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Dyspraxia

6 Common Trouble Spots for Kids With Dyspraxia and How to Help

By Lexi Walters Wright

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Kids with dyspraxia may have trouble with gross motor, fine motor and language skills. That can make everyday situations tough. Here are six common trouble spots, and tips for helping your child get through them.

129Found this helpful
Close-up of a boy watching his sister practice making friendship bracelets at home
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Enjoying Playtime

If your child’s friends all make bracelets at recess but she has trouble with the little bands, she may start really disliking that “fun” time of day. The same goes for any leisure activity that her dyspraxia complicates.

Tip: Encourage your child to try fun, easy activities to help build fine motor skills. And give her plenty of chances to practice making bracelets at home. When a child has dyspraxia, repeating an action over time can reinforce the relevant brain pathways. And if it’s still too frustrating? Pack glitter dough or something else she can have fun with at recess.

Coach greeting a new-team member at sign-up enrollment
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Playing Team Sports

Dyspraxia can make the physical skills you need for sports—catching, serving, hitting that home run—really tough. But team sports rely on verbal communication, too. And that can also be hard for kids who may speak too softly (or loudly) or have trouble forming words.

Tip: For a younger child, simple, fun activities at home may help improve her gross motor skills. If she’s older, help her choose a sport that plays to her strengths. And encourage her to meet with her coach to brainstorm ways she can “speak” while she’s playing, like by using a simple gesture.

Group of students hanging out and talking outside school building
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Connecting With Friends

Some kids with dyspraxia have trouble pronouncing words or controlling the pitch of their voices. That can make them feel self-conscious about trying to chat with other kids in person or on the phone.

Tip: Preparation can help. See if your child wants to role-play conversations she might have with friends in different settings so she can practice responding. Suggest that she take notes on what she might want to say before she makes phone calls. And encourage her to find ways to communicate about her challenges. The more she’s comfortable with her dyspraxia, the more others will be, too.

Group of boys and girls in a dance fitness class
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Feeling Graceful and Confident

Children with dyspraxia often struggle with balance and posture. Your child may have difficulty controlling her movements or using her hands. And she might bump into things a lot. It’s no wonder she may be reluctant to try dance aerobics or ballet—or even to attend a school dance.

Tip: Repeated practice can help kids with dyspraxia nail that plié or feel a lot more comfortable on the dance floor. And remind your child that it’s good to pursue activities that make her happy even if they don’t come easily to her.

Young girl on her way to school with backpack waving hello to a friend
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Enduring Physical Contact

Dyspraxia may make your child oversensitive to touch. That can cause everyday interactions—like walking through the halls at school or being hugged by a relative—to feel overwhelming or unbearable.

Tip: As much as you’re able, reduce the amount of physical stimulation your child experiences. Be selective about the clothes you buy for her so she doesn’t find them irritating to her skin. Encourage her to walk with one shoulder against the wall at school to limit bumping into other kids. And tell family members she prefers a smile and a wave rather than a hug.

Girl with red hair in bun-looking in mirror posing
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Expressing Herself

Imagine that your mouth didn’t always move the way you wanted and you had trouble writing. Talk about frustrating! For some kids with dyspraxia, feeling heard is a real challenge.

Tip: Help your child practice using body language and facial expressions to show how she’s feeling. If she’s comfortable typing—or using a voice recognition program—encourage her to send her friends email. Consider allowing her greater access to social media or blogging tools to express herself online. (Be sure to review with her what personal information she shouldn’t communicate online. And be aware of what’s she’s sharing.)

Start the slideshow again

8 Fun Ways to Build Fine Motor Skills

Children who have issues with fine motor skills have a hard time developing strong muscles in their hands and wrists. Here are ideas for activities that can help them build the muscles needed for fine motor skills. 

5 Tough Situations for Kids With Sensory Processing Issues

Kids with sensory processing issues can be oversensitive to their surroundings, undersensitive, or both. And what triggers a negative reaction for one child might have no impact on another. Here are some common trouble spots for kids with sensory processing issues.

About the Author

Portrait of Lexi Walters Wright

Lexi Walters Wright

A veteran writer and editor for parenting magazines and websites, Lexi Walters Wright has a master’s degree in library and information science and is proud to serve families at Understood.org.

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Reviewed by Jim Rein, M.A. Feb 20, 2015 Feb 20, 2015

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