Supporting a child with Dyspraxia


Throughout my time in Mainstream Education, I worked with several children who had Dyspraxia.  For an Ofsted Visit we were due I created some How to help leaflets for various SEN barriers that children may have.

These are details of how to support a child with Dyspraxia.

The term 'dyspraxia' is taken from the Greek  DYS meaning ill and PRAXIS meaning doing, acting, deed and practice - hence the literal meaning of 'dyspraxia; is ill-doing.  This reflects on the difficulties that children affected by it have in initiating and performing everyday tasks that many of us take for granted.

The causes of dyspraxia are unclear, but it is fundamentally a neurodevelopmental disorder resulting from an immaturity in the developing brain.



Children can have difficulty with :


  • writing quickly and maintaining the pace of peers.
  • being organised
  • Taking dictation or recalling detailed instructions.
  • PE especially team games as spatial organisation is required and also competitiveness
  • Taking notes from the board
  • Laboured handwriting
  • Low confidence and self-esteem
There is an increasing rise in the number of children who are experiencing motor co-ordination and perceptual difficulties.  These difficulties have a major repercussion on the child's handwriting legibility, their organisation and visual processing in relation to numeracy and literacy.  It also gives limitations for self-image which in turn is reflected in art and also personal appearance.  Very often they will have low self-esteem and low self-confidence.  There is a mismatch between the child's verbal reasoning and comprehension and their recorded work.  Pupils can also be very uncoordinated in PE and seem to be extremely clumsy. 




Some strategies that may help :-


  • Prepare maths work so that one calculation is given at a time, rather than several within a workbook.
  • Prepare specific writing activities on coloured paper.
  • If available use an angled board to improve hand eye co-ordination.
  • Provide alternatives to writing such as story boards and magazine cuttings. 
  • Suggest a child uses a pencil grip if their pen hold is awkward.
  • Use a writing spacer to help with spacing between words.
  • An alternative may be to ask the child to write on grid paper and then spacing can be made using the boxes. 
  • Grid paper can also be used to encourage the sizing of letters when handwriting. 
  • Provide number lines.
  • Practice sequencing such as days of the week, months of the year. 
  • Provide the child with a highlighter pen and encourage them to tick off items.
  • Provide a calculator with large clear numbers
  • Photocopy onto pastel coloured paper
  • Limit the time spent on a subject to prevent overload. 
  • Use easy to read fonts. 
  • Child, if possible, should sit facing forward and near the front of the class.
  • Be aware that the child may use strategies to avoid carrying our tasks they find difficult.
  • Give plenty of praise
  • Appreciate the things that they are good at
  • Give a small amount of verbal or written information at a time and reduce the volume of words when giving dictation. 



Some useful websites

www.abilitynet.org.uk

www.braingym.org

www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk

www.nha-handwriting.org.uk
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