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Common Warning Signs of Dyspraxia in Children Pre-K to Grade 2

Dyspraxia Warning Signs in ChildrenDoes your young child have poor motor skills, even when doing something as simple as brushing teeth? Does it seem like your child knows what words to use but can’t get the right “mouth muscles” to cooperate when speaking? Does your child tend to bump into things or people or have a weak hand grip when grabbing objects? Dyspraxia is a disorder that affects motor skill development, strength and coordination—and may be the reason behind your child’s difficulties. While dyspraxia is not a learning disability (LD), many children with LD also show signs of dyspraxia.

Many children show lags in development from time to time, but disorders such as dyspraxia don’t come and go; they’re consistent. Dyspraxia is usually identified in school-age children, but early signs of the disorder can often be detected in preschoolers as well.

If you’re concerned about your child, look over the following list of common warning signs of dyspraxia in children in Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 2. Know that some of the “symptoms” listed below are also found with some learning disabilities and/or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which often co-exist with dyspraxia, so you may want to use our more comprehensive Interactive Learning Disabilities Checklist tool to clarify your concerns.

For At Least the Past Six Months, My Child Has Had Trouble

Gross (Large) Motor Skills

  • Holding objects without dropping them.
  • Navigating physical space; he often bumps into people and things.
  • Keeping his balance when moving about.
  • Learning to walk, jump and skip.
  • Games and activities that requires good hand-eye coordination

Fine (Small) Motor Skills

  • Simple tasks, such as combing hair or waving goodbye.
  • Grasping and writing/drawing with pencils and crayons.
  • Working buttons, snaps and zippers.
  • Learning how to tie shoes.

Speech

  • Modulating his voice (volume, speed and pitch).
  • Getting his mouth muscles and tongue to “work right” when saying certain words.

Memory and Focus

  • Remembering and carrying out multi-step tasks, such as making a bed.

Spatial Relationships:

  • Accurately positioning or moving objects from one place to another, such as pieces on a game board or puzzle pieces.

Social-Emotional

  • Maintaining healthy self-esteem.
  • Feeling confident when performing tasks, playing sports and speaking properly.
  • Engaging in normal play and interaction with children and adults.

Other

  • Establishing left- or right-handedness.
  • Is easily irritated by touch, such as tags inside clothing, hair brushing, etc.

If your child displays several of these warning signs, don't hesitate to seek help. Make an appointment to with your child’s pediatrician and bring along a copy of this article with checkmarks next to items that apply to your child. The sooner a child’s disability is identified and addressed, the better the results will be. Even though some children “outgrow” the symptoms of dyspraxia as they gain physical strength and have opportunities to explore their environments (in school, at home and in the community), there are many targeted practices and exercises as well as formal therapeutic activities that can lead to positive outcome.

Additional Resources

Tags: preK-grade2