Words by Rosie Edmondson.
Most people know what dyslexia is, but many don’t understand what dyspraxia is, and up to 50% of people with dyslexia also have dyspraxia, such as myself. It’s important that people are aware of dyspraxia and the impacts and positivity it can have on day to day life, many things people just simply take for granted.
Dyslexia mainly affects how people see written words either by reading, spelling, writing or a mixture of all 3. A lot of people also have memory difficulties and struggle with organisation and time keeping. Dyspraxia affects hand-eye co-ordination, special awareness (how your body is in space), fine and gross motor skills, processing information and some people can struggle with sensory overload. Some traits overlap both differences; organisation, memory, time keeping and processing information. They also share positive side effects such as thinking outside of the box, creativity and being able to see the bigger picture. Those with either or both of the differences also tend to share similar character traits, they are determined and have a hard working ethos; we never give up and want to prove people wrong who have said we can’t do things. They can also be very understanding, empathetic and tenacious.
In the media un-coordination is often seen as humorous on TV shows, such as You’ve Been Framed and in the early days of Laurel and Hardy.
Whilst being dyspraxic makes us able to laugh at ourselves, and see the funny side to clumsiness (I think that’s really important), it’s also a very real issue, which needs sensitive understanding. No two people are the same – their dyspraxia affects them in different situations. This Fixers video highlights some of these issues:
5 things you never knew about Dyspraxia:
- It’s the little things in life people take for granted, when most people get ready to leave to go out for the day, everything will be done automatically. When you’re dyspraxic you have to think and concentrate about every little detail and every movement our bodies make. Our lack of co-ordination can mean sometimes we walk awkwardly, or our movements can be quite clumsy. Things we can find difficult include, opening jars and using tin openers, brushing hair, pouring drinks or cooking food without spilling it and walking in a straight line.
- Spatial awareness is how our body is in space and distance, which means going down stairs, crossing the road and navigating ourselves in crowds and objects, without bumping into others or objects can be difficult. When we go down a flight of stairs, we have to judge the distance of each step as our bodies struggle to differentiate the distances. We often have to grab hold of the bannister to help us keep our balance. Crossing the road can be hard, as we can struggle judging the speed and distance between cars and will often bump into others in crowds of people or objects and have many bruises.
- Dyspraxia can effect fine motor skills such as using cutlery and scissors, being able to brush hair and do things most women take for granted, such as applying makeup and painting nails. All the fiddly things in life. Our lack of motor skills can mean we are often mucky pups and quite messy. But it doesn’t mean we don’t care.
- It can affect us in sensory environments, where there is a lot of noise or heat. If there’s lots of different conversations going on, they can get muddled up and we struggle to process the noise. Don’t be fooled if we appear quiet though, get us in a quieter environment and we can talk for days.
- It can make some people literal thinkers and take people literally, making us too trusting, so we need people to choose their language carefully, as we can sometimes get anxious and overwhelmed.
Dyspraxia like Dyslexia can make life a challenge, but just like Dyslexia, with the right help and understanding it doesn’t have to affect confidence, employment or independent living.
If you’d like to learn more about Dyspraxia go to: www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk
Bio: Rosie is 27 and has recently moved from Lancashire to London. She writes blogs, goes to concerts, takes her dogs for walks and likes all things creative. She is both dyslexic and dyspraxic and is passionate about raising awareness and helping people to see the positives of neurodiversity. www.thinkoutsideofthecardboardbox.blogspot.co.uk
The Codpast is a multimedia production from www.extraordinaire.tv