An Insight Into Dyspraxia

16 June 2005

Despite affecting around 10% of the population, dyspraxia is a relatively unknown condition. Efalex provides an insight into the disorder and has some key advice for parents with dyspraxic children.

Dyspraxia is a neurological condition also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder. Sufferers may find activities such as sport and manual hobbies problematic and often have difficulties with speech, writing and reading. Other common symptoms include poor co-ordination, sense of direction and spatial awareness.

Sue’s ten year old son, Alastair, was diagnosed with dyspraxia when he was seven. Here she tells his story:

“Alastair’s problems first became apparent when he began attending pre-school. He was being asked to sit still for long periods of time and concentrate on reading and writing which isn’t easy for a dyspraxic child.

“Things became worse when he got to school, he couldn’t sit still to write and would bump into people or not move out of the way if someone was coming up behind him. Soon I was told that he was being naughty, I also discovered that he was being bullied by the other children who had picked up on his differences.

“By the second year of school he was not a happy boy and was quickly losing his confidence. He was diagnosed with ADHD and we were advised to put him on Ritalin but we didn’t think he needed it. Eventually we took him to a neurologist for a second opinion and we were told that he had dyspraxia.

“The special needs coordinator at Alastair’s school suggested that fish oil supplements may help his condition. I also began reading research which supported this. The research suggested that nutrition, particularly oily fish which is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, may be of benefit to dyspraxia sufferers.

“Alistair has been taking Efalex, an Omega-3 and Omega-6 fish oil supplement for the past three years. This, combined with ocular and physiotherapy has produced amazing results. There is a noticeable difference in his condition, and we’ve seen a real improvement.”

Dr Jackie Stordy, independent nutrition consultant in her book ‘The LCP Solution – The Remarkable Nutritional Treatment for ADHD, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia’, has lots of practical advice for parents with a dyspraxic child, some of it as follows:

•Consistency counts – Dyspraxic children don’t react well to change. A daily and weekly routine, with set times for meals and going to bed can be helpful

•Patience is key – Parents and teachers need to be aware that it always takes dyspraxic children longer to accomplish tasks. Be patient and make allowances for this. Explain your child’s condition to the teacher in case they don’t understand it

•Dress for success – Dyspraxic children often have difficulty doing things in sequence which can cause problems when it comes to getting dressed. Place clothes in the order that your child will put them on, i.e. underwear first and so on. • Best foot forward - Children with dyspraxia often find it difficult to distinguish between left and right. Make it easier for them to put their shoes on the right feet by marking the inside of their shoes with an L and an R. • Food for thought – Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids play a vital role in brain and eye function, including learning ability, concentration and co-ordination. It is important to maintain an adequate dietary intake of these fatty acids by ensuring that the diet contains 2 -3 servings per week of oily fish such as salmon or mackerel. If this is not possible I recommend the use of suitable supplements to ensure your children are getting an adequate supply. My research with a group of children with dyspraxia found that a regular supply of a DHA-rich supplement Efalex helped to relieve common symptoms of dyspraxia; improving ball skills, balance and fine and gross motor skills.

Efalex provides a mixture of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), arachidonic acid (AA), gamma linolenic acid (GLA), vitamin E and thyme oil. When taking Efalex for the first time the amounts taken should be double the maintenance dose for the first twelve weeks, to restore any deficiency of long chain fatty acids within the body.

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