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Potential to improve with DCD

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by bettyhen, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. My 7 year old (mildly ASD) son has been diagnosed with developmental co-ordination disorder. Apart from for throwing and catching, where he is on the 63rd percentile, he is on the 5th percentile for everything else, including working memory. I think he's intellectually bright and his reading and comprehension is good through he can't write down his responses. I'm a secondary teacher so don't see the changes that can take place. Is he likely to improve significantly with support or will there always be a significant deficit? School have introduced a get set goprogramme devised by the OT and we are going to the movement and learning centre in Bo'ness.
  2. I have dyspraxia (DCD by another name, if I recall correctly) and also have Aspergers Syndrome so I guess I am pretty similar to your son. I was diagnosed with dyspraxia at the age of 6 and am now 24. When I was diagnosed, I struggled to dress myself, was unable to tell when I needed the toilet, had to use adapted cutlery and bumped into things so often my parents used to call me "Clumsy Clop"! My handwriting was also very immature even for such a young child. Now I can dress myself with ease although I cannot do a tie reliably but that's OK as the last time I had to wear one was when I was a prefect at secondary school and, to my annoyance, I finally did it by myself two weeks before I left! I struggle to dress other people though-I am a carer for teenagers with severe learning disabilities and part of my job is washing and dressing them and I always struggle to do their buttons and zips up for some reason! I am also now fully continent and can use normal cutlery although I still have a tendency to tear food instead of cutting it and I eat in a very cack handed manner. I still bump into things a lot though due to misjudging heights and widths of objects. Unfortunately, despite years of practice, my handwriting never improved and the only reason I got decent grades at GCSE and A Level was because I had a transcript done of all my papers (I refused to use a laptop at school due to stupidly feeling embarrassed and self conscious so it wasn't my normal way of working so couldn't use it in exams). Now, though, the handwriting aspect doesn't bother me as I do so much of my paperwork on the computer. Other members of staff do comment on it in the student's notes that we have to write every day though-one of the night staff where I work said my handwriting looked like an EEG trace! She was joking but it's true-it's virtually illegible to anybody who isn't me. Dyspraxia does still affect me but it affects me in different ways now I am older. At school, there is a lot of emphasis on coordination with handwriting and PE lessons so dyspraxia is more physically obvious but, after you leave school and don't have to write things by hand or do PE any more, the memory side becomes more obvious. I can't follow verbal instructions with more than 2 sequences involved or directions-they have to be written down for me, I walk into a room and then instantly forget what I came in for, I lock myself out of my hostel room as I forget where I left my keys and I am well known as the least reliable person to pass a message on to someone as it never goes into my memory. My long term memory, however, is fantastic. I do still have coordination issues-I struggle with washing my hair and still need my nails cutting by someone else as, every time I try, I injure myself. I also struggle with cooking and cleaning as these are highly complex tasks for someone with a condition affecting coordination. I guess what I am saying is it can and does improve. Your son is lucky to be diagnosed early as most occupational therapists say that the brain picks up skills and coping strategies easier the younger a child is. I know someone who was diagnosed with severe dyspraxia at 15 (she grew up in a country where it was not a recognised diagnosis) and, when she was assessed, her motor skills placed her in the bottom 0.5 percentile of her age group. She had intensive occupational therapy and improved to the extent that she is now on the 4th percentile of her age group and that is at 15 years old so your son, at 7, should be able to improve with no problem. He will always have issues caused by his condition but they will change over time. I hope that makes sense.
  3. Sorry about the lack of paragraphs-I use Google Chrome and it doesn't seem to like paragraphs on this site for some reason!
  4. Thank you very much for such a detailed and helpful response. It was really interesting to see these things from the perspective of an adult who has grown up with the condition. It was heartening to see how your own self-awareness helps you to manage the things that you find difficult - I hope my son manages to do the same.
  5. No worries-thank you for your kind words.

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