The word Dyspraxia is derived from two sources: Dys comes from Latin, meaning ‘not easy’ or ‘difficulty with’, and praxis from Greek, meaning ‘action’ or ‘exercise’. It is also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD).
It is a term used to describe difficulty with the execution of controlled voluntary actions. It is a disorder of movement involving impairment of the ability to carry out a skilled activity in the absence of paralysis, ataxia or any other impairment of the primary motor pathways controlling movement. It can be either developmental or acquired.
Diagnosis of dyspraxia – or DCD – is usually given by a doctor, a clinical psychologist, physiotherapist or occupational therapist.
Controlled voluntary movement involves many systems, but three main areas are implicated in dyspraxia:
Any one of these areas may be responsible for the presenting dyspraxia symptoms. Identification of the main area at fault is therefore very important if the most effective form of treatment or training is to be given.
A child who has poor sensory awareness will respond well to a remedial approach, which concentrates on training each of the senses to relay information more effectively. This may be done through stimulation of one of the senses e.g. tactile stimulation or auditory training for a child who is hyper- or hypo-sensitive in these areas. Movement programmes are also designed to improve sensory integration.
If a cluster of abnormal primitive and postural reflexes is present, it will interfere with the development of control of balance and motor skills. A reflex stimulation and inhibition programme can help to provide a solid foundation for the improvement of motor skills, and thereby improve balance, coordination and confidence.
View more information on coordination problems, an abridged extract from Natural Parent magazine January/February 1999, written by Sally Goddard Blythe of INPP.