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Dyspraxia in children

Learn more to help them better!

Dyspraxia is one of the chronic neurological disorders that appear from early childhood. This invisible handicap will require the dyspraxic child to pay a lot of attention to coordinate their daily gestures, since their brain is affected by an alteration of the link between the brain, which gives an order, and their body. Discover in this article what dyspraxia is, then continue reading to get our expertise on visual-spatial dyspraxia, as well as the solutions and medical follow-ups to accompany the child in their daily life with dyspraxia!

dyspraxia in children

What is dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia is an invisible neurological disability that causes organizational and coordination disorders.

This type of disability is part of the language and learning disorders. These pathologies are grouped under the name of “dys disorders“, such as dyscalculia, dyslexia, dysphasia, dysgraphia, dysorthographia…

Dyspraxia causes difficulties in planning, designing, organizing and executing gestures, hence its name “clumsy child syndrome“. This handicap leads to total or partial disabilities.    

In terms of figures, according to the handicap.fr website (document available in french only), dyspraxia affects approximately 3 to 6% of children.

The dyspraxic child presents a deficiency in gestural automation. Each precise action such as writing, brushing teeth, tying shoelaces or getting dressed, remain actions that are difficult for them. Fine motor skills are slow, and the dyspraxic child will coordinate their gestures awkwardly. A strong fatigue will then set in, since these actions require a lot of concentration to compensate for the difficulties linked to these actions.

The brain of a non-dys child will anchor in their brain, patterns that allow them to perform actions that become fluid and natural. This cognitive development does not take place in the same way in the dyspraxic child: their muscles are able to perform the actions, but these patterns do not become automatic.

There are several forms of dyspraxia, described on this site, but in the rest of this article we will focus on visual-spatial dyspraxia.

What is visual-spatial dyspraxia?

As its name indicates, visual-spatial dyspraxia concerns a visual disorder and a gestural impairment. It is characterized by a dysfunction of the visual-motor coordination (vision and gesture).

This specific disorder is also associated with a spatial disorder. That is, it is characterized by difficulties in understanding and analyzing the notion of space.

Visual-spatial dyspraxia is the most frequent form of dyspraxia. This pathology is evoked when the visual-motor automatism is never fully acquired by the dyspraxic child. The poor functioning of the eyeball movement leads to difficulties in orienting and coordination.

Dyspraxic children have varying degrees of inability to :

  • stare at an object ;
  • follow an object with their eyes ;
  • select and grasp a precise piece of information in a set

The notion of space is acquired from visual data concerning the environment surrounding the child. A failure in the way the child sees necessarily leads to difficulties in orienting him/herself in their environment.

The COP9 team invites you to have your child examined at the beginning of his or her learning process by making an appointment with our vision specialists.

Can dyspraxia be treated in children?

It is not possible to cure dyspraxia in children. The patient learns to live with it, to compensate for their difficulties by adopting compensatory strategies. These strategies are learned from professionals within a rehabilitation program. In addition, MDPH arrangements can be put in place to facilitate school learning.

In children with visual-spatial dyspraxia, we observe that they have great difficulty in, for example, locating an object in relation to its position or locating an object in relation to other objects, whether the environment is known or not. If your child is dyspraxic, he or she may not know the difference between left and right, and not understand obliques, etc.

To recognize a visual-spatial dyspraxia, a coordinated care program is then set up:

  • in ophthalmology to verify that the child does not have a visual deficit is essential;
  • in neurovisual orthoptics to identify difficulties in visual scanning and visual perception;
  • in occupational therapy to work on his motor development;
  • in psychomotor therapy to accompany the child in their coordination problems and to compensate for the difficulty they may have with learning problems.

A multidisciplinary approach must be put in place following the diagnosis in order to accompany the child and allow for the best possible development and learning techniques.

In conclusion, it is necessary to make a diagnosis if you think your child is dyspraxic: this allows to offer the child an efficient rehabilitation, and to face all the school difficulties linked to their specific disorder.If you are looking for more information on dys, but also on ophthalmology and psychomotor therapy, we invite you to follow our social networks! We are present on Instagram and Facebook.

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