When I was in high school I worked at a camp for little kids. One day I was assigned to shadow a kid that they told me had something called dyspraxia. He was from England, where the condition is quite well-known. Apparently it's not much diagnosed here. But I think I was assigned to shadow him because we were so similar. I've always been incredibly uncoordinated. My mother pulled me out of school because she didn't want me sequestered in special ed, so I've never been evaluated for anything. But I've never really been able to play any sports that involve throwing or catching. I have always tripped a lot and just been derpy. I'm 25 and still don't have a driver's license despite having had MANY instructors. I really want to pass that test. It's also kind of expensive to constantly break/destroy things.
I am able to get things eventually if I work really hard on them for a long time, but any kind of boost in the area would make a huge difference to me. I have noticed that my coordination issues ebb and flow, so I think diet does make a difference. I was trying to remember one of the best times for me and I think that was when I did the Movnat workshop. I didn't injure myself very much there and managed to keep up with the group somewhat, which was highly unusual for me. Super 100% clean paleo diet, tons of exercise, tons of sunlight and fresh air, and good sleep. Kind of the opposite of now. So I'd like to run a self-experiment to see what works best. I think I'm at the perfect baseline right now because I'm eating a mediocre diet and not taking any supplements.
I'm probably going to do Seth Robert's balance experiment. But what dietary changes to test? So far I'm thinking of increasing omega-3 slightly (through food since I seem sensitive to fish oil supplements), decreasing omega-6 (I've been eating A LOT of that lately), increasing saturated fat from coconut and butter, going 100% gluten-free (lately I've been eating out and probably getting some trace amounts), and really instituting strict sleep hygiene. Any other ideas? Has anyone else noticed that diet/lifestyle changes effect their coordination/dyspraxia.
What I would do is tinker with every possible nutritional and lifestyle modification you can. Eliminate all factors you can possibly find in a systematic way. It might not be nutritional, but oftentimes people benefit from the fringe of nutritional intervention. For example the boron that I tweeted about which I think you saw. Although I don't expect you to remember it (and Julianne over there saw it too. Hi Julianne! Oh the nostalgia.)
"When contrasted with the high boron intake, low dietary boron resulted in significantly poorer performance (p < 0.05) on tasks emphasizing manual dexterity (studies II and III); eye-hand coordination (study II); attention (all studies); perception (study III); encoding and short-term memory (all studies); and long-term memory (study I)."
Low boron levels are bad for the brain, and depending on region, diet, and what they do to the water, intake can be low. Compound that with your particular history of GI problems which might mean malabsorption, and we have grounds for a hypotheses. Test it and let me know how it went so I can send a letter to Hugh Laurie and tell him that House ain't so hot (if I'm not right that still doesn't mean he's as hot as people think!)
OK this is the third time I'm typing this- I really want you to have this information!
You need to have your cerebellum and vestibular systems checked out by a functional neurologist. Neurons need two things to live- fuel & activation. By activating them, you encourage them to branch out and grow new connections. This is neuroplasticity and can happen throughout your lifetime. If these areas of the brain are weak, and from your symptoms, they seem like prime candidates, firing into them from connecting parts of the brain can strengthen them and improve their function. This can be done with really simple exercises, applied properly.
I would recommend looking for someone who holds a diplomate from the American Chiropractic Neurology Board (acnb.org). Very few if any medical neurologists will look at this from a functional perspective- they are only trained to look for organic lesions. And of course, if they can't medicate it, or cut it out, there's not a whole lot else for them left to do. You can check out this video at myhoperestored.org to get a little better idea of what is involved in functional neurology. (Warning the video is a little bit cheesy.)
Also, gluten antibodies have been shown to have an affinity for Perkenje cell's in the cerebellum, this is the basis for what's known in the literature as gluten ataxia. So if you're symptoms get worse after gluten-watch out.
Bonus: a lot of my functional neurologist colleagues are excellent functional medicine docs that can help you hack the diet end of things too.
You can always get in touch with me if you need an personal referrals, depending on if I know anyone good in your area.
I was this kid until I was like ten. I said "I am tired of stubbing my toes on furnitures, smacking into door frames, running like a 'girl', and being unable to do anything sporting at all." And so I took gymnastics in grade five. What they taught me, and what stuck, was the notion of motion as a goal in itself. Don't think of what you want to pick up and then just pick it up. Think about moving your hand to the object then grasping it. Think of doing that smoothly. Think of all the places between where your body is now and where you want it to go. Think it through. Watch you hand move. Watch your feet move. Watch and think.
Took all year but I stopped smacking into things, tripping over stuff, stubbing my toes and being generally derpy, unless I was really distracted. By the time high school rolled around I could even hit a few home runs and play volleyball competently.
So "think it through" and practice doing just that for a year.
It's spooky that you should ask this now. In my routine reading the other day the term ataxia came up and, as I read about it, I became convinced that I'd had mild issues with it in the 2-3 years before I switched to ancestral eating.
I remember lots of minor incidents in which my balance wavered as I moved around; I had definitely become "clumsy" which was a definite deterioration for me. I was afraid to hold babies, puppies and kittens I was so lacking in confidence although my grip was strong at first. Anyhow, ataxia was listed as something that can be caused by gluten.
