What is dyspraxia?
Dyspraxia is also a neurological condition, again affecting around 5% to 10% of the population, and occurs when part of the brain has failed to mature properly.
The result is the ‘clumsy’ child who may have difficulties with any or all of the following:
- Gym and sports
- Organisational difficulties and general ‘untidiness’
- Speech and language difficulties
The dyspraxic child can have problems dressing and feeding, concentration difficulties, heightened sensory awareness and poor social skills.
There are other motor co-ordination difficulties which may present a similar picture to dyspraxia:
mild cerebral palsy
All of these may also show signs of sensory integration dysfunction.
This term refers to basic neurological processes which take place before information received from our senses (especially about touch, movement and body position) reaches the higher levels of the brain. There are great variations in our individual ability to process this information. Our adaptive responses are equally varied. Our sensory processing capacities inform our movements, attention and concentration skills and can also influence our social behaviour.
We talk about sensory integration dysfunction when sensory information cannot be adequately organized by an individual leading to difficulties in daily life. These difficulties may be displayed as dyspraxia.
In order to address these difficulties, an occupational therapist with additional training in sensory integration therapy will evaluate the child and implement specifically selected techniques to help the child develop better processing abilities.
Specialist intervention is required to help dyspraxic children – some of our children have programs of exercises from occupational therapists – and our teachers have the professional background to provide appropriate help in class, in 1:1 teaching, in sport and in the playground. With the right help, dyspraxic difficulties can be substantially improved, and children at The Unicorn School receive the support they need to guard against loss of confidence and self esteem.