‘Early diagnosis is vital for children to get the supports they need’
A Carn mum, whose nine-year-old son lives with dyspraxia, is continuing to raise awareness of the little-known condition.
Alison Doherty established the Donegal Dyspraxia Support Group in March 2018 – less than six months after her son Ryan’s diagnosis – to help boost awareness and understanding of the disorder here.
Dyspraxia, or developmental coordination disorder [DCD], affects motor function in children and adults, often causing poor balance, difficulty with throwing and catching, as well as some difficulties with learning.
There is no cure but early diagnosis and treatment is crucial – and Alison (37) says her son’s condition has led her on a “pathway to raise awareness” about dyspraxia in children and adults in Donegal.
“I had to be an advocate and a voice for my child as the awareness just wasn’t there. Over the past two and-a-half years I have met and spoken with lots of families, reaching more than 300, between meet-ups and emails, sharing my story.”
“We have done a variety of activities for kids including Fun Moves Fundamentals with the Donegal Sports Partnership, as well as cycle workshops, Lego club, circus skills and much more.”
Ryan was first diagnosed after being seen by a neurologist at Dublin’s Temple Street Hospital in October 2017 when he was just six-years-old.
Alison says it was obvious that something had been affecting the youngster’s movement.
“At six he developed a limp in his left leg and began trailing his leg in towards his body. He walked with a very obvious limp and was in pain. He ran awkwardly, which people were beginning to notice.”
“When walking a short distance, Ryan would need to stop for a lot of breaks, as he would tire very quickly. I realised further investigation was needed, as these symptoms didn’t leave him.”