Leigh-Allyn Baker, who played a mom of five on Disney’s popular “Good Luck Charlie” series, doesn’t just play a concerned mom on television. In real life, she’s mother to two little boys—one of which has dyspraxia, a developmental coordination disorder that affects fine motor skills.
When her oldest son, eight-year-old Griffin, was three years old, Baker started to notice that things weren't quite right.
She told People Magazine, “It was then that we noticed a pretty big change. He never chose a dominant side with his hands. That was the first clue. He used both hands to pretty much do everything.”
However, while Griffin struggled to keep his balance or to write, Baker said she noticed he excelled at “talking, creativity, imagination, conversation, communication, engaging with people socially.”
A little while later, his preschool noticed that he had difficulty putting on his jacket, socks, and shoes. At that point, the actress took her son to see an occupational therapist.
Baker shared that the therapist assessed her son for two sessions before giving his diagnosis. “I thought they were gonna tell me his hands are a little weak, and he needs to play with Legos,” she said. “I’ll never forget, she just said, ‘So, Griffin has dyspraxia.’”
When Baker heard the diagnosis, she was stunned, knowing that it was something that would likely impact her son for the rest of his life. “I didn’t make a noise, tears just rolled down my face,” she said “I’ve never experienced that kind of emotion before.”
Griffin is now eight years old, and his mother described him as a “smart, talkative, and creative child,” but she added, “there are other areas like standing on one foot, holding a pencil or writing that are just extremely difficult for him.
Since her son’s diagnosis, Baker has dedicated “every modicum of free time” to finding ways to improve Griffin’s brain function and “give him the best shot for his future possible.”
But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t think her son can be a functioning adult as he currently is. She told People, “The thing with life is that you’re constantly growing or learning – even as adults… We have to adapt to situations. Life is alive and always on the move.”