How can teachers help?
As soon as you are made aware that you are due to have a child with Dyspraxia enter the school, seek advice form the Dyspraxia Foundation and / or attend a training day on the condition. Keep up to date with any advances or developments in the subject, by becoming a member of the Foundation. Converse with other educational personnel, they may have different experiences with Dyspraxia than you.
Allow the child to visit the school several times and give them a plan of its lay out. They can then study this at home to allow them to become familiar with it. It may be an idea to invite the parent on one visit: they may be able to identify problem areas that you may not have been aware of. Give them two timetables as soon as possible, one for their bag and another for their bedroom wall. They can then plan for the next day. This should lease with the previous school, collect reports etc and talk at length to support staff.
- Comparison is disastrous. Never allow a child with Dyspraxia to be compared to an able child. Not by teachers or peers.
- Praise every effort and every small accomplishment. A Dyspraxic child has been used to failure repeatedly: every effort must be made to raise their self-esteem. When they feel better about themselves they are more likely to relax and learn. This is the obvious situation to strive towards.
- Remember that they have difficulty in taking on board information during lessons. Allow them extra time: teach in small bursts, allowing opportunity's to rest, if necessary. You will soon become aware when each child requires a rest. However, this will alter from day to day and from child to child.
- Ensure that the child has understood what is being taught, repeat if needed. Check that they are not falling behind because they cannot copy form the blackboard, for example. (Due to difficulties with repositioning gaze form one object to another)
- Teach on a one to one level, with few distractions, when appropriate. If there is a learning support worker available, allow them to assist the child so they are taught at the same pace along side their peers. Try to avoid removing the child from the lesson as this stigmatises them, although in some circumstances this may prove unavoidable. Tests, for example. Children with Dyspraxia so better in a relaxed environment with one to one support.