I feel it is important to explain what Dypraxia and learning disabilities are before explaining the difficulties of parenting these children . Dyspraxia is a disorder that affects motor skill development. People with dyspraxia have trouble planning and completing fine motor tasks. This can vary from simple motor tasks such as waving goodbye to more complex tasks like brushing teeth. It is estimated that dyspraxia affects at least two percent of the general population, and 70% of those affected are male. As many as six percent of all children show some signs of dyspraxia. (www.ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/dyspraxia/what-is-dyspraxia) Learning disabilities are defined as problems that affect the brain's ability to receive, process, analyze, or store information. These problems can make it difficult for a student to learn as quickly as someone who isn't affected by learning disabilities. Nearly 4 million school-age kids and teens have learning disabilities, and at least 20% of them have a type of disorder that makes it difficult to focus. (http://kidshealth.org/teen/diseases_conditions/learning/learning_disabilities.html)
Parenting children with mulitple diabilities
When parents receive the news that their child or children have a developmental disability like Dyspraxia and then find out that they also have added learning disabilities it can be very over whelming. The best course of action I feel is doing as much research possible so you can learn about the diagnosis plus treatments. This philosophy helped me understand my children's needs so I could give them the best help possible. I am a mother of three children and two of them have been diagnosed Dyspraxia with added learning disabilities. Through my research I have learned that Dyspraxia and learning disabilities can range from mild to severe even within the same family like mine. I am pleased that my children's Dyspraxia is on milder side of the spectrum since they are verbal and can walk. However my daughter's Dyspraxia is more cumbersome then my sons because it affects both her gross and fine motor skills, whereas my son only has issues with his fine motor skills. Her other learning disabilities are low Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), Expressive / Receptive Language Disorder (ELD), Academic learning disorder, Nystagmus and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) which is caused by a chromosome abnormality. My son on the other the hand has SID, Dyslexia and ADHD that isn't caused by a chromosome abnormality. Furthermore his issues do not affect his daily living like it does my daughter.
As I mentioned earlier I have three children and two of them have been diagnosed with Dyspraxia with added learning disabilities but the verdict is still out on my third child since he is only four years old and hasn't exhibited any symptoms like the older two have. However I am keeping a close eye on him just to make sure. Since he is doing fine I feel that my time should be spent on my older two, age ten and eight. My goal is to ensure that they get the proper services both privately and in school. My ten year old son only has issues with his fine motor skills like tying his shoes, writing, opening jars and peeling bananas. Since those tasks are difficult for him we came up with clever ways of getting around them. For example his shoes either have Velcro or he ties them once then slips them on and off, instead of peeling the banana he just cuts off the end, I scribe for his homework and Daddy opens the jars. Then for his SID and ADHD he gets a lot of time outside running, jumping, swinging and bike riding, plus he does karate 3 to 4 times a week. By doing this it allows him to expend his energy and not get in as much trouble. His Dyslexia is helped by constant reading, currently he reads a new book every week. When you are Dyslexic if you dont constantly read you will forget how to pronounce the words. However my eight year old requires more attention due the fact that her Dyspraxia affects both her gross and fine motor skills plus her thinking skills are limited from a low IQ. We have to help her get dressed, use the bathroom, comb her hair and take a shower etc. The way we help her is by schedules in picture form. We have a step schedules for everything so she can remember what sequence to do each task in and thus gaining better self esteem. The schedules are useful for all of her learning disabilities because it gives her visual reminder on how her body moves. Plus the visual cues teach her the daily living skills that are essential for when she gets older. I have noticed that when a child has both motor planning issues and a low IQ visual learning is the best. To her SID, ADHD, ELD and Nystagmus we also have her play outside and she gets Occupational Therapy/Physical Therapy, Speech therapy, Medication for ADHD and karate 2 times a week. For her academic delays she gets special one on one help at school and from Mom or Dad. These strategies help both kids stay mobile, burn their energy while learning. Even my little one whose 4 does karate 1 time a week since he wants to be like his brother and sister.
You may ask how I stay sane with everything going on with my children so my answer is, I trust in God and look at the glass as always half full. I always remind myself that things happen for a reason and it could be worse. With that type of philosophy I am able to keep going knowing things will get better.
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