DYSLEXIA & DYSPRAXIA both have their own specific criteria for assessment and diagnosis.
DYSLEXIA is described in the dictionary as "word blindness; great difficulty in learning to read or spell, unrelated to intellectual competence and of unknown cause."
A broader description is give by Sally Goddard Blythe in her book Attention, Balance & Coordination.
Alongside problems with reading, spelling and written language, she has identified difficulties in many other areas. These include motor skills such as cycling, gym, ball games, and sometimes swimming.
Telling the time from an analogue clock and knowing left and right after 8 years of age may also be difficult. Problems with fine motor skills may include laces and buttons, correct pen grip and writing skills.
Sequencing, visual memory and auditory perception (ability to hear spoken language accurately and efficiently) may also be affected.
The mismatch between their innate ability and academic achievements can be very frustrating.
DYSPRAXIA is described as an impaired difficulty to perform deliberate actions.
The child knows exactly what he wants to do but the end result may not be what he had intended and hoped for, despite much effort and adequate intellectual ability.
A child affected by dyspraxia may have fine motor control difficulties which can affect the accuracy of hand or finger movements. Eye movements and articulation can also be affected. Writing may be slow, inaccurate and laborious whilst reading and learning may present no difficulties. This mismatch of ability can be frustrating for the child.
Gross motor skills are related to whole body and limb movements. These children seem to take up more space.
Remaining still and seated in class can be very difficult and thus concentration and learning may be impaired.
Dressing and eating skills may be more difficult to master and the busy early school mornings can be quite challenging for the family.
Enjoyment of sporting activities should be part of growing up. For the dyspraxic child it may not be so easy. Swimming, cycling, football & joining in spontaneous activities with friends can be more stressful than fun as they may they lack both skill & confidence.
Their enthusiasm may wane as despite much effort they can not keep up with their peers who seem to effortlessly enjoy physical activity.
I increasingly find the children who may have a diagnosis of Dyslexia or Dyspraxia have a lot of common ground.
Children with either diagnosis may have
- Poor concentration
- Inattentive listening skills
- Late speech development
- Poor articulation
- Difficulty in copying script
- Immature handwriting
- Unusual or tight pencil grip
- Slow writing skills
- Sequencing problems
- Poor organisation
- Difficulty remaining still
- Poor co-ordination
- Low self esteem
- Dislike of change
- Inconsistent school performance
A cluster of these difficulties can have a significant effect on a child's overall behaviour and the label ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER may be added to their profile!