By Erica Patino
The vocabulary teachers and doctors use to describe movement issues and dyspraxia can be tricky. Here are eight key terms and what they mean.
A term often used interchangeably with dyspraxia, which is also referred to as developmental dyspraxia. Dyspraxia is a disorder that affects motor skill development. It can cause trouble with a variety of simple motor tasks, like waving goodbye, or more complex tasks like brushing teeth.
A speech disorder that makes it hard to pronounce words and express thoughts clearly. It’s sometimes called apraxia of speech or referred to as dyspraxia, too. Children with verbal apraxia usually can understand what others say, but they struggle to find the right words to express themselves when they speak. Verbal apraxia isn’t muscle weakness in the mouth, tongue or lips. It’s caused by the complex ways the brain processes information to formulate language.
A type of dyspraxia that makes it hard to understand spatial relationships. Children with constructional dyspraxia may have difficulty copying shapes and figures, assembling three-dimensional puzzles or playing with blocks.
A type of dyspraxia that makes it difficult to coordinate the muscle movements needed to pronounce words. Kids with oromotor dyspraxia may repeat the same sound over and over in an effort to get it to sound right. They may also have trouble controlling saliva (which can cause drooling) and have slurred, difficult-to-understand speech. Unlike verbal apraxia, oromotor dyspraxia does involve muscle weakness in the mouth.
Abilities required to control the small muscles in the fingers and hands. Children with dyspraxia usually have poor manual dexterity. It might be hard for them to grasp a pencil, use scissors, button a jacket, tie shoes or close zippers.
Skills that involve coordination of larger groups of muscles, such as arms, legs or the whole body. People with dyspraxia often have underdeveloped gross motor skills. This can make them appear clumsy. They may struggle to do things like kick or bounce a ball or ride a bicycle.
Abilities required to receive and interpret information from surroundings and respond with an appropriate movement. For example, adjusting walking speed in response to a slippery or slanted road. Kids with dyspraxia may lack these skills.
Any kind of activity that encourages full-body movement. Physicians often encourage kids with dyspraxia to engage in “active play,” such as dancing or a game of hide-and-seek. Activities like these help kids develop motor skills and can also improve social skills.
Are you unclear on the terminology around listening comprehension issues? Knowing these five terms can help make conversations with your child’s doctor or teacher easier.
Kids with sensory processing issues can be over- or undersensitive to touch. This can make everything from eating foods with various textures to showering a challenge. Here are some ways to help your child cope with tactile sensitivity.
Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.
Sheldon H. Horowitz, Ed.D., is senior director of learning resources and research at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.
Understanding Your Child’s Trouble With Movement and Coordination
All About Fine Motor Skills
All About Gross Motor Skills
8 Fun Ways to Build Fine Motor Skills
8 Fun Ways to Build Gross Motor Skills
My Child Is Fumbling With Scissors. What Can I Do?
Hockey star opens up about his reading challenges.
A mom reflects on her daughter’s experiences in inclusion classrooms.
Find out what the Court’s ruling means for kids with IEPs.
Mar 29th at 12:00 pm
Sign up for weekly emails with helpful resources for you and your family.
This email is already subscribed to Understood newsletters. If you haven't been receiving anything, add email@example.com to your safe-senders list.
Name must have no more than 50 characters. Email address must be valid. Email message must have no more than 140 characters and cannot include the < > / \ special characters. Please fill out all fields and complete the reCAPTCHA to send a message.
*Please confirm you are not a robot.
Don’t worry—we saved what you wrote.
Sign up to get personalized recommendations and connect with parents and experts in our community.
Only members can view and participate in conversations.
Child’s nickname is private and only you can see it.