I was thinking about dyspraxia today. Mostly because I was watching my 2 year old imitate nearly everything his older (6 yrs) sister did. This morning, he didn't want to eat his apple until he saw her eat an apple. He didn't want to brush his teeth until he saw her do it. Then, as they played upstairs it seemed like he had no problem joining her play and doing what she did. As they were stacking blocks, she decided to get creative and build a "telephone" out of the blocks. Once finished, she "talked" on the phone. I expected him to build a car or house as he usually does, or even attempt to imitate her telephone structure...but he didn't. He built a camera. That's right, a camera! It caught me off guard when he came up to me with his connected blocks, put them to his eye, and said "cheese". I laughed of course, and told him I liked his camera; he then repeatedly said "camera'.
This whole scenario would be too difficult for some of the young kids I work with, for various reasons but mostly due to poor motor planning (aka dyspraxia). Good motor planning includes the ability to imitate another person's actions as well as sequencing out the steps to a new task and making coordinated movements with the body. All too often young kids with developmental disabilities have to be taught how to play, so the above scenario would be hard. It took visual memory, expressive language, motor planning/sequencing, imitation, sensory processing, fine-motor, cognition, and social-emotional skills. For a checklist of detailed signs and symptoms of dyspraxia for various age groups go to:
What Is Dyspraxia? How Is Dyspraxia Treated?
I've seen many kids with dyspraxia make huge gains, especially when their family and school understood what it was. Often, extra repetitions of teaching a task, patience, and lots of sensory input help the child learn. Occupational therapy is usually beneficial, and since some of the children have language delays also, they can benefit from speech therapy. It is important to find something the child is good at to boost their self-esteem. This doesn't typically include a sport such as soccer that requires the person to motor plan their actions against a moving ball and other moving people. Sometimes non-competitive activities such as karate, piano playing, and art classes are beneficial.