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Learning Difficulty Especially Hard For Kiwi Boys

23 August 2008

Harry Potter's Learning Difficulty Especially Hard For Kiwi Boys

Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who plays Harry Potter has revealed he suffers from Dyspraxia (also called Developmental Coordination Disorder), a little known but relatively common learning difficulty that is particularly hard for boys to cope with.

Daniel Radcliffe is reported to have difficulty tying his shoe laces and has bad hand-writing.

"These are classic symptoms of Dyspraxia and occur because of an under functioning part of the brain called the cerebellum, which controls co-ordination, balance and fine & gross motor skills. These deficits make it very hard to hold a pen, button & un-button clothing, use cutlery, and catch, kick or hit a ball., Dyspraxia sufferers often trip over, drop items and bump into objects which is why they're often described as clumsy", said David Conroy of Dore NZ - a treatment centre for people with learning difficulties.

"Dyspraxia is particularly difficult for kiwi boys to cope with because of the importance sport plays in our lives - sufferers often say they were never selected for the lunchtime school games let alone any competitive team, they were teased, laughed at and their unusual running or athletic movements were mimicked".

"Another classic symptom which Daniel Radcliffe doesn't seem to suffer from is the confusion between left and right. That coupled with co-ordinating gear change, steering and indicating is why many Dyspraxics fear driving and may never enjoy that freedom".

"Daniel Radcliffe is a fantastic role model for Dyspraxia because he's been incredibly successful by focusing on his strengths - but people with it need to know that it can be treated successfully and will broaden their future opportunities rather than having to adapt their lives and careers because of it".

COMMON SYMPTOMS OF DYSPRAXIA:

• fail to crawl as a baby instead may 'bottom shuffle' and then walk

• constantly bump into objects and fall over

• hands flap when running

• difficulty with pedalling a tricycle or similar toy

• lack of any sense of danger (jumping from heights etc)

• messy eating - may prefer to eat with their fingers

• frequently spill drinks

• poor fine motor skills - difficulty in holding a pencil or using scissors

• Left or right handedness not established by school age

• persistent language difficulties

• Barely legible handwriting

• Slow at dressing

• Unable to tie shoe laces

• Avoids tasks which require good manual dexterity - buttoning pyjamas, threading beads or a needle, playing with small and intricate toys like assembling a kinder surprise etc

ends


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