Category: Dyspraxia

Tips for Teaching Self-Help Skills

Published on December 20, 2022

Children with dyspraxia can learn alongside their peers, however, some children may just need some extra attention and support from time to time. Awareness is the first step and can make all of the difference in helping a child reach his or her full potential at school.

Parents and teachers can help students with learning difficulties by recognizing the root cause of a child’s performance symptoms and providing appropriate support, to make it easier for children with Dyspraxia to be successful in the classroom.

These tips can help with providing the appropriate support for kids with Dyspraxia:

1. Attention – Minimize distractions in a quiet space

2. Simple Steps – Break the task you’re teaching into manageable steps

3. Use visual images or photographs – These can help with the understanding process

4. Demonstrate – Show and tell. Doing the task with children can help greatly

5. Consistent wording – This will help to connect understandings of the various steps

6. Encouragement – Try to promote self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment

7. Offer choice if possible – A choice in the process may allow for a more memorable experience

8. Patience – Allow extra time and understand that tasks mightn’t be learned quickly

9. Repetition – Repeated tasks are more likely to be remembered

Tips for Teachers

Published on December 20, 2022

Dyspraxia can present many different symptoms, like the ability to plan sequences of movement. It affects about 6% of the population, and is more likely in boys than girls.

Although Dyspraxia cannot be ‘treated’, teachers can help children to manage their symptoms.

1. Seat the child near the front of the class.

2. Slowly give instructions and repeat if required. The more succinct the instructions the better. Break the instructions into steps and have them write them down.

3. Positive reinforcement and encouragement are very important.

4. Allow more time for tasks to be completed.

5. If the material needs to be copied, do so from a written handout rather than from the board.

6. Order and organization are important. Promote the use of folders to keep material together.

7. Help younger students or those with fine motor symptoms like cutting and writing.

8. Break up the day with short bursts of physical activity. This can greatly help concentration and relieve stress.

9. Promote good posture.

10. Feedback can be very helpful but it is also important to be constructive rather than critical.

11. Use various writing aids to help your students with writing tasks.

Tips for Parent/Teacher Communication

Published on December 20, 2022

When your child has Dyspraxia, it’s important to talk to their teacher about it. Understanding what your child struggles with allows the teacher to find ways to support them. These tips can help guide the conversation.

1. Meet at the beginning of the year. This gives the teacher an opportunity to adapt strategies they might have to best benefit your child.

2. Some teachers mightn’t be aware of Dyspraxia/DCD. Explain what DCD is for your child.

3. Suggest personal strategies that work well for you.

4. Discuss how their Dyspraxia can affect gross and fine motor skills.

5. Discuss how their Dyspraxia can affect their speech and body position.

6. Share developmental strategies and progress plans together.

7. Discuss how your child has progressed.

8. Ensure both sides are encouraging, using similar language, and on the same wavelength.

9. Share your child’s strengths and interests.

10. Work together to best help your child and put them on the right developmental path.

Spatial Understanding and Awareness Games

Published on December 20, 2022

Children with dyspraxia/DCD can find team sports particularly challenging. Apart from the physical tasks like using equipment, children can be overwhelmed by other tasks like having a good aim or catching and kicking a ball. Other difficulties can be constantly observing surroundings, reacting quickly to the changing environment, maneuvering themselves around others and the pitch, and many more.

These game ideas can be more fun and helpful for kids with Dyspraxia:

1. Jigsaws

2. Block building (e.g. Lego)

3. Mazes

4. Matching games (will help reading comprehensions later in life)

5. Drawing / painting / dot-to-dot

6. ‘Simon Says’ with directions to turn right/left/stop at the door etc.

7. Make 3D models

8. Descriptive games – which hand is the ball in?

9. Jump into a hoop or circle

10. Which item is furthest?

Planning & Organisation

Published on December 20, 2022

Motor planning refers to a child’s ability to organise, plan, and carry out new or unfamiliar tasks. It is the first step in learning new skills and requires accurate information from all sensory systems of the body, and mature body awareness, perception of movement and awareness of space. It is the ability by which we figure out how we use our hands and body in skilled tasks like playing with toys, using a pencil, building a structure with lego, using a fork or cycling our bike, etc.

