How Tree Fu Tom Can Help Children With Dyspraxia

By Sally Payne, Paediatric Occupational Therapist and Chair, Dyspraxia Foundation

Tom, Ariela, Squirmtum and Twigs.

Developing Movement Skills

Tree Fu Tom’s Big World Magic incorporates carefully selected sequences of movement put together by movement specialists and designed to help children develop important foundation motor skills. We hope that practising these movements will benefit all children, including those with dyspraxia and other developmental coordination disorders.

Dyspraxia is surprisingly common, affecting approximately 10% of children to some degree (i.e. 1-3 children in every classroom in the UK). It is the result of an immaturity in the development of the nervous system. This means that nerve signals are not sent smoothly from the brain to muscles so movements appear awkward and take a lot of effort.

Children with dyspraxia have difficulty developing the movement skills that seem to come naturally to other children. They often have poor balance and find it difficult to move their arms and legs in a coordinated manner. Using both sides of the body together, for example when riding a bike and using cutlery, can be especially challenging. Without these foundation movement skills it is hard for children to carry out everyday activities such as getting dressed, eating a meal and using a pencil to write and draw. We don’t really understand what causes dyspraxia but we do know that, given the right opportunities and enough practice, children are able to develop the movement skills they need in their everyday life.

Tree Fu Tom’s movement-based spells are fun and engaging for all children, and were developed from the movements used to help children with dyspraxia. Spells include movements typically used by occupational therapists anphysiotherapists to develop areas such as balance, strength in the shoulders and around the hips, use of both sides of the body together and separately, spatial awareness, hand coordination, and body awareness.

Children with dyspraxia and other coordination disorders need more opportunities to practise these skills than their friends and a huge benefit of Tree Fu Tom is that children are eager to join in with the spells and therefore practise their movement skills without even realising. Of course, all children will benefit from more active ‘screen time’ too, and by having a go at Tree Fu magic they will have a lot of fun at the same time, never knowing that the movements they are doing are helping them learn and hone important skills that can help and hopefully improve their development!

To find out more, visit the Tree Fu Tom website , or visit the Tree Fu Tom programme page.

Further support articles:

Tree Fu Tom: How Tree Fu Is Designed To Help Your Child

Tree Fu Tom: Developing Skills For Classroom Learning

Tree Fu Tom: Developing Movement Skills

Playing CBeebies Webcam Games

Tree Fu Tom: Behind The Spells

The Dyspraxia Foundation

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