Becoming Dyspraxic As A Result Of An Illness

Chat with others about dyspraxia and share your experiences.

Postby madame_tigre » Mon Mar 07, 2005 1:27 pm

I was just wondering if dyspraxia is always something that you are born with or if you can get it after a serious illness or accident.

When I was a baby I met all my milestones either early or on time but when I was 22 months old I had meningitis which is caused by a swelling to the brain and I forgot everything I ever learnt.

After the illness, speaking was a great difficulty for me-I started nursery at age 3 and a half with only two words in my vocabulary which is very unusual because most toddlers can speak about 200 words by the time they are 2.

When I started infant school I found learning how to read easy but I didn't know how to socialise and I was slow, hesitant and very clumsy in most actions.

I started junior school when I was 8 and some of the children and adults couldn't understand what I was saying becase there were some sounds I found really difficult to pronounce e.g-ch, sh.

I've always found P.E a nightmare especially with ball games. I hated team games because I felt like I let everybody down because I can't throw or catch very well and I was the butt of some jokes because I didn't really understand how to play a lot of games.

Technology was another subject I had extreme difficulty with because it requires a lot of hand work and I also found using the machinery complex. When we did an experiment in Science, the teacher would tell us what to do but I could never remember because it was hardly ever written down.

I have told you a lot of my problems but I'm above average in quite a lot of things like reading, spelling, using my imagination and using long-term memory although sometimes I have difficulty with using my short-term memory. My favourite subject at school,was English because I loved reading and I sometimes imagined I was the character in the book or poem.
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Postby madame_tigre » Mon Mar 07, 2005 1:34 pm

At first doctor's thought I had asperger's syndrome which does have a link to dyspraxia but now I'm sure it's dyspraxia I have (for starter's people with AS are usually brilliant at maths and science and I'm not!) When I first looked it up, I was amazed at how many traits applied to me and I'm suprised that nobody ever thought of me being dyspraxic before I looked it up.

I have tried searching on the net trying to find links between illnesses like meningitis and dyspraxia and so far I have got nowhere, so that's why i've posted this message on the forum to see if any of you know whether there is or not.
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Postby Helen » Mon Mar 07, 2005 3:47 pm

Hi,
Thankyou for sharing your experiences on this forum. I think many will be able to relate to them.
You pose a very interetsing question, one which I believe troubles many involved with dyspraxia, but one that we still have no answer for. :(

There are just theories at the moment. Will list some below.

1. The most popular theory is that dyspraxia is caused by an immaturity of the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain. This idea suggests that dyspraxia is present at birth, since the immaturity occurs during development in the uterus.

2. Some suggest that babies born prematurely are more predisposed to dyspraxia

3. There is a belief that dysparaxia, dyslexia etc have a genetic link.

4. There is a theory that dyspraxia is caused by a low blood glucose fro an extended period of time, causing an energy 'starvation' to the neurons.

I believe that dyspraxia is caused by and exacerbated by some/all of the above and more. I suppose if you had meningitis as a very young child, it is possible that this played a part in the difficulties you have today. Matt had his tonsils out at the age of 7 years and during the op, he suffered a respiratory arrest. His blood oxygen levels dropped to below 40% - I believe that this episode worsened the symptoms he already displayed and has left him with more difficulty than he would otherwise have had, but I have no proof.

One thing is for sure, more research needs to be done into the causes of dyspraxia, so we can all better understand. Thanks for raising such a great question. :)
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Postby k9ruby » Mon Mar 07, 2005 5:09 pm

age of 7 years and during the op, he suffered a respiratory arrest. His blood oxygen levels dropped to below 40% - I believe that this episode worsened the symptoms he already displayed and has left him with more difficulty than he would otherwise have had, but I have no proof.



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Postby slinky_malinki » Mon Mar 07, 2005 10:30 pm

Yes, dyspraxic symptoms can be acquired after birth. It is usually caused by brain damage or traumatic injury to the head. Meningitis would certainly have altered your brain a bit.

Acquired dyspraxia is often - but not always - more severe than developmental dyspraxia. This severe form is called apraxia. If you had this you would definitely know about it (you wouldn't be able to do much at all - it's what stroke victims get) but it's probable that you picked up the milder form. As Helen said, your illness could have amplified existing problems and caused your difficulties to deepen into an actual disorder.

Remember that there may be more than one cause of dyspraxia. The factors that made me dyspraxic (according to the neurologist, my premature birth may have played a role) might not have any bearing over others on this forum - say Ruby or Matt or Charlotte. We've all got the same symptoms, but they could stem from different roots.

This is a really complex area. I did write about it in a little more detail in Caged in Chaos.
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Postby madame_tigre » Tue Mar 08, 2005 1:05 pm

Thanks for all your suggestions. I don't think anybody knows the real reason on what causes dyspraxia although I've learnt that there are a number of possibilities and even if a lot of dyspraxics share the same symptoms, it doesn't mean it's been caused in the same way-I wasn't born prematurely and I don't know anybody in my family who has dyspraxia, dyslexia, dyscalculia or any of the other conditions which begin with 'dys'

It does sound like Matt's episode did worsen his symptoms. I'm glad that if I had to have meningitis it happened way before I started school but sometimes I wonder what would happen if I had the illness at an older age(although it couldn't be much older because it was HIB which only occurs in toddlers) because you never know I could have had it from birth and the symptoms worsened after the illness-it's just that when I was a baby, my parents or anybody else didn't notice anything particuarly different about me.

I think that if I have dyspraxia it will be a mild form because I can lead quite a normal life-I just have quite a lot of problems with co-ordination.

Vicky,I've just ordered your Caged in Chaos book and I'm really looking forward to reading it!
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