Dyspraxia -Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) – Page 2
Dyspraxia (DCD) is a Specific Disability affecting muscle control – fine & gross motor skills.
Poor muscle control, especially in the hand and fingers, leads to problems with literacy and numeracy.
There is also information on Indicators of Dyspraxia, Handwriting Aids & Equipment for Dyspraxia, Dyspraxia & Technology, Dyspraxia Tests / Screener, Dyspraxia FAQ’s, Dyspraxia & Exams.
Dyspraxia is often called ‘Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)’. At the moment, on this site, and to make it easier, we will still use the term Dyspraxia.
Indicators of Dyspraxia (DCD)
The following Indicators may indicate a child has dyspraxia– children do not need to have all of these problems.
* Age Range approximately from age 7 to 11 years
If a child has several of these indicators, then you should make further investigations with a specialist. Likewise, if these issues continue beyond the time that the average child has grown out of them, they may indicate dyspraxia, and advice should be sought.
Does the child:
- Fidget constantly?
- Never sit still?
- When sitting, swing his/her legs and fiddle with his/her hands and anything else around him/her?
- Continually knock things over?
- Spill everything?
- Have problems using knives and forks?
- Bump into everything all the time?
Stumble into doors, desks and other furniture?
- Fall over for no apparent reason?
- Have problems using stairs, steps?
- Have difficulties standing on tiptoe or one leg?
- Have problems dressing and doing up buttons?
- Have trouble doing shoelaces up?
- Have problems telling the time?
Does the child have problems with:
- Fine motor skills?
- Puzzles, construction games, Lego etc.?
- Using scissors and craft tools?
- Painting and colouring small areas?
- Threading a needle?
- Catching or kicking a ball?
- Hitting a moving ball, i.e. tennis etc.?
- Riding a bike?
- Using roller skates?
- Difficulties in coordination for swimming?
- In a more formal setting, i.e., classroom etc., children may notice problems.
The mechanical side of hand-writing
Does the child:
Grip the pen too tight and/or with a ‘fist grip’?
Appear to have difficulty with the physical part of writing?
Have poor motor control?
Changes hand constantly and do not appear to know whether to use his/her right or left hand?
Have very slow writing?
Have lots of ‘rubbings out’ or ‘crossed out’ words?
Does the child:
Start to write letters from the bottom upwards?
Write in all directions, i.e. right slant then left slant?
Use big and small spaces between words?
Use different sized letters on the same line?
Have written words which are often ‘not sitting on’ or are below the line?
Mix up capital letters and lower-case letters on the same line?
Have abnormal and irregular formation of letters?
Have problems following margins?
Writing slope on the page?
Have difficulty copying symbols i.e., circles, squares, and triangles?
Have difficulty, e., very slow copying from the board?
Comprehension (understanding), Grammar
Does the child have difficulty with:
Sequencing words to make a sentence?
Organising his/her ideas to complete a story?
Using full stops and capital letters?
Writing – that is almost impossible to read?
Writing – a mixture of printing and cursive writing on the same line?
Early Diagnosis is the key to success!
The earlier dyspraxia is diagnosed, the easier it is to ensure the child receives the correct support at home and at school. Although there is no cure for dyspraxia, research has shown the problems can be alleviated with the proper tuition.
Please bear in mind that children vary tremendously at this age. An Educational Psychologist and some other specialists can diagnose someone with Dyspraxia.
This is a guide only and does not constitute medical or psychological advice.
If you are concerned about your child, you should seek professional advice as early as possible.
©Maria Chivers January – 2018
Dyspraxia (DCD) Aids & Equipment
No Tie Elastic Laces
After working with people with dyslexia, dyspraxia etc., for years, there comes a time when we have to decide what battles are worth fighting.
Hickies are just like shoelaces, and you can buy them in so many different colours, they are great. That doesn’t mean I would give in too easily; when you have done your utmost, take the easy way out!
You can purchase these at Amazon.
Dyspraxia (DCD) & Technology
There is a lot of equipment for dyspraxia; the only problem is knowing what you actually need and where you can get them. I have listed a selection of aids that are specifically designed to help students with dyspraxia (DCD).
Typing Aids & Dyspraxia (DCD)
There are many typing aids for dyspraxia; the only problem is knowing what it is about and where you can get them. I have listed a selection of aids that are specifically designed to help students with dyspraxia.
Big Keys Keyboard for Dyspraxia
You can purchase keyboards with unique ‘large keys’.
BigKeys LX is a standard-sized keyboard and has 60 large chunky keys. The keyboards are available with uppercase letters with coloured or white keys. The keyboards are not any larger than your standard keyboard.
They can be connected by putting the plug straight into your ordinary computer – it couldn’t be easier.
They are perfect for students with fine-motor difficulties, such as Dyspraxia, Dysgraphia, ADHD or other similar problems.
Price is approx. £120 ex. VAT (however, depending on the reason for the purchase, i.e., disability, you may not have to pay this.
For further information, go to Inclusive Technology.
Adult Dyspraxia (DCD) Screener
While researching dyspraxia, I found a Dyspraxia Screener by a company called ‘The Yando Screener’.
