Dyspraxia in Kids: Symptoms, Treatments and Foods that help

Did you notice a delay in your child’s ability to sit up, walk, or eat themselves? Does your child find it difficult to hold pencils or crayons? Did your child frequently trip over things or fall? Does your child struggle to learn new skills? If yes, this could be some common signs of dyspraxia. Movement and hand-eye coordination issues can be brought on by dyspraxia. Let’s dive deeper into it to understand more about the causes, symptoms, treatments and foods to manage dyspraxia in children.

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What is Dyspraxia?

Developmental coordination disorder (DCD), commonly referred to as dyspraxia, is a lifelong disability that affects fine and gross motor (movement) skills and hand-eye coordination (balance). Children with dyspraxia can take longer to meet developmental milestones. Some of these might be apparent at a young age, while others might not be apparent until your child reaches adulthood. Due to their lack of coordination, children with dyspraxia may find it challenging to play sports or ride a bike. It can also be called clumsy child syndrome as they have trouble speaking clearly and look clumsy. Language issues are a common symptom of dyspraxia, and occasionally cognitive and perceptual issues as well.

Also check, Dyslexia in Kids

Symptoms of dyspraxia

The symptoms of dyspraxia might vary with respect to age. Not every person will experience all of the symptoms listed below:

Early childhood

Experience developmental delays in sitting, crawling, walking, standing or speaking.

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Toddlers and Preschoolers
  • Kids might face difficulties in doing personal care things like not being able to tie shoelaces or unable to dress up themselves.
  • They find it challenging to pick up tiny items which require a lot of time and effort.
  • Poor hand-eye coordination.
  • They may struggle to hold the object in their hand (does not have a firm grasp when holding a pencil)
  • Have trouble using both hands at once.
  • A greater tendency to stumble into things, trip, and drop items.
  • Having trouble learning new skills
  • Maintaining friendships is difficult.

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School aged kids:
  • Disorganised or messy
  • They try to stay away from sports
  • Spend long time to write something down
  • Does not adhere to directions.
  • Unable to recall instructions.
  • Sensitive to temperature, sound, light.

Also check, Techniques to improve fine motor skills

Causes of dyspraxia

Scientists are unsure about the root cause of dyspraxia. According to experts, a person with dyspraxia may have under-developed motor neuron cells that help to regulate muscles and nerve signals. If motor neurons are unable to link properly, the brain will process the information significantly more slowly which leads to delay in motor skills. Here are some of the possible causes of dyspraxia

  • Babies that are born prematurely, especially those with very low birth weights, appear to be more likely to have dyspraxia.
  • Genetics

Also check, Oral motor exercises for kids

Dyspraxia and autism

Sometimes, dyspraxia symptoms coexist with autism and vice versa. Although the two disorders can have symptoms, they are still regarded as different disorders. Here are some similarities and differences between dyspraxia and autism:

Similarities
  • Certain autistic and dyspraxic individuals have distinctive speech patterns. Speech apraxia is the term used to describe this in dyspraxia.
  • Struggle to manage the loudness and pitch of the voice.
  • Sensitive to certain temperatures, lights, and sounds
  • Difficulty focusing which can coexist with other learning disabilities like dyslexia.
  • Both experience social anxiety

Also check, Oppositional defiant disorder in Children

Differences

Autism is a complex condition which is indicated by facing challenges in interpersonal and communication skills, sensory sensitivities, obsessive and rigid behaviours but dyspraxia impacts the motor skills and hand-eye coordination which is not observed in children with autism.

Also check, OCD in Kids

Treatment for dyspraxia

Dyspraxia is not curable. But, with proper therapies we can manage the symptoms of dyspraxia and improve certain skills. Several aspects will alter the therapy strategy. The severity of the symptoms can be taken into account before treatment.

1.Occupational Therapy (OT)

This type of treatment helps children learn life skills such as eating and dressing themselves, bathing, and understanding how to interact with others. The skills they learn are helpful to them live as independently as possible.

