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What you need to know about Dyspraxia

Dyspraxia affects a person’s motor skills – that means the ability to control their body movements is trickier for them than for the average person. This can be frustrating – skills like learning to ride a bike, play sports such as tennis or football and daily activities like getting dressed and cleaning teeth all take longer to master. What is called ‘fine motor skills’ like handwriting can be a nightmare.

It is a lifelong disorder; an adult with dyspraxia will find it harder to learn new skills such as driving a car. Time-keeping and organisation is often a problem, memory and perception may be impaired. These difficulties, which can affect confidence and self-esteem, are experienced by about 5% of the population. Dyspraxia does not stop people playing sport, passing exams, running their own businesses and taking on exciting challenges. But it takes more determination!

The cause is unknown, but there seems to be a problem in the way messages from the brain are transmitted around the body. Dyspraxia is also called Developmental Coordination Disorder, or DCD.

What can you do if you have a child with dyspraxia?

· You can join the Dyspraxia Foundation, including the local support group which you can find on the website.

· You can get the book, when it is published later this year, by Emma Austin-Jones. The Lilac Story is a fairy tale Emma made up for her then 6-year old dyspraxic daughter who had just dropped her pudding on the floor…and she has now written in down ready for publication.

· You can come along to Red Zebra sessions – either Activity Group or Family Support. Find Red Zebra on KalliKids or at Be sure to email the organiser, Sheila Brooks, so that you can her know what you are interested in. Sign up for the newsletter so that you keep up to date on events.

On 24th July, children at Red Zebra had lots of fun doing arts & crafts, playing games and trying different activities. Little did they know they were being carefully guided by occupational therapist Ruth Stephens (Optima Occupational Therapy Services) to develop strength and coordination as they scooted around the floor collecting bean bags! And to develop fine motor skills as they threaded beads onto pipe cleaners to make caterpillars or bracelets. There are lots of games you can play at home without spending lots of money, for example using clothes pegs to pick up and release small objects, or making chains of pegs by clipping them together. Or simply getting your child to help hang the washing out! Fingers can be strengthened and developed by scrunching up bits of tissue paper. Get lots of different colours and glue them onto a large sheet to make a collage picture. Let your imagination run free and make it fun!

Sheila Brooks is a qualified teacher and dyslexia specialist." I love to help children learn in the way that works for them, to boost their self esteem, and to have fun along the way." Find out more about Red Zebra on KalliKids.

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