Does Your Child Have Dyspraxia?

Could your clumsy child with delayed milestones have dyspraxia?

Have you ever thought that your child might have dyspraxia?

“Developmental dyspraxia is a disorder characterized by an impairment in the ability to plan and carry out sensory and motor tasks. Generally, individuals with the disorder appear “out of sync” with their environment. Symptoms vary and may include poor balance and coordination, clumsiness, vision problems, perception difficulties, emotional and behavioral problems, difficulty with reading, writing, and speaking, poor social skills, poor posture, and poor short-term memory. Although individuals with the disorder may be of average or above average intelligence, they may behave immaturely.”

Developmental Dyspraxia Information Page

Probably not, as most people have never even heard of it.

Confusing things even more, dyspraxia has also been known by other terms, including clumsy child syndrome, sensory integration disorder, and developmental coordination disorder.

Does Your Child Have Dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia is a disorder of movement coordination, but it can also affect your child’s language, speech, and learning.

You might think about getting your child evaluated for dyspraxia if they have delayed early motor development. More common in boys, it is thought that at least 5-6% of children could have dyspraxia.

“In the preschool child, common features reported by parents include a history of delayed developmental milestones, particularly crawling, walking and speech, difficulty with dressing, poor ball skills, immature art work and difficulty making friends.”

Dyspraxia or developmental coordination disorder? Unravelling the enigma

Does your child:

  • have poor balance
  • have trouble pedaling a tricycle or bicycle
  • have bad handwriting because they have difficultly gripping their pen or pencil
  • avoid playing with toys like Lego blocks and jigsaw puzzles

Is your child:

  • clumsy, often falling or bumping into people and things
  • a messy eater because they have trouble using spoons and forks, etc.
  • delayed in learning to button clothes or tie their shoes, etc.

Was your child extra fussy as a baby? That’s another sign of children with dyspraxia.

Dyspraxia isn’t just about these motor issues though.

Childhood dyspraxia is included in the DSM-V manual, with clear diagnostic criteria.
Childhood dyspraxia is included in the DSM-V manual, with clear diagnostic criteria.

Either because dyspraxia can also be associated with ADHD, learning disorders, or autism, or just because the signs and symptoms occur as a part of dyspraxia, these children might have many other signs and symptoms, including speech delays, sensory issues, and problems with concentration and comprehension.

More common in infants who are born premature, dyspraxia is thought to be caused by immaturity in neuron development.

Talk to your pediatrician if you suspect that your child has dyspraxia, as early intervention with occupational therapy and speech therapy can be helpful. A pediatric neurologist can also be helpful in getting your child evaluated for dyspraxia.

More on Dyspraxia

Author: Vincent Iannelli, MD

Vincent Iannelli, MD