Dyspraxia. Have you heard of it? Can you guess what it means? Even if you think you have no idea what it is, you've undoubtedly seen it in kids and adults and didn't know what to call it! Check out this brief overview from the National Center for Learning Disabilities that explains what dyspraxia is and how it affects individuals.
Have you noticed these characteristics in kids or adults that you know? Just as some kids have trouble with learning math or reading skills, kids with dyspraxia have trouble learning motor skills. Think about how often and in how many places kids need to move... everywhere! Playgrounds, home, school, sports teams, community places like museums, stores, parks! If kids are having trouble moving their bodies in all these places, can you imagine what that might feel like? If kids want to play a ball game with other kids, how long will they want to stick with it if they just can't get their body to catch a ball? If they can't climb up to reach a slide at the playground, would it simply look to someone else like they don't want to play? All of those scenarios sound pretty frustrating to me!
This week, our preschool staff was able to get a small glimpse of what that feels like. Thankfully, they were up for the challenge to try to experience something that so many kids experience everyday. Each staff member had one of their eyes covered with an eye patch (to simulate difficulty with visual tracking and teaming of eyes together), their dominant hand tied behind their back (to simulate difficulty coordinating the Left and Right sides of the body, also called bilateral coordination), and their legs tied together (to simulate balance and body control difficulties). They were then given tasks to attempt to do that we ask kids to do on a daily basis. While it was silly to see the attempts, it was also an eye-opening experience to see how frustrating seemingly simple tasks can be with dyspraxia! All of a sudden, asking a kid to sit "criss-cross applesauce" doesn't seem like such an easy request!
Sara tries to build a Lego structure to match the one that already was made:
Here's Tina trying the balance beam and jumping with two feet:
Kavita attempts to put a shirt on:
Jaimi learned how difficult it is to catch and throw a ball: