The Dyspraxic Learner Strategies for Success By Alison Patrick
Written on 9th Jul 2015 by Sylvia Lowery
This book is a comprehensive manual for teachers, parents, SENCOS, and professionals who are looking for advice on how to support the student with dyspraxia. I found this book easy to read and informative and was left with a much better understanding of dyspraxia. I was surprised at the number of crossovers with autism and Elhers Danlos Syndrome which are conditions that affect some of my children. As a home educator I feel this book is invaluable if you have children who struggle educationally.
Alison Patrick is teacher who has supported students with dyspraxia for a number of years, one of the messages of the book that stood out to me was the very strong message that students very rarely fall into a neat category for a diagnosis. There is a very helpful chart that shows the overlap in neurodiversity. I found this very helpful because it resonated with my personal experience. The author explains some of the subtle differences between dyspraxia, dyslexia, ADD and autism,
I found the section of the book that explains the different way a person with dyspraxia processes information and the way the mixed left and right hand dominance influences this enlightening. I was particularly impressed with the way in which the author covered the strengths and weaknesses that often accompany a diagnosis of dyspraxia. It is important to realise that a person with neurodiversity often has strong abilities that are advantageous.
Here is a list of the strengths
1. Verbal intelligence
2. Attention to detail
3. Lateral thinking
4. Holistic thinking.
5. Strategic thinking.
6. Holistic thinking.
7. Conceptual thinking.
Alison Patrick rightly suggests that the student who has dyspraxia is made aware of their strengths and is helped to view themselves in a positive light. I feel this advice should be applied to all students particularly those who have autism. It is so easy to focus on the negatives which can make a student who struggles on a daily basis feel very negative about themselves. Furthermore recognition of the difficulties experienced by students with dyspraxia can help the student to understand that they are not ‘stupid’ but just have difficulties in certain areas. I suspect I may have some dyspraxia and as a young person I always felt that I was stupid, clumsy and disorganised. A recognition of my difficulties may have helped me to accept who I was sooner in life. I would have benefited from strategies to help me to organise my life.
I was struck by how much of an overlap there was between dyspraxia and some of Alex’s difficulties. He ticked every box in the memory deficit list, he also had the sensory issues and the splinter skills. Alex has a diagnosis of autism but the similarities demonstrate how difficult it is to unpick and deliver a diagnosis.
I was interested to read that the author suggested that there is a strong link between dyspraxia and joint hypermobility. I was aware of this link because my daughter has Elhers Danlos Syndrome and Professor Graham had alluded to the link in a book he contributed to ‘Hypermobility, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain‘. The author gave advice on managing the work environment, the use of tools for handwriting difficulties and the increased risk of arthritis and pain later in life. Having watched my own child develop chronic pain and injuries because of her hypermobility, I am pleased to find that the author is covering these issues. Hopefully children may be given the support they need at an early age to prevent these difficulties from occurring.
There is a lot more that could be said about this book but the best suggestion is that you get the book for yourself. You can get it from Amazon here.
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