The Dyspraxia Foundation teams up with local Rotary Club to distribute specialist book to promote awareness of the condition
Hitchin-based charity, the Dyspraxia Foundation is delighted to announce that over 200 schools in the Hertfordshire area will be receiving a free, educational resource for the start of next term!
The delightfully fun yet touching and insightful book, “You’re so clumsy, Charley” (written by Jane Binnion – an author who herself has been diagnosed with dyspraxia) will be mailed out to 225 primary schools thanks to a grant from Hitchin Tilehouse Rotary Club, with a further £1,000 matched funding from the District Rotary Foundation.
The cartoon-style book – which follows the daily challenges of Charley, young boy with dyspraxia – has been developed for children in Year 1 and 2 (ages 5 – 7) and the Dyspraxia Foundation advises that a copy is kept by the school’s SENCo (Specialist Educational Needs Co-ordinator). As well as reading it together as a class, teaching staff could also use the new resource to prompt a discussion with a parent who has raised concerns about their child.
Jane Binnion writes; “Charley always seemed to get into trouble, though he didn’t mean to. He was getting fed up with going to school, because he felt different than most of the other kids. Then he met his Aunty Bella…and everything changed. This book is about dyspraxia…….but we chose not to name it in the story because this book is for every child that is different.”
Once cruelly and incorrectly referred to as ‘clumsy child’ syndrome, dyspraxia, (otherwise known as Developmental Coordination Disorder – DCD) is a common condition affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination, in both children and adults.
In addition to poor motor coordination, many individuals may also experience difficulties with memory, perception and processing along with poor planning, organisation and sequencing skills which can have a significant negative impact on everyday activities. Dyspraxia can also affect articulation and speech, perception and thought.
Although the exact causes of dyspraxia are unknown, it is thought to be caused by a disruption in the way messages from the brain are transmitted to the body. This affects a person’s ability to perform movements in a smooth, coordinated way. Dyspraxia affects around 5% of the population (2%, severely) and males are up to three times more likely to be affected than females. Dyspraxia sometimes runs in families – and there are believed to be two children affected in every class of 30 children.
General Manager of the Dyspraxia Foundation, Eleanor Howes, says; “As a relatively small charity based in Hitchin, we are delighted to have the opportunity to reach out to so many teachers and share this wonderful book with Primary Schools across our area. The book has already been so well received by families and children we would love to see this funding initiative being taken up by Rotary Clubs on a national level, so that children in every corner of the UK could ‘meet’ Charley and share his experience!
“The Dyspraxia Foundation is the only national charity in the UK dedicated to raising awareness of this still poorly understood condition. We support a network of local support groups and offer a wide range of resources through conferences and events, literature, publications and factsheets, online shop, professional journal, a Helpline, specialist youth office and of course, our annual awareness campaign in October.
Eleanor adds; “We are so grateful to our local Rotarians for giving us the opportunity to fulfil our hopes of seeing every school in the area with a copy of this book on their shelves. And, wouldn’t it be great to see a copy in our local libraries too! It really is a fantastic book that strips back the myths and misconceptions about dyspraxia and explains the coping mechanisms along with messages of encouragement in a way that both adults and children can clearly understand.
“Earlier this year, we posted a request for comments to the 17,000 members of our Facebook community and the response was overwhelmingly positive, with feedback such as ‘uplifting’, ‘life affirming’, ‘beautifully illustrated’ and ‘every school must have one’. I’m just delighted that we’ve been able to do our little bit to help make that a reality.”