What's the difference?

Dyspraxia is formerly known as but yet still sometimes still referred to Developmental Coordination Disorder or (DCD). It is a neurological motor planning disorder that affects the planning and execution of fine and gross motor skills. The breakdown in the planning between the brain and body causes gross coordination issues usually causing the child to appear clumsy. The breakdown in planning for fine motor usually appears in difficulty with fastening buttons, snaps, writing and lacing to name a few. I have included a graphic below that I think provides a great visual for how dyspraxia can affect children as well as information on global apraxia.

Dyspraxia is typically detected at a fairly young age and should be diagnosed by an occupational therapist. Generally you would be referred by your Pediatrician but if you believe something is off, do not wait for your Pediatrician. Push for the referral and contact the Early Intervention office in your city. Although there is no cure for dyspraxia the child can make significant gains by attending frequent occupational therapy and preferably starting at an early age. It is fairly well known that actor Daniel Radcliffe of the extremely famous Harry Potter movie series struggled with mild dyspraxia. Clearly, he was able to overcome his obsticles to become successful.

dyspraxia

 

Apraxia + Dyspraxia = Global Apraxia

If a child has apraxia (verbal motor planning) as well as dyspraxia it is referred to as Global Apraxia. Think of it as encompassing the “whole” body. Children with global apraxia will need frequent speech and occupational therapy. Sometimes progress can be very slow….. Our son received over 150 hours of OT (occupational therapy) in order to write his name. Although 150 hours seems like a daunting feat it (obviously) was well worth it and he has continued to make progress. After 3 years of rather intense OT we have made significant gains in certain areas, however we still struggle with core strength, lacing, and tying (forget it). The road can be very long and sometimes feels as if you are going backwards but just keep pushing ahead. It is impossible to know what the future holds but after speaking with a few adults I know we will get to more solid ground at some point. I was fortunate enough to speak with actress Gage GoLightly about her struggles with global apraxia and SPD, if you'd like to read my interview with her and her mother Michele click here.

 

I frequently hear, "my child has been in OT for a year and I haven't seen any progress. I think I am going to quit." Keep in mind not all OT’s are created equal! You need one who is able to provide you with measurable progress in a reasonable amount of time. 1 year is not reasonable, 4 months would be more appropriate. Do not give up. Find a new occupational therapist. They are such a critical component to your childs success. 

 

I would encourage you if your child is struggling with apraxia, dyspraxia, global apraxia and / or sensory processing to look at my resource page for different support group options in your area as well as local walks. It has been immensely helpful for my family and I to get involved online and in our local apraxia walk.

 

**Please keep in mind that some terms - apraxia, dyspraxia, global apraxia vary in their meaning in different parts of the world. This information is intended to represent the appropriate terminology for the United States.**