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Developmental Coordination Disorder
Neuroplasticity Therapies may be useful for people diagnosed with DCD formally called Dyspraxia.
Below you will see a description of the outward symptoms of DCD, however, it is really important to note that a professional using neuroplasticity therapies will decide upon a treatment plan using much more than just symptoms. This is because neuroplasticity therapies aim to target a particular part/s of the brain, based on an individual assessment.
Symptoms are simply not enough information to guide a treatment plan, and a professional working with neuroplasticity therapies will be guided by an individual assessment on a person. Although some general therapies and activities can help with DCD, the more personalised a treatment plan is, the better.
Treat the patient not the diagnosis
To understand this better, it is really recommended that you read this article from ‘Treat the patient, not the diagnosis :
According to the DSM-5 DCD is diagnosed by presence of:
- Motor performance that is substantially below expected levels, given the person’s chronologic age and previous opportunities for skill acquisition. The poor motor performance may manifest as coordination problems, poor balance, clumsiness, dropping or bumping into things; marked delays in achieving developmental motor milestones (e.g., walking, crawling, sitting) or in the acquisition of basic motor skills (e.g., catching, throwing, kicking, running, jumping, hopping, cutting, colouring, printing, writing).
- The disturbance in Criterion A, without accommodations, significantly and persistently interferes with activities of daily living or academic achievement.
- Onset of symptoms is in the early developmental period.
- The motor skill deficits are not better explained by intellectual disability (intellectual development disorder) or visual impairment and are not attributable to a neurological condition affecting movement (e.g., cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, degenerative disorder).
The disturbance is not due to a general medical condition (e.g., cerebral palsy, hemiplegia, or muscular dystrophy).
NB in Neuro plasticity therapies, typically, symptoms provide only a part of the information necessary to form a picture of how well a person’s brain is functioning, and where it might need some attention. Instead, further assessments provide a much fuller picture of brain function, where issues lie and indicate what treatments and protocols may be of help.
Neuroplasticity Therapies for DCD
If you imagine the brain as like a house, there are several ways to get into a house:
- and, if you are Father Christmas, the chimney!
In a similar way there are many possible routes into the brain, or more accurately, routes to stimulate the brain. These can include movement, balance, vision, listening, taste, smell, and many more. The brain does not operate its regions in isolation (this is the concept of the connectome – some information about this is here: http://www.humanconnectomeproject.org/about/), and hence ‘going into the brain via one route’ can often stimulate more than just the regions predominantly responsible for that task. For example, if you used vision to stimulate the brain, although there is a region of the brain with the primary responsibility for vision (the occipital lobe), it interacts with various other brain regions in order to generate clear sight. This means that using sight, we can stimulate (activate) various brain regions, and a skilled neuroplasticity therapies professional will be aiming to stimulate specific areas of the brain via using such a technique.
It is also crucial to understand that in order for neuroplasticity therapies to have their greatest potential effect in the brain, so the brain needs to be as healthy as possible. For this reason, a practitioner is likely to want to offer advice (or referrals to relevant colleagues) on factors such as diet and sleep.
What to expect
Using various assessments, you should expect a professional using Neuroplasticity Therapies to always take into account much more than just the external symptoms which come with the diagnosis. They will usually achieve this via assessments to establish what is going on in the brain. Once they have an understanding of what regions need attention, they will carry out interventions with you and are likely to ask you to complete some interventions in your own time, for a set duration.
To understand more about Neuroplasticity Therapies (including where to find a therapist), you can:
Discover the wide range of sensory, balance, movement, lifestyle therapies incorporated under neuroplasticity therapies.