Content of Session What is dyspraxia? What impact might dyspraxia have on students? How do we identify dyspraxia in assessment? Support & recommendations
How might it feel to have dyspraxia?
Dyspraxia Definitions DSM-IV (2004) -DCD STEC Dyspraxia in draft
NHS Direct definition of dyspraxia Dyspraxia = difficulty with actions Dyspraxia, also known as developmental co- ordination disorder, is a disability that affects movement and co-ordination. It is thought to be caused by a disruption in the way messages from the brain are transmitted to the body. Dyspraxia is characterised by difficulty in planning smooth, co-ordinated movements.
NHS Direct (continued) This leads to: Clumsiness Lack of co-ordination Problems with language, perception and thought (NHS Direct, 2011).
Additional Difficulties Sequencing movements & actions Organisation and Time Management Multitasking Word finding /articulatory difficulties Time & space perception Turn taking in conversation (not ASD) Self confidence Mental health problems
In adults Motor difficulties often resolve over time Or not- 9 out of 10 children with dyspraxia have difficulties as an adult (NHS Direct 2011) Dyspraxic people may avoid sport … or may become professional dancers
Horrible slow handwriting
Horrible fast handwriting
Iceberg analogy The motor difficulties are just the tip of the iceberg. The underlying cognitive difficulties persist beneath the surface
Co-morbidity Dyspraxia is often found in students who also have: Dyslexia ADHD Specific Language Disorders – receptive or expressive Aspergers syndrome
What impact might dyspraxia have on your students’ academic studies? 1) essay writing 2) exam preparation 3) lecture note making 4) participating in seminars 5) time management 6) general organisation
Case Study 1 Joe -22 year old 3 rd year student of Politics History of underachievement at school Extra help with handwriting in Junior school 1 st time assessment Arrived an hour early so as not to be late
Joe -Academic difficulties Difficulties with: Time management All coursework late Reading takes a long time – he does not know when to stop Planning essays v. difficult – fails to answer the Q Spends more time working than friends Taking lecture notes Contributing in seminars Revision and TM in exams
Case Study 2 Jess -20 year old 2nd year student of Contemporary Dance Problems with maths. Three grade As at A level. First assessment. Brother is severely dyspraxic Experienced difficulties in the first year – self referred
Jess -Academic difficulties Difficulties with: Organisation Always loses papers, documents, things Misses appointments and tutorials Time management Structuring essays ‘impossible’ Misjudges time tasks will take Explaining herself clearly and fluently But recognised as a very able student who produces high class work …eventually
Joe & Jessica….Dyspraxia? or are they just students with …… Inappropriate strategies for his academic work A tendency to procrastinate Studying the wrong subject Not very able Not trying hard enough etc?
Results- literacy & IQ Joe & Jess - above average at reading & spelling Joe - slow handwriting for all tasks Jess – average speed but largely illegible handwriting Joe - superior verbal ability & average to low average performance ability Jess – above average verbal and visual ability
Jess- Specialist teacher report Above average phonological awareness Above average Reading Efficiency Weak information processing speed Weak working memory Weak Rapid Naming
Questionnaire Fine motor skills Gross motor skills Multitasking Organisation & Time management Spatial and temporal difficulties Speech difficulties
Enough evidence for dyspraxia: difficulties with fine and gross motor coordination, organisation, multitasking, spatial & temporal difficulties
A dyspraxic dancer? ….has particular skills and strengths in performing dance. Whilst there is no proven link between specific learning difficulties and creative talents it is clear that many dyslexic and dyspraxic adults have strong skills in these areas. Dyspraxic students who focus on dance or gymnastics and who practise at a very high level can succeed in dramatically improving their coordination skills; however the cognitive characteristics of dyspraxia – difficulties with planning, organisation, temporal and spatial perception - will always remain
Definition? Existing definitions are often too unspecific or too precise We need something that is helpful with a student population - STEC One way to achieve this is to work backwards from the known difficulties
Is it dyspraxia? (1) Rule out neurological conditions that cause the same difficulties e.g. cerebral palsy and minor neurological dysfunction Not just slow or untidy handwriting Need to perform a full Educational Assessment of reading, writing, spelling, general intellectual ability Lots of samples of handwriting- –Copying – visual component –Dictation - multitasking –Free writing- word finding +
Is it dyspraxia (2) Developmental history – triangulate & ask a parent (?) Morrisby Manual Dexterity Test (1998) – test of coordination Beery VMI Dyspraxia questionnaire
What next? Looking at these two examples what recommendations might you make as an identifying assessor? what might be the focus of 1:1 support?
Academic adjustments Mentor Extra time Computer in exams Handouts before lectures Stickers Recording lectures
Specialist 1:1 support Time management of tasks Structuring of tasks Planning of academic writing Verbal presentation skills