What is dyspraxia and why is it so hard to diagnose?

Imagine a child who shows all the signs of regular or above average development and yet struggles with simple daily tasks like tying their shoe places or buttoning their shirt. Such a child may also struggle with expressing itself in speech and show some hyperactive tendencies.

Dyspraxia more prevalent in kids than ADHD, autism

These are signs of dyspraxia, which is also known as developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD). It is a condition that affects a child’s motor skills making everyday activities, and age-relevant academic milestones hard to achieve,

It affects a significant number of school children, much more than ADHD and autism, and is more common in boys. Yet, it goes undiagnosed by many doctors.

Experts say that the diagnosis usually takes place when the child is in school and parents are usually told by doctors not to worry about it. There is a major lack of awareness among doctors and the impact is often not understood and therefore minimised.

Children with dyspraxia are often of above average intelligence, but they require different teaching tactics and lots of repetition. They work hard but lack of proper support or acknowledgment makes them unsuccessful and leads to feelings of low self-esteem and depression.

Kids also tend to withdraw from physical activity as they are not good at playing sports and become inactive. They are also socially isolated because they can’t do what other kids are doing. They are often alone in the playground and become targets of bullying.

The good news about dyspraxia

With therapy and support, many children with dyspraxia can go on to live successful and independent lives. There are no medications to treat this but a combination of physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy, can enable them to do activities that help maintain confidence and remain socially connected.

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