Case Study: Dan
Dan aged 7 years was brought to see me with a diagnosis of Dyspraxia. There was no history of dyspraxia, dyslexia, etc. in the family. The pregnancy went to full-term but some help was needed with the delivery. No foetal distress was reported and all the developmental milestones were met with the exception of bladder control which was a little late.
No problems were evident until Dan had to do things for himself when it became clear that he had a dressing dyspraxia. That is, left to his own devices Dan could not work out what to put where and in which order. He had always been a bit clumsy but increasingly this became a major problem in his life. It seemed as though he had real problems fitting himself into his environment.
He had always been a poor sleeper with difficulties getting off to sleep and aroused from it by any sounds in the house.
Once at school more problems became apparent as he took everything literally and he could not place a drawing or indeed writing within the confines of the page.
On examination Dan demonstrated major problems with his cerebellum (the little brain at the back) being totally unable to perform a series of simple tests. Also, further testing demonstrated that the cerebral hemisphere on the opposite side to the cerebellar hemisphere that was grossly under functioning was also functioning well below par. This is a frequent finding and is termed a diaschisis.
Following a session of treatment at the clinic using physical therapy to afferentate (stimulate) the left cerebellum, he was sent home with a very simple yet neurologically challenging exercise to perform twice a day for just ten minutes for two weeks.
At the following visit his mother reported that the dyspraxia had dramatically improved, his strength had increased and he was managing to do all the things he had struggled with before.
It is essential to realise both in terms of understanding the child’s problems and in providing the right treatment that dyspraxia is a symptom of an underlying problem and not a disease itself. This basic fundamental fact is the reason why there is so much confusion over these childhood complaints and so little treatment available.
An associated problem with both ADHD and dyspraxia is in the relationship between the cerebellum on each side and a brainstem nucleus, namely the inferior olivary nucleus. A loop exists between the inferior olivary nuclei, nuclei in the cerebellum, the upper brainstem and back down to the olivary nuclei. The loop is essential to the timing of events and should be equal on both sides at around 8-12Hzs. An imbalance in these timing loops has been implicated in ADHD and certain dyspraxic symptoms.
Recently a computer generated program has been produced that over a relatively short space of time can re-set the timings of the cerebellar/brainstem loops and restore the temporal sequential balance.
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