Moving into secondary education can be a very difficult time for a child with dyspraxia especially if writing is still very slow or illegible. This contrasts with verbal ability which is often very good! They may have poor spacial awareness and tend to get lost around school – having a ‘Buddy’ when changing classrooms can help.
Problems of organisation and time keeping can begin to seriously impair performance. Sports like football and tennis are difficult for most children with dyspraxia because of poor coordination and visual difficulties.
They may need longer for dressing and undressing for sports. However, they can excel at solo sports like running, Martial arts and horse riding.
Work with their strengths and abilities in and outside school activities to encourage self-esteem.
Learning touch-typing at this age can be a great advantage. A laptop or lightweight portable word processor can be very helpful at school. Raise this issue before Secondary School starts as some schools (amazingly!) still do not allow this for pupils with Dyspraxia.
- Do you find it difficult to write down your thoughts?
- Do you find it hard to copy off the board?
- Are you slower getting changed for sports than your classmates?
- Would you say you are disorganised?
- Has anyone in your family (including uncles, aunts and grandparents) had difficulties with reading, writing or clumsiness?
- Were you late learning to ride a bike?
- Do you get lost in new surroundings?
- Do you feel you are underachieving at school?
If you answered YES to 4 or more questions you may have dyspraxia and need further assessment.
What to Do:
Check with your GP if you are still young enough to access the Paediatric services at your local Child Development Centre (NHS). A multi-disciplinary team of therapists and a paediatrician will assess you. They should liaise with your school.
If there is no suitable service in your area, please contact us for an assessment.
If you are too old for this service, unfortunately, there may not be another contracted NHS resource available for adults with dyspraxia. Contact your GP to see if funding can be applied for via your local GP clinical commissioning group for specialist services.
To help choose supportive schools go to www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk.