Dyspraxia and Teaching

Developmental Dyspraxia is a neurologically based impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement. Associated with this may be difficulties with language, perception and thought. Affected children have a normal intelligence for their age but may have difficulty in both processing information and in communicating what they know or understand. It affects each child differently, therefore each child’s difficulties are unique to him/her. Some children navigate their way relatively easily and may not need a great deal of intervention.

Difficulties may show in:

  • Writing and drawing abilities.
  • Fine and/or gross motor skills- dislikes games, Physical Education, ball activities and playing outside.
  • Eating and drinking.
  • Dressing.
  • Learning new skills.
  • Distractibility and disruptive in the classroom.
  • Movement and balance.
  • Standing on one leg, hopping or jumping.
  • Copying text from book or blackboard.
  • Sequencing.
  • Planning and organising thoughts.
  • Language skills, word recall, communication.
  • Following instructions.
  • Social skills and behaviour.
  • Emotional immaturity.
  • Inconsistency.

What will help ?

Reading relevant material will help you gain a deeper understanding — many of the difficulties you encounter with the individual child can be directly accounted for by relating it to the information. With this understanding you can work out the most appropriate approach to teaching the child.

If you find something you don’t understand, consulting the child’s parents or therapist may help. The Dyspraxia Support Group provides training to teachers and support staff. Please phone or email us for any support you may need.

 

 

What the teacher can do:

  • Adjust (not necessarily lower) expectations in spite of child seeming bright enough.
  • Allow more time.
  • Adjust quantity of work.
  • Give gentle reminders.
  • Good teaching practices win every time.
  • Listen to parent, who knows this child better than anyone ever will.
  • Break tasks down into more manageable parts – simplify!
  • Don’t assume the child has understood.
  • Give single instructions rather than a long list.
  • Look for the strengths of the child. Encourage and develop these.
  • Acknowledge the effort the child has put into the task. Sometimes this is far greater than their peers.
  • Celebrate the child for their unique qualities.