As I have always thought I was dyspraxic but have never actually been tested, I was interested in taking this screener. The results were as I predicted. With a price tag of just under £10 – I think this is good value.
This screener provides a simple screening form to determine if your strengths and weaknesses fit a dyspraxic profile.
Depending on the results, it can help one decide whether to seek a full diagnostic assessment for dyspraxia.
The screener is designed into four parts;
1. Motor Coordination
2. Sensory Processing
3. Time Management and Organisation
4. Communication and Social Interaction
The report gave me an overall screening result, which was positive and summarised my strengths and weaknesses. My result was ‘positive’; therefore, it suggested I had ‘dyspraxic tendencies’ and advised that I may need to look into a more comprehensive test.
I am not sure if they offer further testing, but obviously, you can decide as to whether you would like to have a comprehensive assessment or not. For myself, I wouldn’t take it further because, at my age (60ish), I see little point. However, if you are a student at college or university and having problems with your coursework, then this may be something you feel would be appropriate.
Coursework / Examinations
If you decide to have a full test for dyspraxia and this proves positive, you may be able to have ‘reasonable accommodations’ for your exams etc.. This could be extra time, a scribe, software to help you etc.
The Dyspraxia Foundation can give you a lot of independent advice, go to their website at Dyspraxia Foundation.
Yando, the Dyspraxia Screener company can be found at the ‘Yando Screener’.
I have written this article, and they are my own views. I am not endorsing this product in any way, nor am I being paid to promote it.
Dyspraxia (DCD) FAQs
Dyspraxia or Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) & Frequently Asked Questions (faqs)
We get quite a few questions from people asking about Dyspraxia and Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD’s), so I have tried to answer some of the more common below.
What is Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)?
Over the years, Dyspraxia (Dys-prax-eea) has been called several different names, including; ‘Clumsy Child Syndrome’, Dyspraxia and these days (2018) is usually called: ‘Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)‘.
To be completed.
Dyspraxia (DCD) & Examinations
GCSE, ‘A’ Levels and any other Examinations
If you have dyspraxia, you may be able to get concessions with examinations. Every Examination Board has different rules and regulations. Therefore, the school should contact them in plenty of time to ascertain the individual board’s exact requirements.
You may be able to use a computer for your coursework and examinations. Other concessions you may be entitled to include:
• Extra time – extra time, up to 25%, as dyslexics process information more slowly, this puts them on an equal footing as non-dyslexics.
• Amanuensis / Scribe – an adult who writes for the student.
• Reader – an adult to read out the questions to the student.
• Word processors – some dyslexic students type faster than they can write.
• Voice Recognition Software.
• Or other arrangements.
To get entitlement for any of the above, the Examination Boards will require a current assessment report from an Educational Psychologist or a teacher with specialist qualifications to identify, assess, and teach pupils with specific learning difficulties. The school should arrange this for you; however, you may need to arrange this yourself if there is a delay.
The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) is the single voice for its member awarding bodies. A Booklet on the regulations is available from www.jcq.org.uk.
You should request these concessions as early as possible.
Handwriting Aids for Dyspraxia (DCD)
There are so many aids and equipment for dyspraxia that parents are often confused about purchasing first. I have listed a selection of aids specifically designed to help students (children and adults) with dyspraxia and which I think would be most useful.
Pen Again – Ergosof Pen
This pen encourages the user to have a good pen or pencil grip. You can only correctly hold this pen in the correct position, making it easier for students to use it. I must admit these pens are very comfortable to use and are not just for children.
The suppliers also confirm that the ‘no grip’ design may be of particular benefit to people who find it difficult or uncomfortable to hold a pen. These pens are refillable.
Price Approx: £7.00 (but well worth it and because of the shape a little more difficult to lose, even for the children!)
Available from: The Dyslexia Shop.
The Triangular Grip
The original pencil grip designed to encourage correct tripod position. Excellent grips and incredibly cheap, considering the children lose them all the time! I think these are probably the best for a very young child.
Price Approx: £3.00 for 10
Available from: Crossbow Education.
The “Stubbi” Pencil Grip
The Stubbi Pencil grip was one of the first grips designed with ergonomic properties and remains one of the most popular choices. Excellent pencil grips, students cannot fail to hold the pen correctly, and they are very comfortable to use.
Price Approx: £3.95 for 10.
Available from: Crossbow Education.
Dexball Writing Aid
While this contraption certainly looks a little ‘odd’, it is convenient for students who have problems holding a pen correctly.
The Dexball has a pen holder attached to the softball, and then the user holds the ball between the forefinger and thumb. The pen is held in place by a plastic insert when tightened. Some children will love to use this because it is different and fun to use. However, it is not cheap, and if it were for my child, I would probably try one of the more affordable options first’.
Price Approx: £24.00 (expensive, but read the note above)
Available from: EmpTech.
The Writing Slope
This Writing Slope enables children to work and write at the optimum angle. Each sturdy slope is set at the recommended angle of 20 degrees and has a rubber grip to prevent slipping. This is an ideal piece of equipment for the student who has difficulty keeping the work in the right position.
Price Approx: £25.00.
Available from: Crossbow Education.