Many children are exhausted by the daily routines of life and school. Often in my conferences, parents ask me why their child experiences a total meltdown as soon as they get into the car or home. My own son experiences this and I understand the frustration for both the child and the parent. While there are many explanations for this, a common one is dyspraxia. It’s a developmental disorder in the way our brains process information. Dyspraxia affects the planning of activities. So, there is difficulty forming a plan and then carrying it out. This is actually more common then we might think. Here’s the link to the dyspraxia USA foundation. It often co-exists (comes along with other disorders such as sensory processing disorder, learning disorders, and ADD/ADHD). Dyspraxia is an ‘invisible disability’ where children look the same as their peers so they are expected to perform at the same level.
-trouble adjusting clothing properly
-mixing up words
-difficulty riding a tricycle or bike
-problems establishing a routine and seem to need more ‘adult’ help than peers
-difficulty catching, tossing, kicking a ball
-coloring and holding writing utensil and scissors difficulty
-complaining of sore muscles in neck and back
Children are often aware that they are not able to keep up with peers. The best thing to do is to talk about frustration and look for physiological signs of stress such as red face, not interacting with peers in social situations, stomach aches after social events and school, and increases in heart rate and negative behavior.
What to do to help your child?
It’s best to discuss any developmental concerns with your child’s physician. DO NOT let anyone brush you off or tell you, ‘it’s because he’s a boy’ or ‘you worry too much.’ Parents are the best advocates for their children.
Practice activities such as crossing midline and fine motor skills. Here are two videos I made that are packed with activities: Click to access the videos
Brain and sensory activity cards…..each card has instructions and can be used in the home, school, and therapy clinic!
Speak with an occupational therapist about ways to increase muscle strength. Remember that dyspraxia involves forming a plan. One of the ways to help children is to involve as many senses as possible. So, when learning letters…..write them with sidewalk chalk and walk on them. Use magnetic letters, trace letters with sandpaper, and draw letters with large body movements involving the whole arm.
Read our previous blog post here on learning through movement and this one on activities for children that are fun and build skills.