New Irish Summer Camps For Kids With Dyspraxia Will Improve Confidence (And Are Seriously Fun!) 6 years ago

New Irish Summer Camps For Kids With Dyspraxia Will Improve Confidence (And Are Seriously Fun!)

How do Irish children with severe clumsiness (or Dyspraxia) experience physical activity?

This is a question that has intrigued me since I first became interested in Dyspraxia, otherwise known as Developmental Coordination Disorder.

Dyspraxia is characterised by poor balance, coordination, and attention, as well as difficulty with fine and gross motor movements, this condition affects at least one child in every classroom in Ireland.

Unfortunately, parents and children are under-represented within the education and health systems, and are generally compelled to fight for resources that should be readily available – such as resource hours and exemptions from subjects that cause these children considerable stress.

Irish children with Dyspraxia often have to wait years for diagnoses as a result of the lack of awareness (see also Dyspraxia: Our Expert shares the Signs of this "Hidden Disorder"), as well as the cost and/or waiting lists associated with visiting Occupational Therapists and Educational Psychologists.

I undertook a number of focus groups with parents and children around Ireland to investigate why children with Dyspraxia are significantly more prone to obesity than typically developing children.

Children with Dyspraxia generally experience social exclusion and can become isolated from their peers, particularly during team sports.


One mother reported that her son was so unwanted during selection that an argument ensued over which team he would be on. Another parent described how her son was ordered by his teacher to “run two laps on his own while everyone watched on and waited,” as punishment because he finished the team lap last. Often children with dyspraxia are being compared to their peers in spheres like physical education, a subject with which they inherently struggle, due to the disorder. No child should be subjected to these negative experiences.

I found that the personality of the child's coach could impact enormously on the child's experience. Using force, and negative comments resulted in children not wanting to return to classes, experiencing heightened levels of anxiety and distress, and believing they were unable to perform an activity, as opposed to perhaps being less able or needing to practice more.

Generally, when children with Dyspraxia experience pressure of any type, it often results in a sensory overload of sorts where they can become emotionally numb or inconsolable. Fortunately, a recurrent theme in the research was that positive, encouraging and patient coaches allowed children the time and space they required, while also allowing them the option to forego certain activities when they felt as though it was too much for them.

At Sugru, we have developed summer camps, Well-Being 4 Kids, specifically to meet these needs and to incorporate these research findings. This year we have opened this up to friends, siblings, cousins and class-mates so that all children can benefit from engaging in activities which promote peer socialisation, mindfulness, safe physical activity from the SmartMoves program, and crafts, such as willow-weaving. We keep the groups small so that each child receives the attention they need.

Visit Sugru for details of all the Well-Being 4 Kids camps running this Summer countrywide.

As a psychologist at Sugru Child Development and Contextual Play Therapy Services, Lorraine Lynch engages with families from all over Ireland, dealing with issues from prenatal woes to teen coping strategies. She employs the most up-to-date research to help parents promote holistic well-being in their home.