Actress Leigh-Allyn Baker has a new, challenging role: Being mom to a son who struggles with dyspraxia.
A proud mother of two, the Will & Grace star says she and her husband, Keith, became alarmed when their older son, Griffin, showed weaknesses in balance and fine motor skills. By age 3, Griffin hadn’t chosen a dominant side. He used both hands for every task. He also lacked physical strength.
Baker took her son to an occupational therapist for an evaluation. That’s when she learned that Griffin has . Baker had never heard of this learning issue.
“I didn’t make a noise, tears just rolled down my face,” Baker said in an interview series with People. “I’ve never experienced that kind of emotion before.”
Since learning of Griffin’s diagnosis four years ago, Baker has worked to make sure he gets the support he needs. She’s also become a parent advocate, seeking national attention for dyspraxia.
“There needs to be understanding of how everyone’s brain really works differently,” she told People. “If you’re not afraid to acknowledge it and get the proper therapies, it can really make a difference.”
In Griffin’s case, treatment has helped to improve his motor skills in a major way. Now 8 years old, Griffin attends public school and has an that provides him with needed services. His IEP also allows him to interact with other students from whom he can learn.
Baker says that Griffin is creative, imaginative and good at “engaging with people socially.” Because of his strengths, Baker says school officials sometimes don’t pick up on Griffin’s learning difference. But Baker is quick to remind them of his needs and advocate for her son.
While Baker and her husband were working to help Griffin, their younger son suddenly stopped talking. The family later learned that 4-year-old Baker James has celiac disease and severe speech issues.
Baker says that together, the entire family unites to help Griffin and Baker James overcome their challenges.
“We all band together and we all help each other.”
Check out what celebrities with learning and thinking differences say about their moms’ support. Hear from another mom on the role of dyspraxia in her son’s life. And learn about steps to take if you’re concerned your child may have dyspraxia.
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Tara Drinks is an editor at Understood.