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Why is he (or she) just so uncoordinated?


For some kids, throwing a ball, jumping over a line, or even climbing a jungle gym does not come naturally. In fact, these tasks and other similar tasks may be just a little bit more challenging for him to learn it than it is for the average kid. This does not mean that he will never be able to accomplish it; it just means that it may take him a little more time and that he may require the skill to be broken down into its components to truly learn it.

What is dyspraxia? Dyspraxia is a neurological processing disorder that affects the ability of a person to plan his movements, and the more difficult the movement, the more of a roadblock there is in the brain for planning the movement, the more difficult it is for that person to execute the movement. In short, dyspraxia is the medical term for severe lack of coordination. Dyspraxia is present from birth but may not always present itself right away.

What does dyspraxia look like? At a young age, a child with dyspraxia may be delayed in meeting major milestones such as creeping, crawling, and even walking. As a toddler, a child with dyspraxia may have difficulty executing typical movement patterns like throwing or kicking, and when you try to get him to learn how to do it, he may not pick it up in even 3-4 attempts. Furthermore, a child with dyspraxia will appear to be clumsy overall and as if he does not have good control of his body. Of course, more mild forms of it may go unnoticed completely, as a person may be able to cope with it in daily life and choose not to challenge himself with activities that require more complex motor plans, such as those required for playing a sport.

How can physical therapy help? The good news is that a child can learn motor plans with the help of his physical therapist who is trained in breaking down parts of typical movement into its components and translating it to your child. For example, to learn to throw a ball, a child may need to learn stepping pattern and throwing pattern separately before combining them. Little by little, a child can learn the motor plans necessary for both basic and complex movements. Just remember that your child will need a lot of practice and encouragement at home to be successful at mastering the new skills that he learns at therapy!


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