Dyspraxia or Developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD) is a condition affecting physical co-ordination which results in a child or young person having difficulties with daily activities. .
The activities that a child or young person may present difficulties with include self-care, writing, riding a bike and play as well as other educational and recreational activities which cannot be explained or attributed to any other medical cause. Developmental coordination disorder is not diagnosed in children less than 5 years of age. Not all children and young people with difficulties listed above will be given a diagnosis of DCD.
How is dyspraxia diagnosed?
You may contact your child’s Health Visitor (if obvious concerns less than 5 years of age) or school nurse or GP to discuss developmental issues. If the school staff notices difficulties they would normally provide additional support before they seek a referral for further assessment. For many children this additional support may be enough to improve the required area. If there are no changes despite the school intervention, then you may be asked to seek a referral via your GP or the school nurse to the Children’s Occupational Therapy Service or the Community Paediatrics Team. It is important to include with the referral as much information as possible about the support your child receives at school.
Following this referral and depending on the needs of your child, the Occupational Therapist may suggest carrying out specified activities from their website for a period of time before you are offered an assessment with a therapist.
In order for your child to be formally diagnosed with DCD, he/she will need to be assessed by a Paediatrician as this diagnosis can only be made by a doctor.
After assessment, appropriate guidance on managing his/her day-to-day difficulties would be recommended. This advice can be implemented into the school’s existing strategy to support the child/young person.