Professional Development – Dyspraxia

dyspraxia

Do you know what dyspraxia is?  Have you even heard of it?  Until tonight I just had a vague notion that it was something affecting speech.  How wrong was I!!?

There are so many great organisations in our community doing fantastic work for children with developmental delays and disabilities.  Psychological Solutions is just one local provider that is making a difference for children and families in our community not only through direct support but also by sharing information and professional development for educators, teachers, parents, and anyone else who could benefit.  Tonight I attended a free workshop at their clinic (and it was packed out – well done, team) that explained what dyspraxia is, how it affects children’s development and wellbeing, some signs to look for, and management strategies.

Hands on and active experiences helped us to almost step into the shoes of a person with dyspraxia.  Imagine trying to complete a maze on a piece of paper with a felt pen, with your non-writing hand, and you are not allowed to look at the paper but you can only look at a reflection of it in the mirror.  Then you put on a pair of too-big plastic gloves and have to tie your shoelaces.  With your eyes closed.  Not to mention watching a 5 minute long bollywood dance choreography and then trying to remember all of the 27 sequenced moves.

Are you getting the picture?  Basically dyspraxia is a disability that can affect movement and coordination.  Messages from the brain don’t travel properly to the muscles, to make them move how the person intends them to move.  But much more than that, dyspraxia can affect a child’s whole life, leading to difficulties with attention span, low self esteem, continually getting into strife with school and peers, and much more. Click here for a short video showing a mother’s story about her son who has this condition.

Early intervention (as with any delay) is key to helping little ones with this disability to develop and achieve what they want to achieve in life.  Signs can be evident at quite a young age, so early referral and diagnosis can happen and can make a hugely positive impact on a child’s life.  As always, if you have any concerns about a child not reaching any of their develomental milestones, contact your GP or child health nurse without delay.  This “Red Flag”guideline document is often used in our service by educators, parents and coordinators to help identify any concerns.

As mentioned in my philosophy, I am committed to ongoing learning to help me better serve the families and children in my care.  After tonight’s workshop I have a much better idea of what dyspraxia is and how to look out for potential signs, and it has also reinforced my general knowledge about children’s development and strategies to help all children succeed.

Many thanks to Liz, Lindy and the rest of the wonderful team who delivered this session.  I’m looking forward to more of your sessions throughout the year.

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