Dyspraxia: A disability that nobody can see

ADHD as well, although they and other professionals are inclined to disagree on the ADHD.

“His muscle tone is so poor he can’t sit still, and that is where the problem is,” says Michelle. “He is not hyper at all.”

A later psychological assessment concluded that Luc also has mild autism, which is classic in dyspraxia, says Michelle. This diagnosis means Luc gets five hours of resource teaching a week at school.

Parents of children with dyspraxia get no specific support from the public healthcare system, says Michelle.

Although she managed to secure the domiciliary care allowance after she gave up her job in administration and communications with Wyeth in Clondalkin, Dublin, she knows lots of other parents of children with dyspraxia have been turned down.

They have an au pair who, she says, is important “for all their sanity”. If she did not have a child with special needs, Michelle says, she would be able to cope on her own while Chris, a web designer with The Irish Times, is at work.

Luc needs extra help all the time. “It is very hard for a dyspraxic child to follow instructions. If you say, ‘Luc, get dressed and put your shoes on,’ you will find him sitting on his bed with his pyjamas off and he will have forgotten what you said to

His difficulties with socialisation are particularly heartbreaking for his parents, and he was subject to “ferocious bullying” last year.

However, she says his school, the gaelscoil in Kilcock, is excellent and does everything it can for him.

“He tends to fixate on one friend, and the one he is fixating on now really does not have an interest in him.”

When his parents invite a child around, Luc is likely to end up falling out with them.

“He just doesn’t have the social cues. He wants them to play his game, like a two year old; he doesn’t understand, okay, we will play your game first and then mine.”

Michelle is glad some of the resource hours at school are now being used to work on his social skills. “He is so innocent in lots of ways.” She sees him playing out on the road with much younger children “because nobody else will play with him”.

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