An innovative new app for children with the coordination disorder, dyspraxia, has been launched in Ireland.
Dyspraxia, also known as developmental coordination disorder (DCD), is a neurological condition that affects fine and/or gross motor coordination skills, such as talking, balance, dexterity and handwriting.
Symptoms of dyspraxia in a pre-school child, for example, may include difficulty walking up and down stairs, falling over frequently, poor pencil grip, speech problems and an inability to do jigsaws or sorting games.
The condition is thought to affect around one in 10 children and problems can persist into adulthood it not treated.
Physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy have all been shown to help promote the development of fine and gross motor skills. However, recent research by the Dyspraxia Foundation of Ireland found that 82% of children with this condition are missing out on crucial treatments and therapies, due to long waiting lists and financial constraints.
The new dyspraxia app, which has been launched by digital therapeutics company, Beats Medical, is the first of its kind. It provides interactive games and fun exercises to promote the development of children's speech, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills, via smartphones and tablets.
Game levels are adapted to suit the age of the child and it is aimed at those aged between three and 14 years.
The makers of the app emphasised that it does not aim to replace specialist care, but add to it.
"We are really excited to launch our new app which addresses an important need for families, to help children with dyspraxia in their early years. The app acts as a support for children in a fun and interactive way," explained Beats Medical founder, Dr Ciara Clancy.
The company previously launched an app aimed at helping people with Parkinson's disease, and that is now used in over 40 countries worldwide.
The dyspraxia app costs €330 per year, which includes customer phone support. However, it is available to VHI customers at a rate of €50 per annum.
To download from the Apple Store, search for ‘Beats Medical Dyspraxia'. For more information on the app, click here