Thursday, September 26, 2013

Apraxia vs. dyspraxia

Apraxia.  Dyspraxia.  I've seen them used interchangeably for so long, I thought they were the same thing. It seemed to me like dyspraxia was the British term for apraxia.  All the information about dyspraxia seems to come from the United Kingdom.  But I'm beginning to realize, there's a difference.  Basically it comes down to this:

Apraxia:  No motor planning.  Effects speech and can effect oral movements.
Dyspraxia: Difficulty with motor planning. Effects gross and fine motor skills, can impact understanding and speech.

You can read more about the difference between apraxia and dyspraxia here.  

This new information is a little overwhelming, but yet things are making sense to me regarding Kiddo.  He has to be trained how to speak, how to make every sound, how to combine those sounds into words, how to combine those words into phrases, how to combine those phrases into sentences, and so on.  It's not just difficult for him and will come to him with practice, but rather that it is impossible for him without therapy and lots and lots and lots of practice.  Therefore he does have Childhood Apraxia of Speech.  He completely lacks the motor planning in that area.

But, as I read the symptoms of dyspraxia, I was shocked by how many of them Kiddo struggles with:

"Particular symptoms or signs of dyspraxia in babies and toddlers can include:
  • Hypertonia or hypotonia.
  • Delay in reaching developmental milestones.
  • Difficulty performing physical activities such as climbing stairs, running, hopping, and jumping, when compared to other children of the same age.
  • Difficulty chewing solid food.
  • Difficulty with pincer grasp and holding a pencil/drawing. Drawings may appear immature for the child's age.
  • Difficulty performing daily activities and self-care tasks such as getting dressed.
  • Taking longer to acquire new skills.
  • Falling over a lot or appearing clumsy.
  • Problems grasping the concepts of 'on', 'in', 'in front of', etc.
  • Difficulty establishing relationships and with social behaviour.
  • Anxiety or agitation.
  • Delayed language development or problems with speech.
As well as the problems above, particular symptoms or signs of dyspraxia in school-age children include:
  • Difficulty participating in group situations - being much better one-on-one.
  • Problems with maths and writing, including having trouble copying things from the board in school.
  • Disorganisation.
  • Difficulty reading.
  • Poor concentration and listening skills.
  • An inability to follow instructions.
  • Avoidance of physical education in school or physical activities with friends.
  • Anger and frustration."    (Taken from

Once I realized that a lot of Kiddo's difficulties are related to dyspraxia, I've been able to find a lot more research to help him.  And two books I've been reading have been awesome, enlightening, full of activities and ideas for working with Kiddo and building up his motor planning in other areas, particularly in his fine and gross motor skills.  Two books I've found really helpful are:

Another thing I've found really helpful, on the biomed side of things, is that Omega 6's are recommended for motor planning.  I've been giving him only Omega 3's, which has done wonders for his speech, and so I went off on another research frenzy.  Yep, research indicates that Omega 6's, particularly from evening primrose oil or borage oil can help with motor planning and are recommended for children with dyspraxia.  So, I immediately ordered a bottle of fish oil that contains the Omega 3's & 6's as well as Vitamin E.  We'll see if it makes a difference.
And, just had to share this random tidbit: I discovered that Daniel Radcliffe (the actor that played Harry Potter) has dyspraxia.  He was terrible at sports and struggled with things such as writing and tying his shoe laces and was discouraged about not being good at things that came easily to his peers.  His parents got him an acting audition, not really expecting that he would get the part, just bragging rights among his peers about getting an audition.  Obviously, he got the part.  You can read more about it here.

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