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Perceptual Problems

10) Dyspraxia video

Dyspraxia is the reduced ability to coordinate, perform, plan or carry out specific movements even when there is no paralysis. It affects the persons ability to do normal activities such as dressing or kitchen tasks. For example the person may recognise all the individual items of clothing but be unable to put them on in the right order. This film shows a person with Dyspraxia

Video running time: 06.47 minutes. The film may take time to download depending on your broadband speed.
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In this film we will see some of the difficulties which a person may have after a stroke if they have dyspraxia. Dyspraxia is a perceptual problem and it is the reduced ability to coordinate, perform, plan or carry out specific movements even when there is no paralysis. If a person has dyspraxia, they may appear to be very clumsy.

See how Greg has difficulty with the plug and the electric socket. He also has a problem putting the kettle on its stand. It is clear that he knows what he should be doing but at times he seems hesitant. For example, when he is choosing the spoon from the drawer. He has to look and feel each piece of cutlery before he chooses the spoon.

A way to help him would be to organise the cutlery drawer into sections like this so that it would be easier for him to pick the correct cutlery. This also applies to kitchen cupboards or drawers. De- clutter and add simple labels to the cupboards to make finding items easier.

Planning and sequencing tasks is difficult for a person with dyspraxia. Now Greg is trying to work out what should come next in this task. He hesitates again when he gets the coffee on the spoon. He makes a mistake with the sugar which he puts into the milk jug at first.
Some people with dyspraxia will repeat the same action several times, over and over again. This is called perseveration.
Greg is not sure he has done the right thing so he checks the cup and the spoon again and again. Notice how he looks a little awkward when he is spooning the sugar into the cup. This is also a feature of dyspraxia. Movements are either over exaggerated or appear slightly odd.
He hesitates again before choosing the milk jug. He spills the milk and this is also common if the person has difficulty controlling movements. They may seem messy or clumsy. He stirs the milk instead of the coffee but he works out the mistake for himself.

Tips to help someone with dyspraxia.

  • De-clutter.
  • Avoid distractions. (when the person is trying to concentrate on a task.)
  • Give a prompt. ( for example,” look for the milk jug.”)
  • Keep all items together. (for example in this task the cup, kettle, coffee, milk and sugar where all ready to use on the worktop.)
  • Simplify tasks. ( for example the kettle could have been left plugged in to the wall socket.)
  • Be patient. ( allow the person to attempt tasks for themselves.)
  • Give extra time for tasks.
  • Make a simple list.
  • Be aware of safety. ( the person with dyspraxia may not be as aware of safety.)
  • Encourage practice. ( this way the person can improve, once they have mastered one part of a task, add another stage and so on.)

Examples of Dyspraxia in daily life

  • Some tasks can be done automatically one time but be impossible on another occasion when asked to do the same task.
  • The person may be able to tell you exactly the recipe for a family favorite meal but not be able to perform all the sequence of tasks to be able to make it. The ideas are intact but the ability to perform the task is not.
  • In some forms of dyspraxia the movements are all possible but the idea to plan and sequence doing the task has been lost.
  • Hand and eye coordination can be affected.
  • The person may get mixed up with left and right.

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