Brain & Nervous System - Co-ordination Difficulties

Brain & Nervous System

What do you mean by co-ordination difficulties?

CoordinationDyspraxia is a term often used to describe all children who have difficulties with their coordination. Other terms include Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD), Perceptual-motor Dysfunction and Clumsy Child Syndrome. Technically there are differences between these labels, but they tend to be used interchangeably.

Not all children with poor coordination have dyspraxia. Sometimes, children simply need to work on muscle strength or imbalance and practice certain skills. Other children require ongoing support.

What should I look for?

Gross Motor Skills
  • Your child may have been delayed in reaching their developmental milestones such as sitting, crawling, standing and walking
  • Difficulty keeping up with their peer group in PE / games lessons
  • Poor balance and a difficulty standing on one leg, hopping or jumping
  • Difficulty with ball activities such as throwing, catching, kicking
  • A dislike of or difficulty with PE lessons
  • An inability or difficulty riding a bicycle
  • Often bumping into people or falling or tripping
  • An inability to sit still
Other Difficulties
  • Difficulty using a knife and fork or a messy eater
  • Difficulty organising dressing and undressing, often putting clothes on back-to-front
  • Immature writing and drawing ability, delay in developing hand dominance
  • Difficulty carrying out instructions
  • Difficulty with organising themselves
  • Poor concentration and easily distracted
  • They may be disruptive in class
  • They may appear to not try or make an effort with tasks
Sensory Problems

Children who struggle with their balance and coordination often have difficulty taking in, organising and processing sensory information from the environment. This is known as Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID) or Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Examples of signs of SPD are:

  • Over or under sensitive to sensory stimulation: touch, movement, sights, or sounds
  • An activity level that is unusually high or unusually low
  • Poor organisation of behaviour (impulsive, distractible, frustrated, aggressive)
  • Poor self-concept (may appear lazy, bored, or unmotivated)

How can KidsPhysio help?

Physiotherapy can help children improve their gross motor skills, by helping them to strengthen weak muscles, learn patterns of movement and integrate their sensory system. Although dyspraxia is not curable, research has shown that physiotherapy treatment has a positive effect on gross motor skills, fine motor skills and dexterity, activities of daily living and self-confidence.

Your KidsPhysio Physiotherapist will assess your child’s abilities and difficulties and discuss your and your child’s concerns before planning a treatment programme. The physiotherapy plan may include:

  • Exercises and games to strengthen weak muscles, especially core muscles
  • Exercises and games to stretch out tight muscles and joints
  • Specific balance retraining
  • Practicing skills, such as ball activities
  • Advice regarding participation in PE and other sporting activities
  • Practical support regarding behavioural difficulties
  • Activities and advice to address sensory processing problems
  • Advice to teachers on managing your child’s difficulties within the school day
  • Liaison with and referral to other health professionals such as Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists
  • Provision of a home activity programme

Unfortunately, NHS waiting lists can be very long for children with dyspraxia and other problems with their co-ordination. KidsPhysio can provide treatment whilst waiting for an NHS Physiotherapy appointment. We are able to provide flexibility with appointments offering after school and school holiday sessions.