Dyspraxia Awareness Week
Dyspraxia, or as it is called in the research literature ‘developmental coordination disorder’ (DCD), is a condition affecting a broad range of movements in otherwise typically-developing children. These children, of course, grow up to be adults, and many students (and staff) at this university will identify as being dyspraxic. Researchers in the Department of Public Health and Sports Science at the University of Exeter are engaged in a number of research projects using immersive virtual reality (VR) to try and better understand dyspraxia and improve the ecosystem around this condition. Mohammed Alharbi is a pediatric physiotherapist undertaking a PhD examining whether VR can improve movement skills and enjoyment of sports in dyspraxic children. Jack Evans, a PhD student funded by EPSRC, is using VR and mathematical modelling to examine and compare precise features of hand and arm movements in dyspraxic adults and stroke survivors to try and identify personalized rehabilitation. Finally, Haoyang Du is a research assistant on a project funded by The Waterloo Foundation to develop a fun and engaging VR screening tool for dyspraxic adolescents, to speed up the diagnostic pathways in educational settings. If you (or your children) are dyspraxic and interested in taking part in any of these research projects, please get in touch with Dr Gavin Buckingham (email@example.com).
If you want a quick introduction to dyspraxia, please watch this 3-minute animation we have created in collaboration with dyspraxic artist Charlotte O’Neill. Raising awareness is one of the most important parts of dyspraxia awareness week, so please share this amongst your networks, particularly in schools!