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.

How Super Parents Communicate With Autistic Children

autistic childrenParents naturally desire for their children to be healthy and happy. But what if one day your child comes back from school and the look on his/her face says something is wrong, but you can’t get them to tell you about it? This is the most dreadful scenario, one which no parent wants to come across, especially if you have autistic children. This is just one of the many situations a parent could find not only challenging but also emotionally draining. Therefore, it is essential that you, as a parent, find a method to communicate with your child and make them feel comfortable enough to share anything and everything with you.

Give the child a reason to communicate

It is important for a parent to build a strong and warm bond with their child of special needs. Understand that your child, given the circumstances, already feels socially and emotionally withdrawn. Therefore, it is necessary for him/her to have a place where they can be themselves and pour their hearts out. They should be given a reason and enough comfort to communicate with their own parents freely. And this is the sole responsibility of a parent — to listen and understand their children.

Understanding the communication

Children with autism often experience difficulty with their speech and therefore are more comfortable with gestures. Therefore, the parents should observe the method of communication of the child to further develop his/her strengths. The child will often use means like pictures, echolalia, crying, pointing, or using a parent’s hand to point at what they need.

Echolalia, if you haven’t heard of it, is a simple method which children with autism use to communicate. They repeat the words they have heard before. For instance, they would remember what was said to them when they asked for water and then use those words at a later point in a totally different situation. Echolalia, however, is a good sign that your child is progressing with his/her communication.

Let the child ask for help

As parents, we often have a tendency to do everything for our child with special needs — for example, dressing them for school, packing their bags, getting their shoes, and tying their shoelaces. This often does not give the child a chance to do things by themselves. Present the child with a task and let them do things on their own. It is often cumbersome to decide how much help a child with autism needs to do his/her stuff. But give them an opportunity to do it, and remind them you’re there to help if they need the help.

However, it is important to realize too much of anything is bad. So although you should not overpower your child, you should not leave them totally independent to do their own thing. Understand that your child is special and so are his/her needs. Therefore, it is important that there is an adult mingling with and supervising them in their activities, even if it is only playing. This is also another method in which parents can interact and be playful with their children and open means of communication with them. Take the role of a partner rather than a parent while dealing with your children.

When you assume the role of a friend or a partner with your child, you are not only opening avenues for the child to communicate with you but also increasing their ability to communicate. This way, they not only learn to converse easily but also learn to perform tasks without explicit direction. Try letting them ask you for what they want rather than just giving it to them.

Reward the Child

It is necessary that you sometimes follow the lead rather than always being the leader in the case of a child with autism. And it is so essential to encourage them every time they make a fresh attempt at interaction and understanding. This will give them a push to keep pursuing their method of communication.


Even parents who are good at communication with their autistic children often ask themselves whether they truly understand their children. But by paying attention to your child’s verbal and non-verbal attempts at communication, you’ll readily develop a much deeper rapport with your child. This is how super parents learn to speak their child’s language.

The Dangers of ADHD Medications for Children

adhd medications for childrenIt is true that the symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattentiveness in children with ADHD can be alleviated with the help of medication. However, these medications have their own side-effects and risks. If you are the parent of a child with ADHD, it is important to learn the facts about the dangers of ADHD medications for children. If you want what is best for your child, as every parent surely does, make sure you make an informed decision after reading the following.

It can be difficult to decide whether or not you should give your child ADHD medication, but it can help if you do your homework. The first thing that needs to be understood is precisely what ADHA medications can and cannot do. ADHD medications may or may not improve a child’s ability to concentrate, control impulses, follow through with tasks, and plan ahead. In any event, these medications are not magic pills, so they will not fix all the problems of a child with ADHD. Even children who take ADHD medications may struggle with emotional problems, forgetfulness, and social awkwardness. Therefore, making lifestyle changes — including a healthy diet, regular exercise, and sufficient rest — is equally important.

The most common type of medication prescribed for ADHD is stimulant medication. Although the effectiveness of stimulants is backed up by considerable research, this type of medication has common side-effects:

Difficulty sleeping
Feeling restless and jittery
Loss of appetite
Mood swings
Racing heartbeat and palpitations
Nausea and stomach upsets

Apart from these potential side-effects, numerous safety concerns are also associated with ADHD stimulant medications:

Effects on the developing brain: It is not yet known what long-term impact ADHD medication has on the developing brain. According to some researchers, normal brain development in children and teenagers with ADHD may be hindered when using drugs such as Ritalin.

Heart-related problems: It has been found that ADHD medication increases the risk of sudden cardiac death in children and teenagers. The American Heart Association recommends that parents have their children undergo a cardiac evaluation before giving them stimulant medication.

Psychiatric problems: Symptoms of aggression, anxiety, depression, hostility, and paranoia in children may be aggravated or triggered by stimulants. Children with a personal history of bipolar disorder or depression are at much higher risk, so parents should carefully monitor them when giving them stimulants.

There are non-stimulant medications available, Strattera being one of the most common. Usually, the use of non-stimulant medications is considered because of the concerns and side-effects of stimulant ADHD medications. Even though Strattera is the only FDA-approved non-stimulant medication for the treatment of ADHD, it’s also associated with numerous side-effects:

Abdominal pain
Mood swings
Nausea, vomiting, and stomach upsets
Sleepiness and insomnia
Appetite suppression

There are also safety concerns with non-stimulant medications:

Liver problems: In rare cases, liver function in children taking non-stimulant medication for ADHD may be affected. Jaundice is among the early warning signs of liver problems.

ADHD medications of both varieties may lead to a rise in suicidal ideation in some children and teenagers, especially those suffering bipolar disorder or depression along with ADHD.

The dangers of ADHD medications for children are evident, and medication alone is not enough to treat ADHD in children. There is a lot that can be done to help children tackle the challenges of ADHD and lead a life that is calmer and more productive. This includes eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, maintaining a positive attitude, and trying therapy. Even if you must give your child medication for ADHD, you will be able lower the dose if you encourage your child to make healthy lifestyle changes and consider self-help strategies.