Early identification is important so therapy can begin. However, a diagnosis before age five can be unreliable.
Dyspraxia is diagnosed by a team of clinicians, including an occupational therapist or neuropsychologist to assess motor skills, and a paediatrician to rule out neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy.
No drug therapies are available for dyspraxia. The condition is best managed with task-oriented therapies, where children focus on learning specific tasks, and on aspects giving them difficulty.
The treatment team should work closely with parents and teachers to ensure strategies are in place and therapy techniques continue in the home, classroom and community-based settings.
Children with dyspraxia are aware of their physical limitations and report feeling less socially accepted. Their overall self-esteem is lower than their peers, while rates of depression and anxiety are higher.
Children with dyspraxia are less likely to engage in physical activity and free play. This further compounds their opportunity to develop movement skills, and has detrimental effects on physical health. They have lower levels of fitness, strength and endurance, increasing their risk of obesity and heart disease.
Families seeking a diagnosis face myriad obstacles: lack of understanding, misconceptions, and incorrect diagnoses.