Understanding Dyspraxia: Signs to Look for in Your Child

Girl with dyspraxia signs trying to concentrate on schoolwork at her desk using a laptop at home.

Lila’s parents suspected something was wrong when their spirited little girl struggled with tasks her peers found easy. 

By age 8, tying shoelaces seemed an overwhelming challenge for her. Also, she struggled to grasp a pencil correctly, had difficulty buttoning her shirts, and often stumbled into walls.

In their quest for answers, Lila’s parents turned to the internet and discovered that these were all signs of dyspraxia. Unfamiliar with this disorder, they dived deeper into their research.

Their journey to understanding dyspraxia led them down various paths, seeking insights from different resources and consulting specialists. 

Through this process, they shed light on Lila’s struggles and found hope and guidance.

Dyspraxia can manifest in many ways and can be hard to identify if you don’t know what to look for. 

For parents, educators, and caregivers, recognizing these early signs can pave the way for timely intervention and support, ensuring kids like Lila get the best start.

What is Dyspraxia? 

Dyspraxia is a neurological condition affecting motor coordination. It impacts a child’s ability to plan and process motor tasks. 

Imagine trying to tune a radio, but instead of clear music, you only get static; for those with dyspraxia, sending the right signals from the brain to the body can be just as challenging.

Beyond physical challenges, dyspraxia can also affect speech, organization, and sometimes even emotional well-being. Recognizing this condition’s full spectrum helps offer the proper support and understanding.

Signs of Dyspraxia in Your Child

Have you noticed your child struggling with simple tasks, like holding a pencil or tying their shoes? These might be signs of dyspraxia

Let’s explore what to look for so you can better understand and support your child.

Physical Signs of Dyspraxia

– Struggling with Daily Tasks:

You might see your child having difficulty tying their shoes or using a fork and knife at dinner. While these might seem like simple tasks, they can be a real challenge for some kids.

– Balance and Coordination:

Does your child often bump into things, trip while walking or running, or struggle to stay balanced on a swing? This isn’t just typical clumsiness. It might be their body not coordinating with what their brain tells it.

– Challenges with Gross Motor Skills:

Playing catch or soccer in the park might be more challenging for your child. Kicking a ball straight or catching it consistently might take work. 

Riding a bike can be challenging, as it requires balance and coordination – two things children with dyspraxia often grapple with.

– Writing and Fine Motor Skills:

You may notice your child gripping the pencil too hard, or they might struggle to write neatly. Small tasks like cutting with scissors or buttoning up shirts might also take them longer to master.

It’s essential to remember that every child grows at their own pace. If you’re spotting these signs, it’s not a time for worry but rather understanding. With the right help and tools, your child can learn and thrive.

Speech and Language Signs of Verbal Dyspraxia

– Late Talkers:

Do you remember waiting eagerly for your child’s first words? Some kids with verbal dyspraxia might start talking later than their friends. It’s not that they have nothing to say; it’s just harder for them to get the words out.

– Pronouncing Words:

Your child might mix up sounds in words or need help saying longer words. For instance, “spaghetti” might come out as “pasghetti.” It’s like their tongue and mouth aren’t following the brain’s instructions.

– Building Sentences:

You might notice your child often searching for the right words or pausing a lot when they talk. Creating a sentence, even a simple one like “I want juice,” can be a puzzle they’re trying to solve.

If you see these signs, know you’re not alone. Many parents are on this journey, too, and there are resources and experts out there who can help your child find their voice.

Organization and Planning Challenges with Dyspraxia

– Attention:

Does your child get easily distracted? Maybe they start cleaning their room but end up playing with a toy they found. It’s not that they’re not trying; staying focused on one task can be extra tricky for them.

– Time Management:

Have you noticed your child struggling to finish homework or chores on time? Or they may lose track of time easily when playing or watching TV. 

It’s like they have their own special clock, and sometimes it ticks a little differently.

– Multi-step Tasks:

Imagine being asked to make a sandwich but getting lost after putting on the bread and forgetting the rest. Tasks with several steps for your child, like getting dressed or packing their school bag, can feel like a giant puzzle. 

