Difficulties Experienced by Older Children and Teenagers

Adolescence is a tough time in any child’s life and the difficulty that a child with special needs will encounter can be overwhelming.

Secondary school is a time of extensive changes, educationally, emotionally and physically. The child with Dyspraxia may still be showing immature responses to their peers and they will be under greater pressure now to ‘be cool’ and to respond in a more mature way.

They may even feel that their teachers and parents don’t understand them and have failed them. Their frustration and low self-esteem may now be displayed as disruptive behaviour both at home and school.

Changes

The child with Developmental Co-ordination Disorder difficulties (or DCD) will continue to have problems far beyond the approximate three to four weeks that it will take for children with no special needs to settle in and grasp a basic knowledge of their surroundings and what is required of them. The child with Dyspraxia will remain disorientated, confused and very fearful over a much greater period of time. They will still be getting lost and forgetting homework, teachers names, class locations and where they are supposed to be and when, probably for months to come.

During their time at Primary school they will have had other, younger children below them and they may well have played with these younger children, as they felt more secure in their company rather than their own peers. Their skills may well have matched these younger children’s abilities also.

When a child with Dyspraxia moves up to secondary school it may expose their social weaknesses, as they are now the youngest in the school. Difficulties in keeping up with their peer group will now become more and more obvious and they are at real risk of becoming isolated. Teenage language and chatter is fast, witty and difficult to keep up with. This is the time when the youngster’s friends may well desert them, choosing to remain only in close contact out of school. They may find themselves the victim of bullying, as it becomes obvious that they are different.