A Difficulty in the Organisation of
Dr Saim Soomro
What is Dyspraxia?
• “An impairment or immaturity in the
organization of movement which leads to
associated problems with language,
perception and thought.”
This is the definition as per The Dyslexia
Definition - 2
• In another definition, dyspraxia can be
defined as “motor difficulties caused by
perceptual problems, especially visual –
motor and kinaesthetic – motor difficulties”.
Definition - 3
In 1972, Jean Ayres defined Dyspraxia as:
“The inability to plan and execute non –
Dys + Praxis
• „Dys‟ means „Faulty‟
• „Praxis‟ means „The ability to use the body
as a skilled tool‟.
• Children with dyspraxia find that moving
with efficiently flowing movements does
not come easily to them. They find this
particularly difficult, especially in the face
of a new challenge.
• Why such a situation arises in what is
estimated to be one out of 20 students is not
clearly known but it is believed that one of
the reasons could be trauma at birth or a
significant lack of lipids (fatty acids) in the
diet of the child, a few weeks after birth.
Gerald Edelman in 1992 suggests that the
condition is caused by the failure of the
neurons in the brain to develop correctly.
This failure of the neurons to form adequate
connections means that the brain takes
longer to process information and there is a
greater likelihood of the brain losing the
suggestion and the child therefore failing to
respond to requests given to him.
• Co ordination between different body parts
is responsible for different kinds of actions.
• Depending upon the nature of activity,
different kinds of co ordination is required.
Whole Body Co ordination
• This involves the large muscle groups like
running and jumping.
Eye – Hand Co ordination
• This is required for tasks like catching,
throwing or hitting a ball, wielding a
• Requires knowledge of „Body Boundary”.
Fine Motor Co ordination
• Required for activities like drawing,
• Eye-hand co ordination and visual –spatial
awareness contribute to fine motor skills.
Speech Muscle Co ordination
• The muscles in the mouth, lips and soft
palate must work in synchronization to
• Another set of muscles help in the
regulation of the tone and pitch of speech.
• A problem in any of these areas would
impede the child‟s ability to articulate
Crossing the Body Midline
• This is the ability to use the right hand on
the left side of the body and vice versa.
• Tying shoelaces, wearing socks, trousers
etc. are some activities that require crossing
the body midline.
• Causes problems with two handed co-
ordination like opening a jam bottle.
Crossing the Body Midline
Tasks that would be easy :
Keyboarding or playing the piano because
each hand operates on its own side of the
Perceptual Motor Development
• It is the study of how children learn to move
effectively & efficiently in different
• Dyspraxic children frequently are unable to
transfer learning from one environment to
• Three components:
Ideation, Planning & Execution
• Ideation is knowing what to do.
• Planning involves building a mental model
of the action.
• Execution is actually carrying out the
• Execution contributes to feedback so for the
next repetition, the child is able to fine-tune
the movement better.
• A good degree of sequencing is involved in
planning and execution and a difficulty in
sequencing can disrupt the child‟s ability to
carry out a movement.
Indications of Dyspraxia
• Appears irritable.
• Takes time to be comforted.
• Sleeping difficulties.
• Constantly seeks reassurance.
• Likely to bypass the „crawling‟ stage.
Indications - 2
• Picks up objects using „palmar‟ grip.
• Unable to manipulate a toy with each hand.
• Reacts with distress to high noise levels.
• Gets easily bored of „Hide and Seek‟
Indications - 3
• Delayed motor development.
• Delayed toilet training.
• High levels of motor activity.
• Repetitive behaviour
• Highly emotional
• Concentration limited to a few minutes
Indications - 4
• Extremely excitable.
• Awkward and clumsy.
• Poor ground awareness – no sense of danger
when jumping from heights.
• Avoids using constructional toys
• Peer group isolation
Indications - 5
• Unestablished laterality. Problems crossing
• Persistent language difficulties.
• Slow response to verbal instruction.
• Problems with comprehension.
• Problems with sequencing
Movement and Intellectual Development
• “It is widely accepted that the
development of controlled movement has
a part to play in the intellectual
development of children. Children need
to experience movement in order to learn
about themselves, the relationship to the
environment and the interaction between
the two.” (French & Lee, 1996)
Remedial Strategies - 1
• Problems with movement may be more
difficult to eliminate than other deficiency
classifications. (Cowden and Eason 1991)
• The child with dyspraxia needs regular
practice sessions that are short and
• Lack of practice worsens the condition.
Remedial Strategies - 2
• Keep the environment simple.
• Use a large digital clock which has an
• Create methods whereby the child can be as
independent as possible.
• Furniture to be at appropriate height.
Remedial Strategies - 3
Create lists of routines that will help the child
List on Front Door
2. Pencil Box
3. Lunch Box
4. School Books…
Remedial Strategies - 4
• Find a colourful schoolbag that is easily
• Choose velcro fasteners.
• Attach a laminated timetable inside the flap of
• Get lunchboxes that can open easily
Remedial Strategies - 5
At School (cont‟d):
• Have a large see through pencil box.
• Have a water bottle that stands easily and
• Colour code notebooks & textbooks, subject
Remedial Strategies - 6
• Remove distractors like charts, pictures
from the child‟s environment.
• Ensure child sits away from doors, windows
• Ensure that desk and chair is comfortable
and well balanced.
Remedial Strategies - 7
• Provide an inclined board for writing.
• Check for glares on the blackboard due to
bulbs and outside light.
• Always send letters home conveying
• Ensure that the child knows his way about,
Controlled Movement – A Must
• Essential part of the
child‟s day –in the
form of games, yoga,
• Contributes to
Yoga & Movement Expert, Shri Jagdish
• 1)Macintyre Christine, “Dyspraxia 5-11. A
Practical Guide”. David Fulton Publishers (2001)
• 2)Porter Madeleine, “A Handbook of Dyspraxia”
• 3)Raja Bela, “Children With Learning
Difficulties – How to Help. A Guide for Parents
and Teachers”. Vakils, Feffer & Simon Pvt Ltd