Dyspraxia is a pathology of the organisation and automation of learned movement: tying a shoelace, eating with cutlery, cycling, writing correctly…
The dyspraxic child is a slow and clumsy child who knocks over or breaks everything he or she touches, who needs help to get dressed, who has a lot of difficulty writing, cannot eat cleanly, and has a lot of difficulty organising him or herself.
This is therefore a child who is not capable of stocking up routine movements and who will find him or herself in difficulty when faced with everyday, banal gestures. Performing these actions more or less well necessarily requires a very strong mobilisation of his or her attention, which entails a high degree of fatigability.
However, the child’s intelligence, verbal memory and communication abilities are not at all affected.
Dyspraxia can present itself in many forms, with difficulties concerning:
- assembly-based activities (Lego, Mecano, jigsaws)
- the use and manipulation of objects and tools (using a screwdriver)
- the realisation of symbolic gestures or actions miming the real use of an object (pretending to play the piano, waving goodbye…)
- the correct positioning or orientation of clothes when dressing
- the realisation of actions concerning phonation and the face (whistling, making a face)
The most obvious disorder which is always present is dysgraphia: the realisation of the writing action (calligraphy) is strongly affected, very often rending writing indecipherable or at least difficult to understand.
Furthermore, most of the time, dyspraxia is accompanied by a visuospatial disorder: clumsiness of gesture is associated with a difficulty organising the gaze and structuring space.
The child encounters a lot of difficulty numbering a set of elements without making a mistake, jumps words or lines during reading, has difficulty situating the various elements of a schema or a geometric figure in relation to each other, struggles to identify right and left.
These disorders of spatial organisation and gaze are at the root of a dyscalculia, while logical reasoning is preserved.
The Tomatis method, associated with the work of a psychomotrician or an occupational therapist, can considerably improve the symptoms which the dyspraxic child suffers from by activating circuits which make the vestibule intervene in association with the cerebellum.