objects. It helps to ascertain whether the problem was congenital or was acquired as the child advanced in age.

General-observation tests

Some children with dyspraxia tend to have social problems, such as relating well with their peers. In most cases, they may tend to be aggressive towards their friends or avoid direct eye contact. This is brought about by feelings of inadequacy on their part. In some cases, their speech could be affected such that they may not be able to pronounce words clearly. It is important that they are exposed to new words to check whether there is any improvement in pronunciation. Should the results remain the same in all the tests done, then it can be concluded that the child in question is indeed affected by dyspraxia.


A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech

childhood apraxia of speechChildhood apraxia of speech (CAS), also known as developmental verbal dyspraxia (DVD), is a rather ambiguous and unique disorder. It is a neurological condition that is poorly understood. In CAS, your child will be unable to move his/her tongue or mouth to speak, in spite of wanting to talk. Usually, children with this disorder don’t start talking until they are two years old.

A motor speech disorder, CAS means that the brain is unable to send correct messages to the mouth muscles, hence the speech is very incoherent. Although most young kids are not perfectly clear while speaking, in the case of children with CAS, lack of clarity is much more prominent. There are no known causes as to why it occurs, but some probable causes have been identified in genetics.

As a parent, it can be very confusing to understand CAS. The best way to go about this would be by educating yourself and your family about what CAS is, how it’s diagnosed, and how you can help your child. This is a brief guide that covers certain concerns that you may have as a parent.

How to differentiate between speech delay and CAS

In speech delay, the child’s ability to talk and his/her cognitive skills will match. For instance, if the child is a late talker, then his/her cognitive skills will also develop at a slower rate. However, in the case of CAS, the child will be able to comprehend language at a normal pace, but when it comes to talking or expressing himself/herself, it’ll be a huge struggle.

However, this one major difference between speech delay and CAS is not the main criterion for identifying CAS, as certain other language disorders have similar symptoms.

Diagnosis of CAS

If you suspect that your child may be suffering from CAS, the most logical thing to do is to consult a speech language pathologist (SLP). An SLP will be able to accurately assess, evaluate, and diagnose CAS. The evaluation process will involve the SLP noting the developmental history of your child and any other problems or medical issues experienced.

Next, the SLP will ask your child to talk and repeat a few words to see how he/she is communicating. The SLP will observe and note everything. If it appears your child has CAS, the SLP will conduct a motor speech exam. This exam involves repeating challenging and difficult words, phrases, and syllables.

Most likely age of diagnosis

Most children will be diagnosed only after the age of two. This is because if the child is younger, he/she is not in a position to really understand and cooperate with any of the tests. As such, there is no specific age when the child can be diagnosed. The main thing to note here is that the child needs to be in a position to participate in the examination that the SLP conducts.

Importance of accurate diagnosis

A recent study has shown that CAS is quite rare among children. Hence, there have been cases where a child has been misdiagnosed with CAS when, in reality, the child had other speech problems. It’s vital that you consult a good SLP. Typically, a certain diagnosis can’t be made in the case of very young children. It also makes sense to consult more than one SLP.

Is CAS preventable?

Researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint any cause of CAS. In the future, it is likely that they may discover CAS is caused by multiple conditions and factors. Until the real cause is known, it is difficult to say whether CAS is preventable.

Improving speech capacity

The one thing that remains constant is ensuring that the child undergoes proper speech therapy. This therapy needs to address the severity of CAS in your child. It’s vital that your child has regular therapy sessions for best results. The child also needs to remain as healthy as possible for maximum improvement from these therapy sessions.

Once your child starts speech therapy, you’ll notice that he/she is speaking more clearly and people are able to understand what he/she is saying. This is a good thing because you know all your love, care, and effort has helped you and your child. Childhood apraxia of speech, or developmental verbal dyspraxia, can be battled!


Dyslexia in Children: Tricks for Dealing With It

dyslexia in childrenDyslexia is a neurological condition that has been around for a very long time. Dyslexia in children can be described as a learning disability that can limit a child’s ability to spell, speak, write, and read. It is unfortunate that many cases of this condition go undiagnosed until one has reached adulthood. Although this condition has been around for many years, it has no cure. Dyslexia arises from inheriting some genetic traits determining how the brain works. Despite the fact that this is a lifetime condition, children who are able to receive specialized education are able to succeed in their academic pursuits.

In the event that this condition is not diagnosed early enough, the child may become frustrated by the fact that he or she is unable to read, write, spell, or speak as well as other children. This frustration may trigger other symptoms that may disguise dyslexia. In such a situation, the child may appear depressed and may also develop a low self-esteem. It is common for children suffering from this condition to develop a dislike for school and also show behavior problems at school and at home.

Here are some tricks for dealing with the condition:

Accept the condition for what it is. If you want to help a child suffering from dyslexia, it is important that you see the condition as a learning disability and not a sign of failure on the part of the child. By showing children that you understand their condition, you will protect them from the urge to compensate for their learning disability, which could damage them more. It is also important to accept the fact that, although the condition will create challenges in the life of the child, his or her life is not doomed.

Be supportive to the child. It is worth noting that children who suffer from dyslexia are prone to frustrations and low self-esteem. When they are unable to do a simple task such as spelling, it may cause them to develop a dislike for school. It is therefore very crucial for everybody who is interacting with these kids to show them love and encourage them not to give up on their activities and talents. You should encourage the child to develop confidence in the areas in which they are strong and then try to transfer this confidence to other areas such as mathematics and science.

Offer encouragement. Offering encouragement and support is a very good way to help children suffering from dyslexia. Offer encouragement to these children, and investigate specific areas in their life where they need coaching, assistance, and training. Your encouragement and support should be not only through words but also through actions. It is vital for you to understand that a child with this condition may need help from different professionals such as physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists. It is your responsibility to ensure that the child receives the necessary support for and self-knowledge about his condition.

Create a favorable environment for the child. As a person taking care of these children, you have the responsibility to create an environment that is conducive to learning. Provide them with a clean, organized, and a quiet place to study. Ensure all their nutritional and sleep needs are met, and ensure there’s a strong base of family support. Offer these children an opportunity to participate in different activities and outings where they can learn different skills.

Join a support group. This is another great way you can learn how to deal with a child suffering from dyslexia. In these support groups, you will meet other parents who have children with the same learning disability. Support groups are a good source of emotional and informational support.

Although dyslexia in children is a lifelong condition, it is important for you to understand that there is a lot you can do to improve the condition of the child. The attitude portrayed by the adults around the child has a huge impact and will greatly influence the kind of attitude that these children will develop towards their lives. If the adults show a positive attitude, then these children will develop a positive attitude. With a positive attitude, problems such as depression and low self-esteem will not occur.