I thought I’d start this blog by telling you a bit about myself and why I decided to write a blog in the first place. For years I’ve overcome many challenging experiences, so decided that it is about time I started to write it all down in an attempt to document them and express what its been like to be labelled as ‘different’. I was diagnosed with a developmental co-ordination disorder called Dyspraxia when I was three years old and since then have gone through numerous challenges. I have called this blog ‘a little more understanding’ and that is what I aim to do- create a greater understanding of Dyspraxia for my friends, family and people who may be going through similar situations. I feel that myself and others have and will constantly be misunderstood because of this label. Throughout school. university and work life there is and will remain a constant misunderstanding of Dyspraxia and specific learning difficulties until someone confronts and challenges it. I believe in the value of understanding the person behind the label before focussing on their medical diagnosis- many people in society miss this bigger picture.
Every week in this blog I will touch on a different aspect of Dyspraxia, explaining how it affects me and how I have dealt with it. Not many friends know that I have this diagnosis, I have attempted to keep it a secret. Partly because I’ve been afraid and embarrassed about what others might think. I was also very much aware of the ‘stigma’ associated with such difficulties and the need to fit in and be accepted when I was younger. I wanted people to focus on what I can do and not what I can’t do and I didn’t want to be judged because of my dyspraxia so I’ve completely avoided the subject until now.
The idea behind this blog came when I began to write a novel earlier this year about an eight year old girl with Dyspraxia, written through her eyes and describing things as a dyspraxic child would see them. The girl in this novel is based on me and describes real experiences I faced growing up. I started to write this novel because I wanted to express the feelings that Dyspraxic children face, often with the added stress of not understanding why they aren’t like other children. I then touched on the idea of writing a blog from an adults perspective and using my experiences described in the novel to develop a further understanding of dyspraxia and how it mutates into adulthood. As the novel develops I will share extracts here too.
Dyspraxia is a hidden condition. On the outside most people look ‘normal’ (I hate using that word) when on the inside it can be a daily struggle. I’ve always described it as being on the outside looking in on the crowd. I have felt very much like an outsider for much of my life, almost as if there’s a wall between me and the rest of the world. It takes so much effort and time to break down the wall so that I can feel included. Yet the wall is invisible to those around me and they are unaware of how hard I have to work to break the wall down. Dyspraxia has a long list of symptoms or traits that go with it- many I experience and many I don’t. Dyspraxia is unique to the individual and everyone has different experiences and ways of coping with challenges. You can’t put every Dyspraxic person into the same box.
There are also many advantages too. Dyspraxic people often think differently and find new creative ways of doing things. They may take longer to do something as they often take the scenic route but once they get there the outcome is just as good as the non-dyspraxic mind. Time and patience can go along way in supporting a dyspraxic person.
Throughout this blog I aim to identify further what these traits are and coping strategies I have used to deal with them over the years. I hope to raise awareness and develop an improved understanding of the issues related to dyspraxia, Mainly amongst those who know me personally but also on a wider scale too. I also hope to get people talking about it- as I have now discovered it isn’t something to hide away from and be ashamed of!