Strategies for Dyspraxia

If you'd like a plan that's designed around your particular difficulties, please do get in contact

1. If you have a problem with handwriting

Problems with handwriting can include the following

  • Persistent upper lower case confusion
  • Difficulty forming cursive writing
  • Letters run off the line
  • Paper is indented by the pressure applied by the pen

These occur because hand muscles may be weak and therefore the pen is held with a vice-like grip in order to control the pen's movement.

Other areas of the body can have tension and body imbalance can occur in the shoulders and neck, causing headaches.

Strategies to help with poor handwriting

  1. Putting sponges to soften the group on the pen
  2. Have pens that are weighted more to the nib
  3. Pens that are higher off the page in order to be up to see what you writing
  4. Gel ink can be very helpful for some
  5. A traditional fountain pen enables the person to feel the nib scratching the surface of the paper
  6. Exercises that help balance the body and relieve stress in the shoulders and neck
  7. Exercises to build up the muscles in the fingers and hand
  8. Write with music playing
     

2. If you need help with time planning and organisation

These are some of the things that might be happening

  • Always late for meetings, work, school pickup
  • Frustrated friends and unhappy colleagues or tutors as deadlines are missed and excuses mount
  • Very stressful and often self blame

Strategies for mastering your time and improving your organisation

  1. Time how long a journey takes
  2. Allow time to leave the house
  3. Take something to do when you arrive early
  4. Don’t be addicted to the rush of an adrenaline-fuelled life. It’s exhausting
  5. Pack your bags the night before
  6. Visualise your next day/week in order to remember what you need
  7. Try not to squeeze to in too much into a day
  8. Use Stella Cottrell study skills 24-hour planner to see where time goes in your day.
  9. Stay on topic until that has been finished

Very late for appointments Real sense of time what is doable within that time respectful self less apologising had more energy, and felt in control

Using these strategies with a someone with Dyspraxia can expect the following

They were no longer late for appointments
Now has a real sense of time what is doable within certain periods of time
Respectful
Self less apologising
Had more energy
Feel more in control

 

3. What to do if words appear to be moving on a written page

This is called Meares-Irlen Syndrome/Visual Stress and can result in the following

  • Words shimmer or move
  • See rivers of white on the page between the black blocks of words
  • Fatigues quickly when reading
  • Headaches which are an indicator of visual stress

Strategies to help with Meares-Irlen Syndrome -  the facilitated use of colour overlays

1. Colour overlays can be really helpful to ease reading difficulties.

My role would be to assess the colour and strategy needed for each particular student.

2. The use of colour overlays is a very helpful stepping stone for a struggling reader, changing ‘I can’t’ to ‘I'll have another go’.

It is so very important, if someone is trying again, that there is a change or improvement otherwise the difficulty is compounded and often students will blame themselves for the lack of improvement.

I have helped many students improve their reading using colour overlays

Their headaches have eased
Full attention can then be given to reading the words that are now still
Often after some they may no longer need their colour overlays as they have developed the skills needed to read without them

4. If you have difficulty pronouncing words and/or managing social situations

Syllables like "millennium" can be very difficult to blend, asking the motor memory and mouth movements to coincide to pronounce the word.  This difficulty with speech can 

  • Be embarrassing and cause people to be restrained in the words they choose 
  • Make it a struggle to join a conversation. They are not sure when to jump in
  • Result in the "spotlight effect", when the attention turns to you, often words will evaporate leaving an awkward silence

Strategies I've used to help with difficulties speaking and mixing in social situations

  1. A Karaoke machine can help with timing and blending words in a fun situation especially if I start the singing
  2. Drawing words whilst saying them
  3. Watching conversations either at home or on TV. A soap opera can teach a lot about timing and help with social cues
  4. Practice some classic conversation openers to fill those awkward silences