My son Peter was diagnosed with Dyspraxia/DCD 2.5 years ago. Following his diagnosis, it was a relief to have a label to what we were witnessing in our home and at school for years. While he has some minor difficulties with motor skills, his greatest challenges come with organization, planning, concentration and memory.

When did you become aware that there was something unique about your child? What did you notice?

Our first real awareness was when we took him to nursery school when he was 3 years old. Compared to the other children, Peter had a difficult time going down stairs. While others would go one at a time, he would take each step with both feet. He was more inclined to play with quieter kids and he did not like puzzles at all. His letters were very misshapen compared to others and his writing was very messy and disorganized. Instead of being glad to go home, he would have temper tantrums and cry which years later we would learn are from sensory overload and intense anxiety from being at school.

How did you address any challenges your child was having at home, school, or work (include any therapies received, if you’re comfortable sharing)?

Peter was not diagnosed until 4th grade so our at home strategies were basically survival mode tactics. We'd help him with his homework as best as we could for school and at home, we would play games that he came up with or toys that he would choose to play with so he'd guide the play time.

If his sister tried to change anything it would make him very upset. With the help of several therapists, we have come a long way with him trying to have more flexible thinking and comfort with variation.

Which therapies/approaches were most effective?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and medication to help with his anxiety.

What coping strategies do you find most helpful in your daily life?

We use a lot of lists to help remind Peter (and us) about what will come next. We have a calendar right in our kitchen so that any appointments or special days at school can be seen and allow for Peter to know his schedule. We also allow Peter to go and use his swing when he feels overwhelmed and he gets to listen to music on his phone when he is feeling most stressed.

What would you like others to understand about Dyspraxia/DCD?

Dyspraxia/DCD is all encompassing to the person's ability to function and takes an immense amount of energy to perform what some may call minor, everyday things. Also, I’d like others to understand that hidden disabilities can sometimes be harder to receive therapy for because those with Dyspraxia/DCD appear to be "just fine" or have "no issues", when in reality things are quite difficult.

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