Do you struggle to stumble on a flat surface, walk on or bump into people or things, lose things, spill a lot during meals and have some pronunciation problems especially when you get excited? Do you have problems tying your shoelaces or have a lousy handwriting? You might have Dyspraxia.

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Various studies show that as many as up to 10% of the population may have Dyspraxia to varying degrees. It can involve difficulties with motor skills and coordination, and can be an obstacle to education, work and close relationships.

This is what Linda Eliseussen, chair of the board of the Norwegian Dyspraxia Association, tells Helptilhjelp.no.

Nevertheless, knowledge about the disability among Norwegians is limited, Eliseussen continues.

She wants to do something about this! Linda Eliseussen herself has been diagnosed with Dyspraxia. She is passionate about Dyspraksia becoming known, and that dyspracticers regardless of age, parents, school staff, doctors and others should receive the information, guidance and assistance they want and need.

We have interviewed Linda Eliseussen about Dyspraxia and here you read the answers.

 

- In short: What is Dyspraxia? What are the characteristics?

Simply explained, Dyspraxia (among most professionals known as DCD or Developmental Coordination Disorder) is a dysfunction, weakness or immaturity in brain development. Dyspraxia prevents messages from the brain from being turned into practical action.

The symptoms are many, but all dyspracticers are different and some have few symptoms, others have few. Symptoms may include poor motor skills (fine and / or gross motor skills), poor coordination, poor balance, stiff muscles (including the face), problems with pronunciation, abnormally high or low pain threshold, poor short-term memory, problems with calculating distance and length, difficulties with reading body language and facial expressions etc.

Several dyspracticers also have other disabilities and challenges such as Hypotension, Hypertension, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphy, Autism and ADHD. 

 

- What is the background for you establishing the Norwegian Dyspraxia Association?

The association was established because Dyspraxia is a very common disability (as many as up to 10% may have Dyspraxia to varying degrees), but knowledge in this country is limited. The association is currently run on a voluntary basis, by parents and dyspracticers. We are there for everyone, whether you are a dyspractic, parent, teacher, professional or just curious about Dyspraxia.

 

- Why is it important to focus on dyspraxia?

It is very important to focus on Dyspraxia, not only because so many out there have Dyspraxia and there are many without a diagnosis, but also because lack of knowledge about Dyspraxia can lead to dyspracticers also developing low self-esteem and other mental ailments and difficulties. With the right information, follow-up and assistance, the vast majority of dyspracticers will do well in terms of education, job and relationships.

If you struggle with stumbling on a flat surface, walking on or bumping into people or things, losing things, spilling a lot during meals and having some pronunciation problems, especially when you get eager, it can actually be Dyspraxia.

 

- What is good facilitation for Dyspraxia in school?

First and foremost, listen to the child and parents, they are the ones in question and they are the ones with the experience. Other measures school can take is not to hang too much on the walls in the classroom and not use too many colors. Let the dyspractic sit closest to the board and furthest away from the window. Before the school year starts, let the dyspractic go for a few rounds in the building and get to know where everything is, including the toilet. When school starts, allow the dyspractic to have extra time to recover between hours and rooms.

Feel free to start and end the lessons with a summary of the content. Dyspractors have poor short-term memory, but good long-term memory. Repetition is therefore important when learning new things. The schools that have enough funds for this should employ a separate assistant for the dyspractic. Copy many schedules, laminate them and attach one to the student's desk, one to the lid of the backpack, one to the classroom door and wherever possible. Some dyspracticers have better use of audiobooks, and should be allowed to use a computer as much as possible.

Reward the dyspractic's efforts, not just the result. Where appropriate, highlight the dyspractic's strengths, and preferably in front of others. Focus on the positive. Adapted gym facilities are a necessity. Keep in mind that dyspracticers are very vulnerable to bullying, and feel free to create a classroom peer system. An available quiet room the dyspractic can use if needed can do wonders. Remember that the dyspractician remembers best what is shown, or what is told.

A student with a Dyspraxia diagnosis is entitled to IOP, and since all dyspracticers are different, everyone will have different needs. Feel free to contact us if there is a need for guidance.

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Written by

ove heradstveit

Ove Heradstveit

Psychologist, specialist in clinical community psychology. PhD.
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