If your child has trouble with things like tying shoes or climbing stairs, you may be wondering if he has dyspraxia. And if he does, what can doctors and therapists do to help?
There is no “cure” for this brain-based issue, which can affect different children in different ways. But there are several treatments that can help with motor skills. There are also lots of non-medical ways to help with dyspraxia. Here are some options to consider.
Are there medications to help kids with dyspraxia?
There are no medications to treat dyspraxia. However, many children who have dyspraxia also have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). If your child’s doctor recommends taking ADHD medication for attention issues, it might help your child focus when working with a therapist on motor skills.
What types of therapy and intervention can help kids with dyspraxia?
Occupational therapy can help with things like balance and coordination. An occupational therapist (OT) starts by doing an evaluation to determine which kinds of movement are giving your child trouble.
For example, your child may struggle with writing, walking and buttoning buttons. The OT can break each of these skills into smaller motor tasks to make it easier for your child to practice the different movements. As your child practices at home and in the classroom, he’s likely to become more skilled at carrying out these movements.
Perceptual motor training is a set of exercises that some therapists use. The goal is to help children integrate what they’re hearing and seeing with how they’re moving. This can help them learn to do things like adjust how quickly they’re walking downhill or on a slippery road. It’s important to know that researchers still question the effectiveness of this type of therapy.
Speech therapy can help if dyspraxia affects your child’s ability to pronounce words correctly. Speech therapy focuses on the mouth movements needed to make certain sounds. It can also help improve breath control if your child has difficulty making his voice louder or softer.
Hippotherapy is when a therapist uses the natural movements of a horse to help the rider work on physical skills like balance and coordination. These therapy sessions also work on cognitive skills like attention and sensory processing. Hippotherapy can be fun too and lift children’s moods.
What educational strategies can help kids with dyspraxia?
Assistive technology, such as dictation software and touch screens, can be a big help to kids who have trouble with motor skills. Classroom accommodations are another important tool. Examples include giving extra time to complete assignments and providing worksheets that have the problems already written on them.
You may also want to explore modifications at school that can reduce your child’s workload.
What else can help kids with dyspraxia?
Learn more about ways to help your child with dyspraxia in the classroom and at home and get tips on how to be an effective advocate for your child.