These tips can help children get through their daily routines without stress

1. Stick to a daily routine

2. Make sure your schedule gives you enough extra time

3. Reminders like post-its or electronic alarms

4. Specific play and workspace

5. Folders for each school subject or task (e.g. Homework)

6. See-through pencil cases or purses

7. Keep keys and purses on a chain attached to clothing

8. Use colour association with various tasks (colour coding)

9. Whiteboards at home for big reminders

10. Carry a notebook so you can write notes

11. Label everything and a list where everything is

Best Exercises for Improving Coordination

Published on December 20, 2022

There are many exercises that can target poor coordination. Try out some of these exercises on a regular basis and track your results! NOTE: Be careful and mindful of your safety at all times.

1. Balance on one leg

This is a common exercise when you think about balance. Its easy to do and requires no equipment. If you are afraid of falling, stand close enough to a stabilizing object so that you can catch yourself before you do fall.

2. Hopscotch

The ultimate old-school playground game. This is a great way to improve your balance. Grab some chalk and find some room on a driveway or footpath and test out your playground skills!

3. Heel-to-toe walk

This is exactly what it sounds like. Find a nice flat surface that you can walk on. Bonus if there is a straight line you can walk on. Place your dominant foot down first and then follow it with your next foot, putting your heel as close to your big toe on your dominant foot as possible without stepping on it. Proceed to walk in a straight line, turn, and repeat.

4. Juggling

Juggling is a great way to improve your hand-eye coordination. Just promise us you will start with something light and soft before you move on to the flaming swords!

5. Work on aiming

Using a bucket/ basket and a tennis ball or small ball, start 5 feet away from the bucket and try tossing the ball into it. Each time you get the ball into the bucket take a step back to see how far you can get it in from.

Best Exercises to Improve Finger Dexterity and Hand Movement.

Published on December 20, 2022

Here are some ways that you can improve your hand movement and dexterity at home.

1. Grab a squeeze ball

Grab a stress ball and squeeze it for a couple of seconds before releasing. Repeat this for 10-12 reps and then repeat with your opposite hand.

2. O Exercise

Touch your index finger to your thumb, forming an O. Now, repeat this with your middle finger, ring finger, and pinky. Once you have made it to your pinky, work your way back up to your index finger.

3. Switching fingers

Lay your palm flat on a surface. Raise your thumb up while keeping your palm flat on the table. If you need to, use your other hand to help raise it further and hold for 10 seconds. Feel the stretch at the base of your finger. Proceed to do this with each finger for a couple of reps each.

4. Playing games with string

When you were a child, you might have played games with string, such as Jacob’s Ladder or Cat’s Cradle. This is a great way to give your hands and fingers a workout. All you need is some string/yarn and you are ready to go!

5. Stacking

You can do this exercise with most objects like lego blocks or coins. Start by grabbing a handful of coins and stack the one at a time. Try stacking them as high as you can or work on stacking them by size. Do this exercise with both of your hands.

Enhancing your child’s skills

Published on December 20, 2022

There are lots of skills your child can enhance outside of school that are free, easy, and fun. Read some of our top tips for enhancing daily skills.

Organisation and time management skills take time to develop in children. Try to have a set routine for school each morning to make it quick and easy for your child to get ready.

Using a visual timetable can help children to get organised. Get them to take part in planning the week ahead and make it personal by adding photos of their school bag, PE gear, and other school items.

Enthusiasm for school can dwindle as the year goes on. Continue to use a calendar to help them understand the passage of time. Put events and holidays on their calendar so that there are things to look forward to.

Packing your child’s school bag together every evening before school is an ideal way to build their organisational skills. Offer prompts where needed.

Give simple choices for packed lunches to help your child make good dietary decisions.

Talk to your child about their school day, ask questions, and give feedback to help them process the information and experiences they’ve had during the day.

Practicing what to say to friends and how to make conversation and communicate can help some children feel more confident in social situations. Talking about characters in a book, film or their favorite cartoon helps children to understand how to start and to maintain friendships.

