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LouLou's avatar

Can anyone tell me a bit about dyspraxia?

Asked by LouLou (137points) December 17th, 2009

One of my friends was recently assessed by a psychologist who said she probably has borderline dyspraxia. I’ve looked it up and know a bit about it. Does anyone have any advice for her? How is this likely to impact on her life?

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4 Answers

Vunessuh's avatar

Dyspraxia causes problems with one’s movement and coordination.
Basically, your control over your motor skills becomes very difficult which in turn can make you very uncoordinated or for lack of a better word, sloppy or clumsy.
It can affect your ability to write, drive, walk and use utensils such as silverware and a toothbrush. Those simple things that we were able to do before like cooking and cleaning become very tidious tasks.
It often affects your speech as well as your thought and perception. You can lose your sense of direction and have a hard time understanding and interpreting a simple conversation. If she’s going to school, she will definitely struggle and her social skills will probably suffer.
It is much like Parkinson’s disease, but probably not as severe. Still a pain in the ass nonetheless because you slowly begin to lose your freedom. Eventually, it will become evident that you’ll need someone to do things for you, no matter how simple the task is.
Unfortunately, there is no cure, but your friend can visit speech and physical therapists.
To help with my father’s motor skills, he goes once a week to a Parkinson’s exercise class. He takes those exercises home with him to keep active.
Practicing speech and movement everyday is important.
But most importantly, your friend CANNOT give up. Life is going to be a pain in the ass and she’ll need to depend on people more than ever, but it is by far not the end of the world.
No doubt, her self-esteem will suffer as well because one of the most common misconceptions is for people to assume a lack of intelligence is involved with the disorder, when this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
My dad gets looked at like he’s stupid all the time when in fact he graduated from Texas A&M University and owned a very successful business for over 20 years till he was forced to retire. He’s the most intelligent man I’ve ever known, but feels incompetent half the time. I would feel incompetent too if I could no longer drive or prepare my own meal or do the things I love.
With that said, it’s incredibly important for her family and friends to support her through this.
My suggestion for you, is to don’t offer to do things for her ALL THE TIME. Only every once in a while or when she asks. She’ll have a hard time adjusting to the fact that she will eventually be unable to do things without help, but treating her differently and babying her will only make her feel more incapable. Eventually, she’ll accept the fact that she needs to depend on others much like my father did. However, letting her do some things on her own, no matter how much she struggles through them, can boost her confidence and she deserves to be happy through all of this.

I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
For over ten years I’ve dealt with this with my father so I know a lot about it.

lonelydragon's avatar

@Vunessuh I didn’t know that dyspraxia worsened over time. Don’t the motor coordination and other problems appear in childhood?

Since Vunessuh has already provided a list of symptoms, I won’t rehash them, but if your friend needs coping strategies, she might be interested in this online forum for dyspraxic adults and teens:

Now here’s a bit of random trivia for you. Daniel Radcliffe also has this condition. He can’t drive, and he struggles to tie his shoes (which is why, in the latest Harry Potter movie, there’s a scene in which another character ties his shoe for him).

Vunessuh's avatar

@lonelydragon I tried looking up if it’s degenerative and nothing really gives me a clear answer. People often compare it to Parkinson’s which is degenerative. The difference is, Parkinson’s is only found in adults, never children. I suppose dyspraxia is similiar to a learning disability. I think it has the ability to worsen, but probably not to the extent that I described.
You still have to depend on people…whether it’s to drive you around or like you mentioned, to tie your own shoes.
There ARE people who have difficulty using utensils as well. That obviously takes away some of your ability to be independent regardless and that’s what I was getting at.

JONESGH's avatar

cough wikipedia cough

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