When we talk about Special Educational Needs, or SEN, what’s the first thing that springs to your mind? Dyslexia, ADHD, perhaps even autism. But what about dyspraxia?
You might have heard it mentioned in passing, but not really known what it’s all about and so kept quiet. Let’s face it, us humans are pretty proud creatures, we don’t tend to shout about it if we don’t know something.
So, what is dyspraxia? Dyspraxia is a developmental disorder that causes the brain to struggle with coordinating things like speech, movement and organisation. Symptoms generally start to show in early childhood, often as excessive clumsiness and will continue into adulthood.
Dyspraxia doesn’t affect intelligence, but it can make things like writing, typing, talking and planning tough in the day-to-day life of sufferers.
For those that suffer from dyspraxia, some of the most frustrating parts are a lack of public understanding about what the condition actually is and strategies for coping with it. In light of that, we’ve been working with our expert SEN tutors to learn about how they support their students with dyspraxia and the resources they use to provide the most effective dyspraxia tutoring.
We’ve compiled a short list of some of the most highly recommended dyspraxia resources for teachers, for parents and for adults and children living with it. Whether you want some practical tips on setting up a training plan, want to read some inspiring and thought-provoking bloggers who are living with the condition, or just want to learn a little more about dyspraxia, there’s a little bit of everything. Read on for some awesome resources!
Practical Training Plans
Skills for Action
The Skills for Action website aims to provide parents and teachers of children with developmental movement conditions, such as dyspraxia, with information and practical suggestions on how to improve fitness and coordination. The goal is to provide all the training needed to enable dyspraxic children to perform the same actions as their classmates, such as sitting at a table for drawing and handwriting tasks, and participating in PE lessons and sporting activities.
Included are suggestions for parents, teachers and tutors on providing dyspraxia support in the classroom and at home. The site covers how to decide what activities to include in a training program, how to motivate a reluctant child, how to find time for training in a busy daily schedule, and activities for training muscle strength, balance, agility and basic ball skills.
OT Mom Learning Activities
OT Mom Learning Activities aims to empower parents and teachers by providing photographed activities and information on dyspraxia training. The focus is on helping children develop the skills needed for formal schooling.
“I try to keep jargon to a minimum and to explain concepts clearly”
Produced by Tracey le Roux, a homeschooling mum with extensive experience in paediatric occupational therapy. Skills covered in Tracey’s site include fine motor, gross motor and coordination, visual perception and visual-motor integration. Handwriting, sensory processing and pencil grip development are also addressed. Tracey’s site has a wealth of information, alongside activities that are easy to follow and great fun to put into practice, all parcelled in a no-nonsense, easily digestible format. This site is a must for anyone with preschool or primary school-aged kids with dyspraxia!
The Blog With (More Than) One Post
Starting off with the intention of writing a single blog post for Dyspraxia Awareness Week, Natalie Williams has now written countless posts, with her blog recently hitting over 160,000 views. Natalie has also appeared on BBC radio to discuss her experiences with the condition and is a champion of increasing awareness of the disorder.
Natalie’s blog offers excellent insight into dyspraxia, from a personal perspective. She talks about her personal experiences – from everyday tasks to school and university – in an attempt to raise awareness of dyspraxia and hopefully help others with dyspraxia along the way. There are some awesome diagrams throughout the blog posts, which either explain specific aspects of dyspraxia or give a broader overview of the condition.
We’ve had Natalie’s blog recommended by parents, students and tutors alike for her straightforward explanations and the description of her inspiring journey. For anyone wanting to understand dyspraxia from a personal perspective and see just how much you can do despite the condition, this is the blog for you!
Think Outside of The Cardboard Box
A common and difficult factor of dyspraxia is the anxiety, depression and low self-esteem that is often experienced in association with the condition.
Think Outside of The Cardboard Box is an honest and often uplifting account of some of these effects on Rosie, a blogger and dyspraxia awareness campaigner. In her blog, Rosie talks about her day to day life living with dyspraxia, as well as her anxiety. It talks a lot about the emotional impact, self esteem, confidence and mental health issues that are experienced by sufferers, including Rosie.
“I hope it helps other people feel not alone in their journeys. I hope it might help people in education understand especially emotionally how they can help people and the value of empathy and understanding”
As an area that is talked about very little when attached to a condition that is under-reported, Rosie’s blog is an important resource for those working with sufferers, especially in education. A very personal account of the ups and downs of dyspraxia, the blog is well-worth a read.
Dyspraxia Foundation Youth
The Dyspraxia Foundation Youth is the daughter-site of the charitable Dyspraxia Foundation. Both sites offer general information on the symptoms of dyspraxia as well as details of fundraising and charitable activities.
Dyspraxia Foundation Youth is an excellent resource for young adults dealing with the condition. It offers loads of resources produced by young people with dyspraxia, that helps to limit the feeling of isolation that many sufferers experience. From podcasts, to videos and blog posts, there’s loads of stuff to get your teeth into.
The resources are largely experiential, being produced by bloggers or active community members, talking about personal journeys through education, tips for people struggling to get to grips with the social impacts of the condition and personal achievements. There are also some great downloadable fact sheets for tips on dealing with anxiety, managing dyspraxia at university and how and when to disclose your condition to friends or employers.
This is a great site for all those young adults wanting somewhere to share their thoughts with people in a similar situation, or just to get some practical information on the subject.
So there you have it, 5 awesome dyspraxia resources!
Perhaps you know someone with dyspraxia or you’ve experienced it yourself, or maybe you’ve never heard of it before today! Either way, we hope these resources have shone some light on the subject and will help support your knowledge and experience of the condition.
Which resources have you found the most useful? Are there any that we’ve missed off? Let us know in the comments below!