Childhood dyspraxia: James' story 

James was diagnosed in 2005 with dyspraxia, a disability that can affect movement and co-ordination. His mother describes James's symptoms and the methods used to improve his condition. Note: this video represents the parent's view of her child; for the latest information on dyspraxia see:

www.movementmattersuk.org

Transcript of Childhood dyspraxia: James' story

James is nine and he has dyspraxia.

He always had problems as a young child

and we finally got a diagnosis for him in February 2005.

Dyspraxia is quite common.

I think about 10%, maybe one in every classroom,

will have some features of dyspraxia.

James was always slightly different from all the other children we knew.

He fell over all the time. He had very poor balance.

He would fall out of highchairs,

he'd fall off a seat, trip up over nothing.

All the other children were holding pens. They were scribbling already.

They were talking. James wasn't talking.

My view of dyspraxia

is that it's a disorder of motor planning and execution.

So he knows what he wants to achieve,

but his ability to show you that he's achieved it is difficult.

So he has his intelligence up here and his physical ability down here

and this gap is what I call his frustration gap.

So he knows what he wants to get to, but getting there is just beyond his grasp.

There are a lot of things that we've done functionally

that assist the dyspraxia,

like the writing slope that he can use.

We also have pencil grips.

He can choose different types of pencil grips or thickness of pens.

And there are other things. He's got a swing seat

so if he needs calming down he'll sit in his swing and have a little calm-down.

James is always, basically, in a state of flight,

because he's stressed about everything and everything's very difficult.

We try and regulate him. So if he's running low,

he might jump on his trampoline or something to get him going.

The act of bouncing gives him a lot of feedback

of where his body is from gravity

and from the tension in the bed of the trampoline,

and he absolutely loves that.

Dyspraxia is the classic hidden handicap, because it is a handicap.

It affects every area of his life.

People who just look at a snapshot view of James

will say, "What's the matter with him?"

People just fail to accept that there is an issue with him

and that really does frustrate you

because how can he deliver what his potential is

if people aren't assisting and understanding him?

The way we work with James is that we try to program him

so that he has his own inbuilt routines.

That's where he seems to lack any...

If you give him too much choice, he doesn't know where to start.

So the aim is that he will develop his own routines

and know what he's going to do and his planning will be there.

The future is that we teach him to cope with how to get through,

and hopefully he will find a way that suits him.

Just because you don't fit in the "normal" box

doesn't mean you haven't got a future.

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Developmental co-ordination disorder

DCD, also known as dyspraxia, is a condition affecting physical co-ordination that first develops in childhood

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If your child has a health condition or disability, they may need specialised healthcare and help at school. Find out more here.