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Children with dyspraxia: advice for traveling by car

Children with dyspraxia: Advice for traveling by car


Dyspraxia is a psychomotor alteration which presents from early childhood and is associated with clumsiness, or more accurately, it leads to slowness and difficulty in coordinating what are seemingly simple movements. Nevertheless, these difficulties are usually most apparent when attempting movements that require the coordination of various muscle groups: writing, tying shoelaces, cleaning teeth or doing sports.

Dyspraxia is also known as a Developmental coordination disorder, or DCD. Its cause is unknown and these children's motor skills do not develop as they should. This disorder is associated with delayed motor development and, in addition to the difficulties mentioned above, these children may also have problems anticipating, organising and carrying out their movements.

The child may have very specific motor difficulties (for example, when writing, or problems with fine motor skills, which refers to small muscle movement coordination). The child may also be affected in other areas such as coordination and balance. There are a number of things that can alert us to the fact that a child is suffering from dyspraxia and that we should take them to a specialist:

  • The child drops everything and bangs into furniture and their general surroundings.
  • Games prove particularly difficult to master: playing ball and catching it with both hands, riding a tricycle...
  • It is difficult for the child to position themselves out of the path of the ball, for example, in a game of dodgeball.
  • Using scissors or knives and forks, cleaning their teeth and other activities which need both sides of the body is very difficult for the child.
  • Poor balance and postural control.
  • Obvious difficulties with writing.

What precautions or measures should we take when traveling by car?

Given that dyspraxia is a psychomotor disorder, rather than considering any special measures for these children, we should be thinking about their comfort. Children with dyspraxia usually have a poor concept of themselves and their physical capabilities, therefore we should help them to feel secure and be encouraging. We should be working with them to help them recognize their strengths, their weaknesses and their limitations.

We need to be helping the child in their movements and daily actions. Dyspraxia is usually diagnosed around the age of 7 or 8, although it would be better to do so before they are 3 years old, and therefore it is not usually found in the earliest developmental ages. Therefore, they are likely to be children traveling in child car seats in group 3 or with boosters and they are well aware of the use of this CRS.

Therefore, the best strategy would be toensure the child is aware of the need to use the child car seat and the importance of sitting in it properly and knows how to fasten and unfasten the seat belt. Let the child know that in any unforeseen event we will be with them and that they should stay calm and not hesitate to ask for help if they find themselves in difficulties.

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