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Information & Advice

...for Students

...for Staff

...on Assistive Technology

Information for staff on dyspraxia

The Dyspraxia Foundation definition states: “Dyspraxia is an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement. Associated with this there may be problems of language, perception and thought”. (For website reference, see below.) Indicators of dyspraxia overlap with some other specific learning differences, particularly dyslexia, autistic spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). About 5% of the population in the UK continue to have dyspraxic difficulties in adulthood. Young people who have received learning support for dyspraxia at school are arriving in HE with expectations of inclusivity, just as dyslexic people have been since the early 1990s.

At DMU, Student Services offers support for dyspraxic students in the Disability Unit and Student Learning Advisory Service. However, it is important that all staff are aware of the nature of dyspraxia and of learning and teaching approaches which can be helpful. It is recognised as a disability, and hence our response to it is covered by the Disability Discrimination Act Part IV (also known as SENDA).

 

The most common characteristics of dyspraxia involve:

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As with dyslexia, there is a long list of possible indicators of dyspraxia. A person is said to be dyspraxic if s/he experiences a large number of these indicators continuously. The following list is taken from Colley (2004):

 

Students may have difficulty with the following:

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Manual & practical work

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Personal presentation & spatial skills

 

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Memory and attention span

 

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Written expression

 

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Visual and oral skills

 

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Numerical and mathematical skills

 

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Social, communication and emotional difficulties

 

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Colley (2004) adds that in spite of the above, dyspraxic students may exhibit the following positive characteristics:

The following approaches can usefully be adopted by academic and support staff:

 

In Lectures

 

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In Seminars & Tutorials

 

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In terms of academic assessment, allow dyspraxic students to  demonstrate their understanding by the means which best suits their learning difference. Examples: orally, voiced software, production of artefact, practical demonstration. Most dyspraxic students will have an Educational Psychologist’s report, and this should make recommendations about assessment.

 

Strategies for the student include:

 

When writing essays & reports

 

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(All the above can be funded via the Disabled Students’ Allowance. Drop-in sessions are also available at SLAS regardless of such funding.)

 

Examinations

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(These arrangements can be made by the Disability Unit.)

 

 Technological Hardware

 

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 Technological software

 

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Equipment/Gadgets

 

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Further Information

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There is a leaflet for students available through Student Services/SLAS entitled ‘What is Dyspraxia?’.

 

The drop-in and group sessions at the Dyslexia Centre are for all students with specific learning differences, and this includes dyspraxia. Drop-ins can be booked by visiting SLAS reception on the first floor of Gateway House, or ringing 7254.

 

Dyspraxia is recognised as a disability. The Disability Unit in Student Services can help students by arranging assessment by an Educational Psychologist and enabling them to apply for the Disabled Students’ Allowance. The Disability Discrimination Act Part IV obliges us to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for students with dyspraxia, as we do for dyslexic students.

 

The Counselling service can also help students with self-esteem issues, assertiveness and formal strategies such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, if appropriate.

 

Where students declare dyspraxia on application to a course, admissions tutors should be aware of the need for detailed advice regarding any practical skills which may be involved.

 

For further information, contact David Pollak on ext 7831.

 

In terms of work placements, the following article gives a useful table entitled ‘Possible problems and solutions in the work environment’:

Brown K and Rack J (2004)  Specific learning difficulties: summaries of information and guidance. Dyslexia Review 15, 3, 10-14

 

Other sources of information about dyspraxia:

 

www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk

 

www.danda.org.uk

 

Dyspraxia Foundation, Leicester branch: Jane  01530 245 928

 

Colley M (2000)  Living with dyspraxia    Hitchin, Dyspraxia Foundation

 

Colley M (2004)  Learning support for students with dyspraxia. Presentation at DMU conference, ‘Specific learning differences in HE and FE: dealing with neurodiversity’. Copies available from David Pollak, Student Services:SLAS.

 

Cottrell S (2003)  Students with dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties. In Powell S (ed) Special teaching in higher education – successful strategies for access and inclusion. London, Kogan Page

 

Eckersley J (2004)  Coping with dyspraxia. London, Sheldon

 

Portwood M (2000)  Understanding developmental dyspraxia. London, David Fulton

 

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