Signs of Developmental Dyspraxia

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Signs of Developmental Dyspraxia

The GP of the child suspected of having developmental dyspraxia will wish to obtain information about early developmental history before deciding whether or not to make a referral to a specialist who will be in a position to conduct further investigations.

Possible signs of dyspraxia in early childhood may be one or more of the following:

  • Lateness in achieving developmental milestones
  • Bottom-shuffling instead of crawling
  • Delays in the development of language
  • None of the above signs point conclusively to developmental dyspraxia and only a specialist will be able to determine whether diagnosis ought to be made.
  • In the primary school years, signs of dyspraxia will be likely to include one or more of the following:
  • Clumsiness - frequently bumping into objects or tripping over
  • Difficulty pedalling a tricycle or similar wheeled toy
  • Difficulty using cutlery to eat
  • Difficulty forming a correct pencil grip to write tidily - also experiencing aching hand after writing
  • Difficulty learning a sequence of dance moves or clapping or signing sequence
  • Difficulty using scissors
  • Poor balance
  • Difficulty timing jumping or running actions
  • Difficulty ordering speech sounds

As children with dyspraxia grow into teenagers, difficulties with time management and personal organization may become more apparent. These teenagers may struggle with sequencing when deciding in which order to carry out a series of tasks.

As a result of motor co-ordination difficulties, many dyspraxic children tire easily after writing or making things. Some children with dyspraxia tire particularly easily because they have chronically low muscle tone, or hypotonia, as it is known, medically.

Dyspraxia affects short-term memory, making it difficult for affected individuals to remember instructions. Following a routine is very helpful because it allows tasks to be committed to long-term memory, which is usually better than short-term or working memory in those with dyspraxia.

Symptoms of dyspraxia vary greatly from person to person. Some may have heightened sensitivity to touch, sound and to light, whereas others may have no unusual sensory symptoms of this kind at all.

Although dyspraxia is a distinct condition, it is not wholly unusual for those affected to have symptoms of other developmental disorders. In particular, dyspraxia may be present with Asperger syndrome.