Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ultimate Apps for Dyspraxia

The odds are such that you probably know someone with dyspraxia. Dyspraxia is a disorder in gross and/or fine motor skill development that affects 1 in 10 people. For some affected individuals, simple tasks such as using a knife and fork are problematic. Walking, skipping or catching a ball can be very difficult. For others, fine motor skills like writing or typing can cause frustration and a feeling of dejection.

Although dyspraxia is a life-long disorder, there is certainly some hope. Organizations such as the Dyspraxia Foundation (USA & UK) and others can help provide the latest information and research along with a social community for those interested in dyspraxia.

Early Symptoms of Dyspraxia
(From the Dyspraxia Foundation UK)

There are numerous early indications that a child may have dyspraxia. The following are some of the possible early symptoms:

• Irritable and difficult to comfort (from birth)
• Feeding and sleeping problems
• Delayed early motor development
• High levels of motor activity
• Repetitive behaviors
• Sensitive to high levels of noise
• Continued problems with development of feeding skills
• Toilet training may be delayed
• Avoids constructional toys such as jigsaws and Lego
• Delayed language development: single words not evident until age 3
• Highly emotional: easily distressed, frequent outbursts of uncontrolled behavior
Concentration limited to 2 or 3 minutes

Adult Symptoms of Dyspraxia
(From the Dyspraxia Foundation UK)

Adults challenged with dyspraxia often find the routine tasks of daily life such as driving, household chores, cooking and grooming to be considerably difficult. They can also find coping at work might be hard. People with dyspraxia usually have a combination of problems in the following areas:

• Problems with gross motor co-ordination skills
• Issues with fine motor co-ordination skills
• Poorly established hand dominance
• Speech and language difficulties
Problems with eye movements
• Perception issues (interpretation of the different senses)
• Challenges with learning, thought and memory
• Issues with emotions and behavior as a result of difficulties experienced

Many of the symptoms exhibited are not unique to people with dyspraxia, and even the most severe case will not have all the above characteristics. However, adults with dyspraxia do have a tendency to experience an unusual number of co-ordination and perceptual difficulties.

Today, there is the growing need for technology in helping those with dyspraxia. We have gathered together a list of apps that could help many affected children and adults as well. Here is a list of the most popular currently available at this writing:

Apps for Dyspraxia

Brightstar Reader---A computer application designed to bring about significant neuro-plastic changes in the brain networks associated with the process of reading. These changes optimally impact the temporal & motor organization and coordination of sight and eye-hand movements, resulting in improved reading fluency. Helpful for dyslexia, for reluctant readers, for ADHD with reading deficits, for dyspraxics with reading deficits and for those who suffer from Visual ADD.
http://www.brightstar-learning.com/the-science/brightstar-reader-whitepapers/

Talking Tom Cat–by Out Fit 7 Ltd. (for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.1 or later-Price: FREE with ads)
Tom is your pet cat that responds to your touch and repeats everything you say with a funny voice. (Some children love saying things to Tom for him to repeat back. Great for encouraging speech!)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/talking-tom-cat/id377194688?mt=8

Dexteria – Fine Motor Skill Development (Apple version)--by BinaryLabs (for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.Requires iOS 3.2 or later-Price: $4.99)
Great for fine motor skills
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dexteria-fine-motor-skill/id420464455?mt=8

Dexteria – Fine Motor Skill Development (Android version)--by BinaryLabs (for Android-Minimum Android version: Android 2.3.3 with Minimum screen width: 240 dpx -Price: $1.99)
Great for fine motor skills
http://slideme.org/application/dexteria

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox (Apple version) –-by THUP Games (for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later-Price $.99)
A collection of six exciting educational games for your preschooler (ages 2 to 5)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/monkey-preschool-lunchbox/id328205875?mt=8

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox (Android version) –-by THUP Games (for Android-Price $1.99)
A collection of six exciting educational games for your preschooler (ages 2 to 5)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.thup.lunchbox&hl=en

Resources and References

NCLD (National Center for Learning Disabilities)
This website provides a description, symptoms, treatment options and other related information about dyspraxia
http://www.ncld.org/ld-basics/ld-aamp-language/writing/dyspraxia/

Dyspraxia Foundation-USA
Organization providing information, resources and support for persons with dyspraxia in the U.S. Includes a complete list of dyspraxia symptoms for children and adults.
http://www.dyspraxiausa.org/

Dyspraxia Foundation-UK
Organization providing information, resources and support for persons with dyspraxia in the U.K. Includes a complete list of dyspraxia symptoms for children and adults.
http://www.dyspraxiauk.com/

A Practical Manual for Parents and Professionals by Madeleine Portwood and the Developmental Dyspraxia Foundation UK

Blog article: My iPad review… by A Mum's Journey with Dyspraxia (Blog title)
http://amumsjourneywithdyspraxia.wordpress.com/

Two great websites that review apps for special needs (including dyspraxia) are:
http://www.a4cwsn.com/ Provides video clip reviews
http://www.spectronics.co.nz/article/iphoneipad-apps-for-aac

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Clip art courtesy of: http://www.ace-clipart.com/kid-clipart-01.html

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this, Joan... My 9 year old son deals with Dyspraxia (or DCD - Developmental Co-Ordination Disorder) daily. Some days are good, others are frustrating. Now I just need to get an iPad:-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Becky,

    Many thanks for your comments here. We also appreciate the time you took to tell us about your son's experiences with dyspraxia.

    You mentioned that an iPad is currently on your wish list. You might want to take a look at Android-formatted tech offerings as well as Apple's. Here in the U.S., Apple is certainly dominant, but globally, it is Android that is in much greater use (less expensive). Currently, there appear to be more apps in the Apple arena, but that may not always be the case. Just keep "the future" in mind as you consider a possible e-tablet investment.

    All the best of learning success to your son (and you!)
    Thanks again for writing, Becky!

    Joan Brennan

    ReplyDelete