After school physical activity is important to practice spatial awareness skills that are important for balance and coordination. By supporting your child’s physical development and gross motor skills you can help them to develop their mobility.

Cooking and baking are great ways to enjoy learning all about weights, measures, and timing. Children also learn fine motor skills, independence and judgment when cooking with parental help.

Reading with parents is a great way to support your child’s reading development and build their vocabulary.

Hobbies like team sports, arts and crafts, or learning to play an instrument can help a child to follow instructions, be creative, and are a fun way to consolidate skills.

Interests like supporting a football team or following a sport helps children with numeracy skills, the concept of time, and are great conversational topics.

Learning by doing can often help to learn processes in numeracy or science.

At Home Activities to Develop Fine Motor Skills for Dyspraxia

Published on December 20, 2022

Children with dyspraxia can struggle with fine motor skills, which can cause problems with tasks like grasping utensils (like pencils), moving objects with their fingertips, and using tools like scissors.

If your child’s fine motor skills need a little extra help, try these fun activities:

Colouring books are a great way to get your child to work on their manual dexterity and can help improve pencil grip. They are also an enjoyable activity for your child.

If your child has problems with pencil grasp why not try using chalk outdoors. This makes it more fun for your child. You can get different chalk sizes that help them work on building hand muscles.

Painting can help strengthen your child’s hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity. Finger painting gives kids an opportunity to use their hands. Painting with a brush helps kids learn to hold a brush and gain greater control using it as a tool.

Playdough and putty are often used as part of the “heavy work” (activity that pushes or pulls against the body) component of a sensory diet. They can help with sensory processing symptoms as well as improve a child’s fine motor skills. Encourage your child to squeeze, stretch, pinch and roll “snakes” or “worms” with the play clay. You can even have your child try to cut the play-dough with scissors.

Digging and gardening requires smaller muscle control. For instance, transferring seedlings into a garden requires hand-eye coordination skills. Your child will also need to be able to grasp a trowel to dig and to use a pincer grasp when picking up seeds to plant.

Baking cookies or buns with your child is a great exercise to improve their fine motor skills. Stirring ingredients provides a workout of the arms and muscles and cutting and spooning out portions can improve hand-eye coordination. Plus, you have some homemade treats for after!

Get your child using scissors. When scissors are held correctly, and when they fit a child’s hand well, cutting activities will exercise the very same muscles which are needed to manipulate a pencil in a mature tripod grasp. They can cut different items like paper, play dough and straws, this will help with their manual dexterity.

The fine motor exercises in the Beats Medical Dyspraxia app are also a great way to practice and improve fine motor skills such as pincer grip, coordination, strength, and agility.

Resources and Support for Dyspraxia

Published on December 20, 2022

Given that Dyspraxia is not as widely known as other conditions, you may have difficulty finding relevant information. If you are feeling unsure of where to turn for support or information, here are a few options to have a look at.

Dyspraxia Ireland is the largest Dyspraxia Support Group Organisation in Ireland and offers a lot of information on supports and resources that are available for children with Dyspraxia. You can find a range of supports listed on their website, found here:

They have also compiled a list of helpful books about Dyspraxia, which can be found at:

Dyspraxia UK, the national organisation for Dyspraxia in the UK, also has a number of resources with useful information and tips for Dyspraxia, found at:

Some useful information about the condition can also be found at:

You can get access to daily, at-home therapy through fun, space-themed games with the Beats Medical Dyspraxia App. The app is specifically designed for kids with Dyspraxia to improve fine hand movements, balance and coordination, and speech and communication skills.

There are also a number of classroom supports that can be helpful for children with Dyspraxia and are recommended by the National Educational Psychological Service. These include:

  1. Sloped writing desks
  2. Pencil and pen grips
  3. Special cushions to promote good posture known as ‘Movin’ sit’ cushions
  4. Easy-grip scissors
  5. Therapeutic Putty for improving fine hand function

It may also be worth asking your child’s teacher if the school supplies any of these supports.