When kids have
, it’s important to talk with their teachers about it. Understanding what your child struggles with will allow teachers to find ways for your child to be successful in the classroom. These tips can help guide the conversation.
1. Meet with teachers as early as possible.
The best time to have a conversation about dyspraxia is right before or right after the school year begins. That allows teachers to consider strategies to use from the start. (Don’t hesitate to request a meeting at any time, however.)
Many teachers either haven’t heard of dyspraxia or know very little about it. Be prepared to provide a lot of information. Consider printing out information about dyspraxia and
the skills it can affect
, and bringing it to the meeting.
2. Explain what dyspraxia is — and isn’t.
Dyspraxia is a condition that affects motor planning. The brain knows what the body is supposed to do. But instead of the body instantly acting on the plan, it takes much more thought and effort. And even then the body may not execute the plan well.
isn’t the same as clumsiness
, however. And it’s not the result of having weak muscles. Dyspraxia isn’t about physical strength — it’s about being able to carry out the movements the brain tells the body to make.
3. Suggest strategies that work well for your child.
Be sure to get input from teachers, too. Ask if they’ve had a child with dyspraxia in class before, and whether they know any helpful strategies.
4. Talk about how dyspraxia can affect gross and fine motor skills.
The more teachers know about a child’s specific challenges, the better they’ll be able to offer support. They’ll also be able to show that they understand why certain things are hard for your child.
gross motor skills
make it hard for your child to stay in line or imitate moves for sports. Trouble with
fine motor skills
might impact the ability to pick up small items or draw. It could also affect handwriting.
5. Describe how dyspraxia can affect speech.
Poor motor planning can also affect speaking. If your child with dyspraxia has trouble with speech, it’s important for the teacher to understand why.
Explain that it’s a challenge for your child to get the muscles of the mouth, tongue, and voice box to work together. That can impact your child’s ability to form accurate sounds and pronounce words properly.
6. Explain that dyspraxia can affect body position.
Kids with dyspraxia can have a hard time knowing where their body is in space. They may understand that their feet have to be under their desk. But they might think their feet are in the right place when they’re actually in the aisle.
If this is the case with your child, you can explain to teachers that it’s part of dyspraxia.
7. Ask teachers to avoid saying certain things to your child.
Let teachers know that saying things like “Just try harder” and “Don’t worry, this will be easy” probably won’t encourage your child. In fact,
it may have the opposite effect
Being supportive works better. Ask teachers to try saying things like “I know this can be tough, but together we’ll find a way for you to do it.”
8. Explain that dyspraxia can be very frustrating.
Kids with dyspraxia know what they need to do, and they want to do it as much as any other child. But it’s hard when the body has trouble following through on what the brain tells it to do. Talk to teachers about the frustration your child sometimes feels because of that.
The more teachers understand about your child, and about dyspraxia, the more they’ll be able to support your child at school. And when kids know that their teachers “get” them, it can be easier for them to
self-advocate and ask for help
9. Share their strengths and interests, too.
It’s important for teachers to understand your child’s struggles. But they need to know about your child’s
as well. Having that information can help them motivate your child. It also allows them to come up with strategies that use your child’s strengths to work through challenges.