Now I know it's been some time since I have posted it seems having two children with things going on for them has made me one very busy Mum. Anyway so this year when I took my 4 year old to the pediatrician it was a shock and to be honest I never thought it was as bad as they said it was. He come up quite badly apparently my son who was 52 months old was coming up at around 36 months in four areas which is a far cry from where he should have been. Even now 5 months later it still brings tears to my eyes.
What brings me to this post is my recent investigation into what dyspraxia and motor planning mean, surprisingly looking back I even see it written in my eldest child's OT reports. When we took my 4 year old to a second paediatrician yep I wanted a second opinion. We did feel that the report was rather short and there wasn't enough information. The paediatrician discussed his concern about his motor planning skills. It was evident because he struggled to work out how to get onto the bed, and even drawing a person was hard work for him and he looked at me and said "I can't do it Mum" as reassuring as I could be I told him that "just try, do you best" this made me fall apart on the inside.
Hearing that the paediatrician believes that he's going to find things hard, school will be hard, all the things that you do at school cutting, drawing is going to be tough for him, not every day just some of them. Honestly you want your children to do their best, but seeing my boy look at me and say I can't do it and knowing that in that moment he couldn't. I thought back to all the mornings and even this morning where he struggled to get dressed, even tonight it was a major drama. It's hard work but I realised that it is harder for him, sometimes he can't do it and I know that sometimes we tell him off even though we didn't know at the time he couldn't. Hindsight can be painful.
Once we got home and I started thinking about what he the paediatrician, I was then worrying about everything does he mean dyspraxia how bad is it, what does it really mean? So researching I found some information first in Raising a Sensory Smart Child on page 202 it says that "motor planning, also called praxis, is the ability to conceptualise, plan and to perform an unfamilar action... if a child is dyspraxic, he has trouble figuring out how to do non-habitual actions. The problem may occur at any point in the process: a child may have trouble coming up with an idea of what to do, how to plan and organise what his body needs to do, and/or how to sequence and execute these movements." The phrase "I don't know and I can't" are reverberating in my head when I read this. I know my boy is not severe in his motor planning issues but I can admit that I know it is an issue for him and adequate support is essential for him
Another book I referred to is the Out of Sync Child possibly also known as the bible for Sensory Processing Issues, it has a checklist for how a child with dyspraxia presents:
- Have trouble conceiving of, organising and performing activities that involve a sequence of movements, such as cutting, pasting, colouring, assembling collage pieces or recipe ingredients, applying nail polish, and so forth. Novel experiences as well as familar activities may be difficult.
- Have poor gross-motor control for running, climbing and jumping.
- Have poor eye-hand coordination.
- Require visual cues to perform certain motor tasks that other children can do without looking, such as zipping, snapping, buttoning, and unbuttoning clothes.
- Put on gloves or socks in unusual ways
- Have poor fine motor control of his fingers for precise manual tasks, eg., holding and using eating utensils and classroom tools, such as crayons, scizzors, staplers and hold punches.
- Struggle with hand-writing, drawing, completing work-sheets, and similar tasks.
- Have poor fine-motor control of his toes for walking barefoot or in flip-flops.
- Have poor fine-motor control of his mouth muscles for sucking, swallowing, chewing and speaking.
- Be a messy eater.
- Have poor self-help skills and not be a self starter, requiring another persons help to get going."Pg 108-109
After waiting some time we finally got the report with some information further about this, and apparently at this time he hasn't been diagnosed as dyspraxic however it doesn't mean that he won't either. So for now, I have worked out something humbling sometimes they aren't not doing what they are told to be naughty, sometimes just sometimes they actually can't do it. Once again I realise how much I don't know!