Dyspraxia: a guide to visual skills
Although dyspraxia is understood to affect fine and gross coordination skills (small and large muscle movements), there is a strong relationship between these difficulties and visual skills. At Central Vision Opticians we have helped hundreds of children and adults with dyspraxia. We will assess you or your child’s symptoms to see if we can resolve difficulties with vision therapy.
Dyspraxia is a condition that affects both children and adults. It is also known as developmental coordination disorder since it interferes with the development of movement and coordination skills. In children it is usually diagnosed around the age of five or more - up until then children can vary in rates of development.
It affects both spatial vision and coordination: both visual perception of the world around you and your brain’s approach to coordinated movement. Spatial vision means knowing where objects are in our surroundings and the awareness of how they relate to our position. Coordination is the ability to control the best muscles in order to move efficiently through space and manipulate the objects around us.
Any problems with these two skills, spatial vision and coordination, can cause a number of motor (movement) difficulties. This can affect activities of daily living as well as hobbies, sports and interests. However, there are a number of non-motor difficulties that people with dyspraxia may have including:
There is no known cause in the majority of cases. Carrying out coordinated movements involves a complicated neurological process. If a part of the brain used for these movements hasn’t developed properly during childhood, that person could have difficulties with movement and coordination.
It is unclear why coordination develops less well in some children, but some factors that may contribute include premature birth, genetic factors, or a low weight at birth.
Coordination difficulties can affect a variety of everyday activities, making everyday life harder. Children with dyspraxia may have difficulty with writing, drawing, and playground activities such as hopping, jumping, running or ball games. They may appear clumsy or awkward, although this is not necessarily a sign of dyspraxia; children tend to be more clumsy anyway.
These difficulties can continue into adulthood: an adult with dyspraxia may have difficulties typing or writing at work, learning new skills, driving and other daily skills such as dressing or preparing meals. Other consequences may be frustration and fatigue.
There are many ways dyspraxia can affect your vision and visual skills. Its not related to needing glasses, the visual acuity is often normal. Some of the possible difficulties are:
Physical exercise and activity are one of the best things you can do. This makes joints and muscles stronger. Activities such as rock climbing, fencing and horse riding all improve sensory and joint control. This makes us more aware of the positions of our limbs and muscles and helps to enhance the accuracy of movements.
Behavioural optometry is focused around the way an individual uses their visual system and how this relates to the way they move their body. This can include eye movements as well as hand-eye coordination and visual-spatial awareness. Vision therapy is a structured programme of activities and exercises designed to develop physical and eye movement skills to naturally improve many of the difficulties in people with dyspraxia. We helped hundreds of children and adults with dyspraxia to read, learn, work, play sports and activities more effectively.
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