They might need more reminders or even a checklist to help them out.

If these sound familiar, don’t fret. Many kids face these challenges. With patience, understanding, and some handy tips, you can help your child better plan and organize.

Why Early Detection Matters

– The Power of Early Help:

Think of it like planting a tree. The earlier you plant it and give it the care it needs, the stronger and taller it grows. Spotting dyspraxia signs early means your child gets the right help sooner. This can make a big difference in how they learn and grow.

– Being Your Child’s Superhero:

You know your child best. If you see they’re struggling, trust your feelings. Ask questions. Talk to teachers or doctors. You become their biggest supporter and helper by standing up for your child and seeking answers.

Understanding and catching dyspraxia early can open doors to resources and tools that help your child shine brightly. Every step you take now can lead to giant leaps for their future.

Ways to Support Your Child With Dyspraxia at Home:

– Make a Game Plan:

Kids love routines. Think of it like their favorite bedtime story; they love knowing what comes next. So, having a regular schedule, like meal times, play times, and bedtimes, can help your child feel safe and secure.

– Picture Power:

Have you noticed how kids love looking at pictures? Using visual aids like charts, colorful stickers, or picture reminders can make tasks clearer. For example, a picture chart can show the steps for getting ready in the morning: first, brush your teeth, then get dressed, and so on.

– Celebrate the Little Things:

Every time your child tries, give them a high-five or a hug. Even if they don’t get it perfect, the effort counts. Praising even small achievements makes them proud and encourages them to keep going.

Your home is your child’s safe space. With your love, patience, and these little changes, you can make it a place where they feel confident and supported.

Ways to Support Your Child with Dyspraxia in School:

– Team Up with Teachers:

Your child’s teacher is like a co-pilot on this journey. Meet with them, discuss your child’s struggles, and share any strategies you use at home. Together, you can create a plan that helps your child succeed in class.

– Classroom Accommodations:

Sometimes, little changes in the classroom can make a big difference. Your child may need a seat closer to the board. Or they could benefit from having instructions written down. 

Some kids find using special pencil grips or having more time on tests helpful. It’s all about finding what works best for your child.

Remember, school is a big part of your child’s life. Working closely with teachers and asking for minor changes when needed helps pave a smoother path for your child’s learning journey.

You might find these helpful when finding accommodations:


– Special Education Tutoring:

Consider exploring a special education tutoring program like ours. Our tutors are trained to work with kids who have unique learning needs. 

They use specialized techniques and tools that can make learning more accessible and fun for your child. 

Like how a coach helps athletes hone their skills, these tutors can help your child strengthen their learning abilities.

Supporting Your Child with Dyspraxia Socially:

– Find Their Squad:

Kids love to be part of a team or group. Consider enrolling your child in clubs, groups, or activities where they can feel accepted and supported.

It might be an art class, a reading club, sports team or even a group for kids with similar challenges. It’s like finding their own special cheering squad!

– Talk It Out:

Your child needs to understand that everyone has challenges. Help them find simple ways to explain their struggles to friends. 

Maybe they can say, “I need a little more time tying my shoes,” or “Loud noises make me feel uneasy.” 

When friends understand, they’re more likely to be supportive.

Friends play a significant role in your child’s life. By helping them find the right crowd and teaching them to communicate, you’re giving them the tools to build strong and understanding friendships.

Next Steps

Understanding dyspraxia is like unlocking a door to help your child. Keep in mind, though, that some of these signs might also point to other conditions or coexist with other learning disorders or challenges such as:

If your child shows signs, don’t hesitate to seek resources and support. Remember, with the proper guidance, your child can shine bright and overcome any challenge. You’re their best ally in this journey.

Additional Resources


Girl with dyspraxia signs trying to concentrate on schoolwork at her desk using a laptop at home.
Discover how to spot dyspraxia signs in your child, how to support them at home and school, and why early detection is essential.
Picture of Shannah Holt

Shannah Holt

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