Dyspraxia (children) - Treatment 

Treating dyspraxia 

Speech and language therapy

A speech and language therapist explains how the therapy works and who can benefit from it.

Media last reviewed: 11/07/2013

Next review due: 11/07/2015

Other conditions

Children with dyspraxia often have other conditions as well, such as:

These conditions may have their own treatments. For example, ADHD is often treated with medication, and dyslexia is usually treated with educational interventions to improve the way your child identifies and processes sounds.

Dyspraxia (a type of developmental co-ordination disorder) cannot be cured. However, there are ways to teach your child to cope with their problems. It is important a proper diagnosis is made, as your child may have a greater chance of improvement if treatment is started early.

A small group of children, usually those with mild symptoms of clumsiness, may ‘grow out’ of their symptoms. However, as many as 9 out of 10 children will continue to be affected as a teenager and an adult.
 
Once dyspraxia has been diagnosed, treatment is available from a variety of specialists (see below). This, combined with extra help at school, can help your child overcome many difficulties.

Healthcare professionals

A number of healthcare professionals may be involved in your child’s care, including:

  • an occupational therapist a healthcare professional who works out practical solutions to everyday problems
  • a paediatrician a doctor who specialises in babies' and children's health
  • a physiotherapist  a healthcare professional trained in the use of physical methods, such as massage, to promote healing
  • a clinical psychologist  a healthcare professional who specialises in the assessment and treatment of mental health conditions
  • an educational psychologist  a healthcare professional who assists children who are having trouble progressing with their education due to emotional, psychological or behavioural factors

Occupational therapy

This therapy involves identifying problem areas in your child’s everyday life, and working out practical solutions.

Your child’s occupational therapist will watch your child at home, at school and when playing to identify when your child experiences problems. For example, your child may have difficulty:

  • dressing themselves
  • walking to the bus stop
  • using a knife and fork
  • riding a bike
  • writing

Your child’s occupational therapist can then work out ways around the problem, for example by breaking the action down into small steps and practising individual movements. Alternatively your child may need some physical aids, such as crutches to help them walk, or a stairlift fitted at home. 

Read more information about occupational therapy.

Speech and language therapy

Dyspraxia affects co-ordination, which includes co-ordinating muscles used to speak. Speech and language therapy may be useful if your child has problems with speech. For example, your child may:

  • only be able to make certain sounds, such as being able to pronounce ‘T’ but not ‘D’
  • miss out parts of words
  • talk too slowly or too quickly
  • talk too loudly or too quietly

A speech and language therapist will:

  • assess your child's speech
  • identify what problems they have
  • help them communicate to the best of their ability

The therapist will arrange a programme to address your child’s needs. This may involve:

  • exercises to move the lips or tongue in a certain way
  • practising producing a certain sound
  • learning to control their breathing 

With speech and language therapy, your child could learn to manage their disability. 

Perceptual motor training

Treatment may also involve perceptual motor training. This is a set of tasks that cover:

  • language skills
  • visual and auditory (hearing and listening) skills
  • movement skills

Your child may be given a graduated series of exercises to develop these skills. Each exercise is difficult enough to challenge your child but not so difficult that they become frustrated.

More information

The Dyspraxia Foundation has a number of factsheets you may find useful:

The Dyspraxia Foundation has a network of local support groups and publishes a range of leaflets, booklets and books. They can be contacted on 01462 454 986.




Page last reviewed: 05/07/2012

Next review due: 05/07/2014

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