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1 Dyspraxia and ADHD in Further and Higher Education Mary Colley.

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1 1 Dyspraxia and ADHD in Further and Higher Education Mary Colley

2 2 Definition of Dyspraxia and ADHD Signs & symptoms of Dyspraxia and overlapping conditions Assessment Participants to give information on their own experiences of the condition Pointers on how to help adults with dyspraxia and AD(H)D Conclusion Questions An Overview

3 3 Definition of Dyspraxia ‘ Dyspraxia is an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement. Associated with this there may be problems of language, perception and thought.’ Dyspraxia Foundation Another simpler definition could be ‘Getting our bodies to do what we want when we want to do it in the absence of any clear neurological condition’ Other names include: Developmental co-ordination Disorder (DCD), Perceptuo-Motor Dysfunction and Minimal Brain Damage. It overlaps with many other conditions particularly dyslexia, AD(H)D and Asperger’s Syndrome

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6 General Overlap There is a great deal of overlap between AD(H)D and dyspraxia in particular as well the other conditions including dyslexia and Autistic Spectrum Disorder. All the conditions are generally present at birth and continue into adulthood in some form or another; and run in families 6 General Overlap

7 Dyspraxia Overlap Around 70% of people with Asperger’s have dyspraxia or dyspraxic traits Stern, Fernell & Gillberg Around 53% of dyslexics have Dyspraxia Kaplan 1998 Up to 50% of dyspraxics have have AD(H)D see Brown, Barkley Dyspraxia Overlap

8 ADHD 1 Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder is a specific developmental disorder – that comprises deficits in behavioural inhibition, sustained attention and resistance to distraction, and the regulation of one’s activity to the demands of the situation - Barkley & Murphy 1997 AD(H)D used to be known as Hyperkinetic Disorder and minimal brain damage AD(H)D Definition etc.

9 AD(H)D (contd) Types of AD(H)D: Inattentive only Hyperactive/impulsive only Combination of the two “The most basic trait is a lack of focused attention. It is not that students with AD(H)D do not attend: they attend to everything....They also sometimes over-focus on certain tasks that they’re interested in - become totally engrossed and don’t register anything else” (Chris Derrington, Northampton University) 9 AD(H)D 2

10 AD(H)D Overlap AD(H)D has a 50% overlap with dyspraxia/ DCD Barkley; Gillberg) 40% Kirby 2008 A 40% overlap with dyslexia Wilcutt et al % of people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder had AD(H)D as well. 21% of ADDers had Asperger’s Syndrome – 36% showed traits of autism - Kirby 2009 ADHD Overlap

11 AD(H)D signs & Symptoms May have difficulty paying attention in lectures/seminars May be distracted by their own thoughts May act impulsively, e.g. Buy something they can’t afford; very impatient May show fidgeting and restless behaviour May have problems with interpersonal relationships May have short term memory and organisational problems 11 AD(H)D Signs & Symptoms

12 12 Signs and Symptoms of Dyspraxia Before talking about ways to tackle dyspraxic difficulties in students, I will give a brief overview of the types of difficulty typically faced by dyspraxic adults. As we go through these, I will give examples relevant to students.

13 Adults may have difficulty with the following: Manual & practical work /fine motor skills Personal presentation and Spatial skills/gross motor skills Work and personal organisation Memory & attention span Written Expression Visual & oral skills Numeracy skills Social, communication and emotional behaviour

14 14 Manual & Practical work/Fine Motor co-ordination Problems using computer keyboards and mice Difficulty measuring accurately Slow, poor and/ or illegible handwriting Messy presentation/work Difficulty with staplers, photocopying etc. Difficulty doing manual work, craftwork laboratory work Difficulty folding clothes, sheets etc., changing duvet covers

15 15 Personal Presentation & Spatial Skills/ Gross motor skills Untidy and rumpled Clumsy gait Poor posture Frequently drop things and trip over Poor at sport, especially team & ball games Poor balance/ difficulty going up and downstairs and hills Difficulty with driving and using turnstiles

16 16 Organisation (Dyspraxia & ADHD) Organising paperwork Losing things Forgetting things Time keeping Managing overall workload Prioritising Meeting deadlines

17 17 Memory and Attention Span ( Dyspraxia & ADHD ) Short attention span Poor short term memory Easily distracted I when studying, especially by noise and bright lights. Open plan libraries can be a real problem Difficulty following instructions and discussions, e.g. in seminars Slow retrieval of information, especially when under stress Becoming disorientated, for example, getting lost in large buildings and difficulty finding their way to new places on time.

18 18 Written Expression mainly dyspraxia Erratic spelling and punctuation Awkward and confused sentence structure and sequencing Poor proof-reading Inclusion of irrelevant material in assignments/essays Slow to complete work

19 19 Visual and Oral Skills Trouble keeping place while reading and writing, tracking problems Poor relocating - cannot easily look from blackboard to note pad Difficulty with word finding Wrong pronunciation of newly-introduced words Speaking indistinctly, loudly, quietly, fast or slowly Pronunciation problems generally Interrupting inappropriately Difficulty learning foreign languages

20 20 Numeracy and Mathematical Skills Tendency to reverse and mis-copy numbers, signs, decimal points Frequent and apparently ‘careless’ mistakes Particular difficulty with geometry- both drawing and using equipment such as compass or protractor Difficulties with spatial awareness e.g. when drawing shapes, graphs, tables etc.

