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Understanding Dyspraxia: Signs To Look Out For

Dyspraxia is commonly referred to as a neurological disorder that affects the way one plans and processes motor tasks, ultimately impacting physical coordination. Since children with dyspraxia reach their developmental milestones much later as compared to their peers, their behaviours appear more immature than children of the same age. Children with Dyspraxia may appear to be more clumsily and uncoordinated.

For example, instead of crawling on their hands and knees before attempting to walk, a child with dysprasia may shuffle across the floor on their bottom instead. This may be because they do not know how to coordinate their muscle groups for them to crawl. Since a brain affected by dyspraxia does not receive neural messages completely, a child with dyspraxia is unable to properly plan and execute fine and gross motor tasks accurately. In other words, their brains cannot tell their bodies what to do. This means they also face trouble with their executive functions.

Dyspraxia can also occur alongside other disorders like dyslexia, which relates to the ability to read, write and decode information effectively. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD may be diagnosed in children with dyspraxia too. While dyspraxia does not impact a child’s intelligence, they may still face difficulties in learning, even in terms of speech, making it a challenge for them to keep up at school.

Therefore, identifying the symptoms of dyspraxia ahead of time is beneficial for the child – they can undergo appropriate early intervention and therapy and build up their fine and gross motor skills at a comfortable pace with professional support.

What Are The Signs Of Dyspraxia?

Children with dyspraxia typically experience difficulties in developing the ability to do a variety of tasks. These include:

  • Crawling

  • Walking

  • Using utensils

  • Sitting

  • Holding pencils & other stationery items

  • Fastening buttons

Other symptoms that can become increasingly visible are:

  • Irritability

  • Feeding and sleeping difficulties

  • Sensitivity to loud sounds

  • Unusual postures

Over time, the impact of dyspraxia can influence other aspects of the child’s life. For instance, the inability to perform tasks can lead to poor organisational skills while their shorter attention spans make it a challenge to follow or remember instructions. These can hinder social interactions as well, ultimately causing them to develop a low self-esteem.

Why Early Intervention Is Important For Children With Dyspraxia?

Early intervention programmes are designed to understand a child’s developmental path and the appropriate methods to improve growth outcomes. Through a tailored plan which can involve a range of therapy, including speech, children with dyspraxia can develop the fundamental motor skills required to perform daily activities at an ideal pace. Identifying the need for, and seeking early intervention within the first six years of your child’s life will have a significant impact on their progress – a delay could cause your child to lose valuable time for quality intervention, and widen the developmental gap between them and their peers. This then makes it tougher to play catch up.

At MindChamps Allied Care, our early intervention specialists skilled in occupational therapy are trained to work with children with various developmental disorders, understand their needs and work towards targeted milestones. They also collaborate with parents to come up with a tailored and inclusive intervention plan at our centres in Singapore and at home.

Our goal is to build your child’s school readiness and to help them lead more independent and confident lives.

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