Also check, Social emotional developmental milestones

2. Applied behavior analysis (ABA)

ABA is frequently used in clinics and educational settings to teach your child appropriate behaviours and lessen inappropriate ones. It can support your child’s social growth, teach them practical life skills, and reroute potentially dangerous behaviours like self-injury. ABA also imparts useful skills and applies it to new circumstances.

Also check, Benefits of behavioural therapies

3. Speech therapy

Speech therapy is a crucial therapeutic choice for children with dyspraxia since they struggle with social communication. It improves an individual’s communication abilities with a certified speech-language pathologist, enabling them to express their needs and wishes more clearly. When speech-language pathologists collaborate with teachers, support staff, families, and the child’s classmates to encourage functional communication in natural contexts.

Also check, Speech therapy fun exercises

4. Physical therapy (PT)

Physical therapy increases a person’s capacity to engage in daily activities, much as occupational therapy. It improves gross motor skills and sensory integration problems, particularly those involving the patient’s capacity to feel and be aware of his body in space. PT aims to teach and enhance abilities like sitting, walking, coordination, and balance. It is most successful by including physical therapy along with occupational therapy in an early intervention programme.

Also check, Cognitive behavioural therapy

5. Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy focuses on assisting kids by having conversations with them individually regarding how to express emotions and manage their anger. It might enhance the kid’s self-worth and it can also help them to become skilled.

Also check, Gut and brain connection in autism

Foods that help to manage the symptoms of dyspraxia

Adding foods that support brain development can help to improve motor skills and hand-eye coordination in kids. The types of foods that effectively impact motor skills and coordination include:

1. NUTS

All the nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashew, peanuts and hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E and vitamin B6. They help to improve the motor skills and coordination in kids. They are also antioxidants which protect against cell damage. Walnuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and are a valuable substance for brain function, memory and thinking abilities. This fatty acid also encourages cognitive functions.

Also check, Best nuts and seeds for protein.

2. SEEDS

Seeds like flax, chia, melon, sesame and pumpkins also contain powerful antioxidants like vitamin E that protect the brain from free radical damage. Sunflower seeds impact overall mood and mental processing powers and therefore it is considered a brain boosting snack. Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, copper, and also higher in zinc than other seeds. They also help in increasing concentration and memory. Healthy brain can effectively help in improving motor skills and coordination.

Also check, Health benefits of pumpkin seeds.

3. ASHWAGANDHA

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen. It can help in reducing anxiety and stress. Moreover, it increases acetylcholine levels which support better memory, mental focus and intelligence. Ashwagandha also improves communication between nerve cells and stimulates the body’s capacity to heal any nervous system damage. For general nourishment and renewal, ashwagandha is typically eaten with ghee and honey (in equal parts), which serve as anupans (a medium for delivering herbs deeper into the tissues).

Also check, Health benefits of Ashwagandha.

4. BRAHMI

Brahmi is a superfood for the brain. It helps in sharpening the brain by protecting cells and also increases the chemicals associated with learning and memory. It has shown to improve spatial learning and retaining power in kids. Kids in the older times, were often given Brahmi powder with ghee/honey. This would increase their focus and attention while keeping them calm and distressed. The most notable advantage of brahmi is that it enhances cognitive abilities and also stimulates the mind to increase focus and memory. Bacopa, taken twice daily at a dose of 300 mg, was found to improve test results related to cognitive function after six weeks of regular treatment.

Also check, Benefits of brahmi for brain development

5. SHANKHAPUSHPI

Shankhapushpi is a traditional remedy for increasing the functioning of the brain. The powerful antioxidants and also the flavonoids present in it improve the memory capacity, focus, concentration, calmness and alertness of an individual. Because it is a brain tonic and stimulator, people taking shankhapushpi have improved memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and other cognitive abilities.

Also check, Herbs that help to get rid of brain fog.

6. COCOA POWDER

Pure cocoa powder (unsweetened) contains brain boosting components as it is packed with a large number of antioxidants molecules, the main is epicatechin helpful to improve cognition and speech impairment in studies. Hence cocoa powder is also an important brain development food for children. This may significantly help out in easily building up the motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Also check, More benefits of cocoa powder.


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