Will & Grace alum and Good Luck Charlie star Leigh-Allyn Baker opens up about motherhood and her son’s daily battle with dyspraxia in an exclusive five-part PEOPLE series.
Griffin has dyspraxia, a developmental disorder that affects coordination, among other things.
“He’s far advanced in many areas, but then there are other areas like standing on one foot, holding a pencil or writing that are just extremely difficult for him,” the actress tells PEOPLE ahead of her August Facebook Live chat with Dyspraxia Foundation USA.
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Baker – who also shares 4-year-old son Baker James with husband Keith Kauffman – says that Griffin didn’t begin showing symptoms that there was something wrong until he was a little over 3 years old.
“It was then that we noticed a pretty big change,” she explains. “He never chose a dominant side with his hands. That was the first clue. He used both hands to pretty much do everything.”
Griffin exhibited struggles in balance, and muscular and fine-motor weakness, but excelled in other areas: “talking, creativity, imagination, conversation, communication, engaging with people socially.”
Later, Griffin’s preschool noticed that he was having difficulty putting on his jacket, shoes and socks by himself and suggested Baker take him to see an occupational therapist.
“He was assessed for two sessions — an hour and a half to two hours each — and I thought they were gonna tell me his hands are a little weak and he needs to play with Legos,” she says. “I’ll never forget, she just said, ‘So, Griffin has dyspraxia.’ “
“I didn’t make a noise, tears just rolled down my face,” she shares. “I’ve never experienced that kind of emotion before.”
She notes that hearing “a big scary name” like dyspraxia is overwhelming. “I always feel like if I just had a crystal ball to see what his future would be like, I could breathe. I could relax more,” Baker admits.
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Now, 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.”
“The thing with life is that you’re constantly growing or learning – even as adults,” she says. “We have to adapt to situations. Life is alive and always on the move.”