My guest Stacie Warner returns for another podcast episode to share about homeschooling and dyspraxia. If you did not listen to her first episode, you can do so here.
What is Dyspraxia?
We are familiar with the other "dys words" like dysgraphia and dyslexia, but not as much is known about dyspraxia.
Dyspraxia can cause the following:
- Motor movement and speech issues
- Poor coordination
- Disruption of daily function--difficulty eating and putting on clothes
- Organization issues
- Spatial issues--often clumsy, walking into things, or falling
- Sensory issues
Dyspraxia is thought to be caused by a delay in the message from the brain to the body. Diagnosis typically comes from a Child Psychologist and assessment comes through Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy.
Stacie shared how much finally getting a diagnosis for her son was actually a comfort to her. Many families share her sentiment when their child's learning differences are finally discovered.
"To get the diagnosis gave us some comfort because it solidified the concerns. 'It's okay, there's a name to it. Okay, I'm not crazy.' But sometimes it's like 'Am I overthinking this? Or am I pinpointing things that I don't need to?' The diagnosis gave us some comfort."
What Dyspraxia Isn't
Most kids with dyspraxia have co-morbidities, such as ADHD. Because of that, sometimes there is a misdiagnosis.
In the past, kids with dyspraxia were misunderstood and called names like "Motor Morons" or "Clumsy Children Syndrome." These days, dyspraxia is also called Developmental Coordination Disorder.
Before getting a diagnosis, kids with dyspraxia are often thought to be lazy or willful or messy, rather than having a brain disconnect. Dyspraxia often is misdiagnosed as Asperger's (High Functioning Autism), executive functioning issues, dyslexia, or dysgraphia (which can look the same on paper but doesn't affect gross motor skills.)
Boys are 4x more likely to be affected by dyspraxia than girls.
How Dyspraxia Affects Schooling
While dyspraxia can affect each child different, Stacie shared a few ways that her son has been affected academically
- Difficulty mastering activities that are typically preschool and kindergarten skills such as dressing oneself, crossing the midline, tying shoes, etc.
- Difficulty looking up and down to copy off the board--needing everything to be on a flat surface.
- Difficulty following multiple instructions on homework, such as "circle the noun, underline the verb, etc."
- Difficulty in PE class and sports
- Difficulty with coordination in activities like swimming and playing with hands together on the piano (although he is mastering this.)
Because of these difficulties, Stacie believes homeschooling is really the ideal schooling option for her son.
If You Suspect Dyspraxia
Stacie highly recommends getting testing and a diagnosis, which will open the door to much needed therapy services.
Also it is important to remember with dyspraxic kids (as well as any kids with learning disabilities), that having an embodied learning condition does not bring the child's intelligence into question. These kids are often very bright and just think outside the box!
Remember that your child is fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:140) and was created in a unique way that brings glory to God (John 9).
Stacie also shared about why it is important to remember that what a mom might consider challenges and what the child might consider challenges aren't necessarily the same. Try really hard not to limit your child. "Always look at the strengths." And help your child be aware of their issues so they can self-advocate.
Handwriting Without Tears writing curriculum
Stacie's Book recommendations:
Sensory Resources (added by Beth):
My absolute favorite place to buy sensory and OT related items is Fun and Function. You can search by diagnosis and see recommendations.