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Ask Suzanne Your Own Question
Suzanne, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 919
Experience:  LCSW, RN. Mental Health, Relationship & Parenting issues.EMDR, Hypnosis.
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my son (aged7), his teacher told me that she suspects that

Customer Question

my son (aged7), his teacher told me that she suspects that he may have
dyspraxia in that he is quite clumsy specifically in relation to spatial awareness i.e.
falls off chairs, playing with a ball - falls, bumps into his classmates, walking on their
heels etc. she says she has been watching him - he is not bold but seems to do things on impulse although he has been told of consequences of his actions.
He hates colouring, not good at holding his pencil although his writing is quite good.
Academically she says he is very bright, maths, reading, concepts etc.above average for his age. Should I get him assessed or whom should I contact about this.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Suzanne replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for bringing your question to JustAnswer.

Yes, this is definitely something that needs to be assessed. Dyspraxia can cause, in addition to the bumping into things, a lack of concentration and problems following directions. Here is a list of symptoms from the Dyspraxia Foundation:

  • Irritable and difficult to comfort - from birth
  • Feeding difficulties: milk allergies, colic, restricted diet
  • Sleeping difficulties: problems establishing routine, requires constant adult reassurance
  • Delayed early motor development: sitting unaided, rolling from side to side: do not usually go through the crawling stage
  • High levels of motor activity: constantly moving arms and legs
  • Repetitive behaviors: head banging or rolling
  • Sensitive to high levels of noise
  • Continued problems with development of feeding skills
  • Toilet training may be delayed
  • Avoids constructional toys such as jigsaws and Lego
  • Delayed language development: single words not evident until age 3
  • Highly emotional: easily distressed, frequent outbursts of uncontrolled behavior
  • Concentration limited to 2 or 3 minutes on any task?

Summary of Behaviors 3 - 5 very High Levels of Motor Activity

  • feet swinging and tapping when seated
  • hands clapping or twisting
  • unable to stay in one place longer than 5 minutes

Very Excitable

  • voice loud and shrill
  • easily distressed
  • temper tantrums

Moves Awkwardly

  • constantly bumping into objects and falling
  • associated mirror movements, hands flap when running or jumping

Difficulty Pedaling Tricycle or Similar Toy

  • Poor ground awareness
  • no sense of danger, jump from inappropriate heights

Continue to be Messy Eaters

  • often spill liquid from drinking cups
  • prefer to use fingers to feed

Avoids Constructional Toys

  • jigsaws
  • building blocks (Lego)

Poor Fine Motor Skills

  • pencil grip
  • use of scissors
  • immature drawings

Lack of Imaginative Play

  • Do not enjoy ‘dressing up' or playing appropriately in the home corner or Wendy House. - Limited creative play

Isolated in Peer Group

  • prefers adult company

Laterality Still not Established

  • problems crossing mid line Language Difficulties Persist
  • children often referred to speech therapist

Sensitive to Sensory Stimulation

  • high levels of noise
  • dislike being touched or wearing new clothes

Limited Response to Verbal Instructions

  • slower response time
  • problems with comprehension

Limited Concentration

  • tasks often left unfinished

Treatment for Dyspraxia would be through an Occupational Therapist. Here is a link to some professionals who specialize in this disorder.

If none of these are in your area, ask your child's pediatrician for a referral. You're lucky he had a teacher who recognized his symptoms, so he can get treatment early in life.

Suzanne and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

thank you, XXXXX XXXXX against my son.


- As an infant had feeding problems, lactose intolerant, no problem once he

was changed to goats milk.

- very quick to develop - walked at 11 months, excellant language - speech, comprehension and reading. His use of language is quite adult and knows exactly when to use words etc.

- Active in drama group, loves music and singing

- swims, rides his bike (actually stuck with it for a full afternoon) to make sure his

stabilisers could be removed. They were.

- No problems with self-esteem

- relates well with his friends

his issues from that list would appear to be lack of concentration, at times not

taking direction, bumping into things/people as if he cant judge distance.

Inability to sit still for any period.

thank you, XXXXX XXXXX you for listing of occupational therapists, I feel we will seek an assessment would this be your advice?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

the fact that he only appears to be meeting a limited criteriia


Expert:  Suzanne replied 4 years ago.

No child will have all of the symptoms, but with his meeting several of them, and his teacher's concern, it's worth checking out. You may want to start with his pediatrician and see what kind of an eval he recommends. It would also be worth seeing if he meets criteria for ADHD, which the pediatrician would be able to assess. Your child may score low on the criteria for dyspraxia, but still benefit from some OT to improve his sense of distance so he stops bumping into things and people.

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