A new survey* carried out by Dyspraxia/DCD Ireland, the organisation which provides information and a national support network for parents, teenagers and adults, has found that 82% of Irish children with Dyspraxia/DCD are missing out on crucial treatment and therapies due to lengthily public health waiting lists and financial constraints in accessing private treatment.
Dyspraxia, a form of Development Coordination Disorder (DCD), in children and adults is characterised by difficulty with thinking out, planning and carrying out sensory/motor tasks. It is estimated that Dyspraxia/DCD affects up to 8% of the population but due to its varied symptoms, it can often go undiagnosed.
Commenting on the survey result, Ciara Garvan, Chairperson of Dyspraxia/DCD Ireland, said:
"Irish children with Dyspraxia/DCD are at the forefront of Ireland's two tier health system. Dyspraxia/DCD is a neurological condition in which early intervention is vital. Due to the length of the waiting lists many parents opt for private Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy or Speech and Language. Our survey shows that 49% of families are forced to sacrifice basic necessities in order to afford timely treatment for their child. A shocking 39% of children did not receive the correct treatment because their parents were unable to pay to access private services."
Children with Dyspraxia/DCD can be of average or above average intelligence but are often behaviourally immature. They may have a combination of problems in varying degrees, including poor balance and posture, social problems, speech problems, poor sense of direction, difficulty hopping, skipping or riding a bike, sensitivity to touch, difficulty with reading and writing, and intolerance of having hair or teeth brushed, and nails and hair cut.
There is no cure for Dyspraxia/DCD, but the earlier a child is treated, the greater the chance of improvement will be. A lot of the skills that people take for granted will never become automatic for children with Dyspraxia/DCD, so they will have to be taught these skills. Occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and extra help at school can all assist these children with coping or overcoming many of the difficulties they face. Dyspraxia/DCD Ireland aims to ensure that adequate resources are available, including occupational therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy, psychological support and education.
The Dyspraxia/DCD Ireland survey also found that:
To mark Dyspraxia/DCD Awareness Week 2016 (9th-15th October), Dyspraxia/DCD Ireland will be holding a number of awareness raising events across the country.
*Survey compiled by Dyspraxia/DCD Ireland in September 2016