Conquering the Motor Challenges

motor-challenges“I’m doing it! I’m doing it!” yells an exuberant 8 year-old boy as he rides away from me on his bike. This young boy has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and dyspraxia and was so frightened to just sit on his bike with training wheels 4 months ago that he held on to me for dear life. Today he rides away from me on a two-wheeled bike on his own and tomorrow he will ride with his brother through the neighborhood.

What is Dyspraxia?
Dyspraxia is a term used to describe children who appear clumsy, have poor balance, and have difficulty performing activities in their daily lives, such as dressing, coloring, and playing on the playground. Children with dyspraxia often have challenges with visual perceptual skills, motor planning, and academic demands. Dyspraxia falls under the diagnostic term Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), but is also frequently seen with other developmental disorders, including ADHD, hypotonia and ASD.

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Joni Redlich, DPT About Joni Redlich, DPT

Joni is a pediatric physical therapist who specializes in developmental disabilities, is certified in Neurodevelopmental Treatment, and has extensive experience with sensory integration therapy. She blogs at Kid PT.

  • EnjoyHi5Autism

    Wow! Your Dyspraxia article is so helpful, clearly written, appropriate examples, good solutions. Especially liked how you emphasized that our children with Autism and Dyspraxia can still ENJOY a successful life now and later on as adults.

  • Christie Ann

    LOVE this post. Thank you so much. My oldest has a lot of motor issue and has since birth. He also experienced extrapyramidal response from a drug he was on which cause him to have even more motor issues. They have not diagnosed him with this condition (dyspraxia) however, he clearly struggles with these issues. He will be 9 in August and he can not tie his shoes, ride a bike, he is always falling and bumping into things. Some of that is sensory yes, but a lot it is his motor deficits. Thanks for all this information I know I will be discussing it with my child's school. I am wondering how this issue related to neurological disorders like dysgraphia or learning disabilities like dyslexia?

  • Joni

    EnjoyHi5Autism: Thanks! Yes, yes, yes- our kids can certainly enjoy themselves and be active!

    Christie Ann: Dyspraxia and coordination problems in general are very common for kids with dysgraphia and learning disabilities. Our kids with sensory problems very often have motor challenges as well. Its the other side of the same coin. We need to address the body as a whole, and the motor end of things are often quicker and easier to make changes. It can also positively impact sensory needs…for example, stronger muscles give more proprioceptive input to the body. Definitely talk to school- I look forward to hearing how things go!