Now that I have read about ataxia and you have asked about coordination and dyspraxia, I can say I HAVE experienced a change since I changed to ancestral eating patterns. My balance and coordination are back to being rock solid while moving.
I honestly can't remember the last time my balance felt untrustworthy or I dropped something because my grip had relaxed without volition. I took a nasty fall last summer, but it started with a stepping stone sliding out from under my foot.
I hope you're able to a gain some insights that help you find what you're seeking. I feel like I've gotten to know you just a little bit and I want good things for you. Keep us posted!
Essential fatty acids do seem to be important http://www.speech-express.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=870
I've heard the Dore programme (or something similar) is useful http://www.dore.co.uk/dyspraxia/
I don't have any dietary suggestions, but I second Dean's deliberate practice answer.
I've been practicing aikido for 10 years, and I've had to learn countless new motions that were unnatural at first. A number of people in my college club were uncoordinated, and with practice everyone improved, to some degree or another.
The nice thing about aikido that it really forces you gain a better understanding of biomechanics, both your own, and of your partner. After ten years of aikido I'm much better at watching people's motions and suggesting improvements, both with aikido, but also with other things like throwing motions.
The "deliberate" in deliberate practice is key. Most people screw up new motions by rushing them, and focusing on the intended end result, rather than the process. Since your body isn't familiar with the motion yet, focusing on the result achieves nothing. It's best to move very slowly and let your body become familiar with the new motion.
Tetsuzan Kuroda sensei is able to move freakishly fast, but from what I have been told, a large part of his training is super slow. By moving slowly he is able to remove extraneous motion.
I'd suggest picking up an activity that is going to teach a number of new, deliberate motions using your entire body. MovNat might fit this bill, I don't know. Aikido certainly fits the bill for me, and other "internal" arts like Tai Chi, Baguazhang, etc... might as well.
I have always been a bit Derpy, was nicknamed "The Oaf Brigade" in high school. Have been known to knock over whole bar tables at random while influenced by a very small amount of alcohol. If the Education system had been more prepared for Asbergers (and it's effect on fine motor skills for some) back in the early 80's I probably would have had more specific help instead of special ed, copious drugs, and being told to avoid sports.
I know you are already fairly mobile, which has helped me immensely. My next "evolution" will be spending more time doing some offroad dynamic movement styled stuff, as well as continuing my constant drilling of olympic weightlifting.
I've found I'm less clumsy when fasted, oddly enough. I seem to have a more careful "physical awareness". My best workouts always seem to be 6-8 hours after feeding, as opposed to the old standby (1-2 hours pre-workout meal before training). Since my focus is on jumping and olympic lifting, it requires quite a bit of coordination and balance.
Now that I think about it, maybe I could progress to an OMAD diet (one meal a day) and do a bit more "dynamic" movement (hiking/jumping offroad).
Check out the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) dietary protocol. Dispraxia is actually listed on the cover as one of the many GAPS issues the diet addresses. Paleo is pretty darn close to the GAPS prescription but has an special intro phase and focuses lots on good gut health to heal brain related issues. If a dietary intervention is what you're looking for I can't think of anything more on point. I'm practicing it in conjunction with Paleo dietary guidelines.
So basically more homemade bone broth (building blocks of a healthy/healing gut), fermented veggies and dairy (healthy bacteria), and probiotics (more healthy bacteria).
I hope this helps.
I am not the most coordinated of dynamic movers but I am able to catch things that fall off the table, a shelf in the fridge or a cabinet. Have you observed yourself reacting to falling objects without knowing that you were about to initiate motion?
Do you think driving is challenging because you are not tracking the dividing line well (with your eyes) or because you are not reacting in time?
For the balance experiment (as the owner of weak calf muscles and frequently sprained ankles), I would suggest using something other than the board. A lengthwise-folded towel works well.
Ive experienced the best coordination while eating quite a bit of ghee--i think the fat is essentially unchanged during the rendering process so maybe it has something to do with the proteins and other solids that are removed. I make my own and wait until there's a clear majority of black solids at the bottom of the pan. I tested this out by doing concentric-only box jumps and I managed to improve. Still, however, can't hit the cricket ball consistently.
I've experienced similar coordination problems and have always "feared" basketballs and other flying objects coming towards me. I have never played sports because when someone throws a ball towards me, I duck down and shield my face. I trip a lot, presumably on my own feet, and tend to run into things like doorways and other objects that most people probably don't find challenging. As for diet, I grew up on the low-fat 80's Snackwell's crap and evolved into a vegan. Now I eat paleo (with) dairy and have not considered diet as being a factor with my coordination. I've suspected that some of the coordination problems are a result of being extremely nearsighted and unable to wear contact lenses (only glasses). HOWEVER, I do not have any coordination problems when I am practicing yoga on the mat, and I have seen some improvement in coordination over the past 8 years that I have been doing yoga. Part of this could be due to going barefoot more often and developing the small muscles in the feet and ankles. Since I have started barefoot running and wearing Vibram shoes, I have stopped getting mysterious bruises everywhere from running into things. So, my suggestion is to go barefoot as often as possible, exercise your feet, and practice yoga a few times a week.
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