A local mother is setting out to put Donegal on the map for Dyspraxia support.

Alison Doherty and Ryan (aged 7)

Alison Doherty’s eldest son Ryan was diagnosed with Dyspraxia last year, and it was only then that she discovered a lack of awareness of the condition.

Dyspraxia is a Developmental Coordination Disorder affecting motor coordination in children and adults. The common disorder varies in every person, and can affect everyday life skills in education, work and employment.

Commonly known as the ‘Clumsy Child Syndrome’, Dyspraxia symptoms can include poor balance, poor fine and gross motor co-ordination, difficulty with exercise and problems with reading, writing and speech.

Alison, a Carndonagh mother-of-two, discovered a lack of understanding about Dyspraxia after Ryan’s diagnosis. This year, she has been motivated to set up a support group to connect and inform parents about the condition and organise activities. She has organised an information event with Dyspraxia Ireland on Wednesday 28th March 7-9pm in The Strand Hotel, Ballyliffin, and is inviting all parents, teachers, SNAs and health professionals to attend.

Alison told Donegal Woman: “Ryan was diagnosed in October and when I explained to family and friends etc not many knew what I was talking about. That’s when I thought, wait something needs to be done here, and that’s how it started.

“I thought I cannot wait on someone else to contact Dyspraxia Ireland for me so I did it myself they are absolutely amazing.”

The information evening will hear from Harry Conway CEO of Dyspraxia Ireland and 17-year-old Sarah Ann, and teen from Dublin who will discuss Dyspraxia and anxiety.

Alison hopes to get Donegal on the map of Dyspraxia Ireland Support Groups, where there is a clear lack of groups in the North West.

“A lot of people also are not aware of the steps to be taken in order to get a diagnosis or what professionals are needed. I have been through this and I’m delighted to help people in any way.

“The process of diagnosis is difficult. I have been contacted by a few people waiting on a diagnosis for their child. It is knowing what route to go down after a diagnosis that people need information on.”

Alison added: “A few years back, a Smart Moves programme to educate teachers, parents and SNAs was run around all the country. Donegal was the worst turn out, simply because back then people hadn’t heard of it, but so many professionals can help these children and adults. Occupational therapy is essential, and physiotherapy is vital.”

Alison Doherty and Ryan (aged 7)


Alison hopes that with this week’s event and the Facebook group, a supportive community can be formed. In the future, she hopes that parents can set up a social skills group and exercise group for all children to benefit from.

Children with Dyspraxia/DCD can be of average or above average intelligence but are often behaviorally immature. They may find it hard to fit in at school, she explained.

There is no cure for Dyspraxia/DCD, but occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and extra help at school can all assist children with coping or overcoming many of the difficulties they face.

The Donegal Dyspraxia meeting will be a unique opportunity for people to get information about the disorder and meet with Harry Conway, in the hope of creating further awareness and support across the entire region.

Check out the Donegal Dyspraxia Support Group on Facebook here For more information on Dyspraxia, visit www.dyspraxia.ie

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