Tying laces, eating, writing, or doing your hair are activities that for most people can be easy and automatic. However, most of these activities involve a different set of actions and movements that we have to learn to coordinate.
But some people have serious difficulty doing this from childhood, not developing this ability. These are people who suffer from dyspraxia.
Dyspraxia: definition of the concept
Dyspraxia or developmental coordination disorder It is one of the disorders of neurodevelopment, in which children who suffer from it have great difficulty in performing coordinated activities and movements, involving simple gestures or actions that involve sequencing of movements.
The most obvious symptoms are the presence of clumsiness, incoordination and slowness motor, interfering with the normal life and development of the subject. It is common to have difficulty in postural maintenance and when performing acts that require fine mobility, needing help to perform basic actions.
too much immature behaviors and social difficulties may appear. It is not uncommon for there to be communication problems. However, these alterations have nothing to do with the existence of a mental handicap, giving those who suffer from dyspraxia a normal intelligence.
Unlike apraxia, in which previously acquired faculties are lost, dyspraxia is characterized because the subject has failed to develop the ability to correctly sequence their movements. It is common for the first symptoms to be noticeable during the first two years of age. being common that they present / display delays in the development of motor skills and take longer than usual to achieve some of the development goals.
Although it occurs during childhood, it is also seen in adults, and it is important to start treatment as early as possible to reduce social stigma and possible long-term developmental consequences. There is usually a comorbidity with other disorders, such as other motor problems or with ADHD.
Types of dyspraxia
As with apraxia, there are different types of dyspraxia depending on the type of in which part of the movement process or the body the difficulty occurs. Four types stand out in particular.
1. Ideal dyspraxia
This type of dyspraxia is characterized by the fact that the problem is not only at the motor level, but that the subject presents difficulty planning the sequence of movements at the idea level necessary to perform a specific action.
2. Ideomotor dyspraxia
In ideomotor dyspraxia, the main difficulty is to follow the chain of movements necessary to perform a simple action. The difficulty occurs only at the motor level, being able to the subject perform the action correctly in the imagination. Often the difficulty is related to the use of an instrument or object.
3. Constructive dyspraxia
It is a type of dyspraxia in which the patient has difficulty understanding and acting on spatial relationships. For example, a child with this problem will have difficulty performing one copy an image or when organizing.
4. Oromotor dyspraxia or verbal apraxia
In this type of dyspraxia, the subject has difficulty coordinating the movements necessary to communicate orally, although they know what it means. It is difficult to produce intelligible sounds.
Causes of dyspraxia
The causes of the onset of dyspraxia are not fully known, but it is suspected that they are due to alterations throughout neurological development that cause areas of the brain related to the integration of motor information and its sequencing do not ripen properly. These brain areas are located behind the frontal lobes and around Rolando’s slot.
It is usually due to innate causes, but can be caused by injuries, illnesses and trauma during childhood.
Treatment and therapeutic strategies
Dyspraxia is a disorder that has no cure, although it is possible to use different strategies to improve the adaptation of affected people to the environment and teach them to perform different actions. The treatment of dyspraxia is multidisciplinary, Taking into account both the clinic and especially psychoeducation.
Strategies such as occupational therapy are often used to help these children to stimulate the subject and develop their ability to move. Another element to highlight is physiotherapy.
Speech therapy is also often essential in order to educate the child and allow him to develop the necessary coordination to be able to pronounce the words correctly. At the educational level, it may be necessary to establish individualized plans which take into account the child’s difficulties.
The use of expressive therapies or techniques to encourage a child’s self-esteem, which may be lowered by the perception of their difficulties, can also be very helpful. Social skills training it also facilitates a correct link with the environment. Psychoeducation both for them and for the environment can be very useful in facilitating the normative development of the subject and the understanding of the difficulties existing in him.