Friday Counseling Issues: Learning Disabilities

Dyspraxia  is  a learning disability that most of us have never  heard of before.

Living with Dyspraxia ~ |

Dyspraxic people can  have language problems, and sometimes some difficulty with thought and perception. Dyspraxia, is not a matter of low intelligence, although it can cause learning problems in children.

Developmental dyspraxia is an immaturity in understanding and performing multi-layerd movement. For instance, a dyspraxic child will not do well at learning to play the piano. There are too many things he must process all at once, and he simply can’t.

A person with dyspraxia has trouble planning what to do, and how to do it. He is overwhelmed by complex problems of physical movement, including speech and handwriting.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke2 (NINDS) describes people with dyspraxia as being “out of sync” with their environment.

Studies have shown that about 10% of people have some degree of dyspraxia, while approximately 2% have it severely. Boys have it more often than girls . And dyspraxia often comes packaged with ADHD.

Daniel Radcliffe, better known to the ancient ones among us as Harry Potter, has dyspraxia. You can read what he has to say about it here.

Early symptoms of dyspraxia can include slowness in learning to sit up, crawl, stand up,  walk, speak, and potty-train. All of these actions require multiple movements, and a dyspraxic  needs more time and maybe some hands-on help to get it figured out.

The list of difficulties grows as a child gets older. Shoe laces, buttons, zippers, buckes, snaps–they’re all problematic in varying degrees.  Getting dress?  Shirts are backward, buttons all messed up, pants unzipped, shoes on the wrong feet and untied. He’s not deliberately messy.  He think he did a great job of dressing himself.

There is so much involved in dyspraxia.  You can read about it in detail on the link I gave you about Daniel Radcliffe.

Treatments range from physical therapy to occupational and speech therapy. Some kids have trouble learning not to stuff their mouths, and then they can’t swallow. They don’t make the connection between an over-full mouth and swallowing. They have to be taught to take smaller bites, chew, swallow, repeat.

Other therapies include Active Play and even Equine Therapy, which is being used quite successfully for many difficulties in children and teens. There’s something about the horse-human connection that gives a child confidence that he is not just stupid, clumsy, careless, and all the other unpleasant names we tend to label our children with.

This is a fascinating field, and I’m getting lost in reading about it. It goes beyond simply having trouble learning this or that task. It is a bewildered child not understanding why he can’t do the things all the other kids do.

It hurts my heart.




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