21 21 Social, Communication and Emotional Difficulties (dyspraxia & ADHD) Problems with oral interaction & communication with staff and other students Can appear rude or impatient unintentionally Don’t understand the unwritten rules of the college Low self-esteem & lack of confidence Frustration, defensiveness, aggression – Difficulty modulating emotions Over-talkative & excitable behaviour Withdrawn & reserved Anxiety, stress, depression and mood swings

22 22 On the Positive Side Creative and original thinkers Good strategic thinkers & problem-solvers Determined, hard-working Highly motivated Many have developed their own strategies to overcome some of their difficulties Empathetic Some may be really good at writing

23 Executive Functions in AD(H)D and Dyspraxia Executive Functions are central processes that are most intimately involved in providing organisation and order to our actions and behaviour.Drew They include: Non verbal working memory including foresight and planning, hindsight, sense of time and concentration Verbal working memory or internalisation of speech Self regulation of emotions and behaviour Reconstitution – learning from experience Barkley 1997 Executive Functions in AD(H)D and Dyspraxia

24 24 General Help for Students Relaxation& Exercise e.g. yoga & meditation Social Skills Training/ Assertiveness Self esteem Building Herbal remedies, fatty acid food supplements such as eye q Diet Mentoring/coaching ( particularly for AD(H)D Counselling, NLP, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy CBT) Occupational/Perceptual Therapy Study skills courses and time management skills Medication

25 25 Disability/Dyslexia Support Grants - help students access grants if necessary Inform tutors of the student’s disability and advocate for them if necessary Set up support Groups if possible Mentoring/coaching - particularly when & if students are doing work placements and in some cases with everyday living Provide advice on suitable courses and help when settling in Policy – have a university/policy on helping students with dyspraxia etc.

26 26 In Lectures Give clear handouts on a subject in large fonts Write new terms on blackboard Let them use mini disc players or helpers for note- taking ( the former can be difficult for dyspraxics to work) Repeat & summarise main points of the lecture Understand that students are easily distracted Video lectures if possible Use Multi-sensory materials Break things down into segments

27 27 In Seminars & Tutorials Give students more time in general to frame and answer questions Help students to prioritise books on the reading list Give extra time for course work Be aware that students are easily distracted by noise and movement Allow students to take regular breaks Understand if students talk too loudly for or appear rude or interrupt - remember they find following oral discussions stressful)

28 28 In Seminars and Tutorials 2 Use existing examples of essays and reports to help students know what is expected of them Give clear instructions and repeat them Demonstrate procedures several times Leave nothing to the imagination- spell everything out Encourage them as much as possible/emphasise strengths Let other students help them- buddy system

29 29 Writing Essays & Reports One to one tuition at least once a week is essential Help with planning & organisation of written work e.g spider charts/mind maps Help with writing & paragraphing Existing essays & reports to be offered as examples Help with proof-reading Help with time management & organisation Partitioned areas in libraries to work in (carrels) Sometimes different formats such as presentation will be more suitable for the student than writing essays or reports

30 Help with Practical Work Wherever possible, excuse them from – or give them help with practical work (e.g. Training for nursery or dyslexia teaching) Give lots of extra help and training on essential practical work 30

31 31 Exams: before & during Extra help with revision, including memory strategies Extra time Computers - being able to use one in an exam Scribes when necessary Allowances for dyspraxia Own room. Many need to study and take exams in quiet rooms to avoid distractions

32 32 Technological Hardware Word processors with good spell and grammar checks Lap tops Monitors - large monitors are easier to work with Computer mice - one that is easy to control e.g anir mouse Scanners Keyboards - large ergonomic ones Mini disc players with large buttons if possible Personal organisers Satellite navigation for walking Provide with footstools and wrist-rests

33 33 Technological Software Voice-activated software such as dragon dictate Text-to-speech software such as texthelp Planning software such as Mind-Manager or Mind Genius Predictive software such as penpal and wordbar Publisher can be great for producing leaflets, newsletters etc if you use the templates Screen ruler to help tracking Training time

34 34 Equipment/Gadgets Use Dycem, for example, to secure objects in the laboratory or when cooking Talking calculators with large keys Special compasses Special scissors e.g giro grips, mini cutters, potato peelers Corrective pens / ink eraser fluid Special pens e.g fat pens - not ball points/ sloping boards Special rulers e.g. with a ridge Wet wipes for cleaning

35 35 Concluding comments Some courses may be especially hard for dyspraxic people - especially those that involve practical skills and/or manual dexterity (e.g. craft work, physics, chemistry). They may also have problems with everyday tasks such as using washing machines. Dyspraxic people are not all the same; some will have most of the symptoms; some only a few. Some will be severe, others mild. In most cases their dyspraxia will overlap with other neuro-diverse conditions especially AD(H)D. Therefore, you need to focus on more than one condition when supporting students with dyspraxia.


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