Writer Pierre Lemaître calls for schools to adapt to children with dyspraxia, not the other way around

For young students with ‘dys’ disorder, learning can be an obstacle course. We know of dyslexia, dysorthography or dyscalculia that affect reading, writing or arithmetic, but we know less about dyspraxia, this motor developmental disorder that has a major impact on the planning, realization, coordination and automation of gestures… The writer Pierre Lemaà ®tre, guest of the show Boomerang on France Inter on March 3, decided to lift the veil on this invisible disability to raise public awareness.

And to understand the extent to which dyspraxia can hinder the youngest in their learning process, the author of wrote: the big world offers a little experience to its host Augustin Trapenard. ‘You’re going to see Augustin, it’s very funny. Put on a boxing glove and grab a pen. We’re going to do a dictation at normal speed. You are going to commit yourself, expending ten times more energy than the others for an extremely mediocre result. I’m going to say behind your back, ‘But you’re late, so please apply a little. Your dictation is a rag! Take the effort.”

This is what the daily life of a dyspraxic child looks like. This coordination disorder affects both learning to write and the most basic gestures “tie his shoelaces, cut his flesh, button his shirt…”

According to France assos santé, dyspraxia would affect at least 6% of school children, or about 1 child per class. So, suggests the writer, shouldn’t we adjust our teaching?

“Their handicap is school”

“He has a normal IQ, Pierre Lemaître specifies. He often expresses himself very well, but he is slower than the others. He is always yelled at: ‘Come on, hurry up, you’re always chasing the others. You linger!”. We find him negligent, dilettante, not hardworking.

These students are not without talent, far from it, Pierre Lemaître recalls. “Some become doctors, researchers, artists…” If they can’t write a word, they can spell it, if they can’t draw a perfect geometric figure, they can make up for it with an oral presentation.

For the writer it is quite simple: “their main disability is not dyspraxia. No. Their handicap is school.”

“With us, it is not the system that adapts to children. It is the children who have to adapt to the system. Children with dyspraxia are addressed to the same neoliberal necessity as to society as a whole. The world will not change. It is we who must change. What if we did the reverse?

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