I have Dyspraxia.
I am currently 21, and I was 20 years old when I was told I had Dyspraxia.
I’ve noticed problems with my memory, coordination, movement and balance for a long time, and if I’ve ever asked why I am the way I am, I’ve just been told I’m clumsy. I asked to be tested for dyspraxia and dyslexia when I was in college, because that is when I first heard about what it was, but I was told that I was fine and did not need it.
I was only diagnosed in university. This was because they did a screening as you registered and it picked it up. I was then sent to an occupational therapist where they did more testing and I was finally diagnosed.
Dyspraxia is a ‘Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), it affects fine and/or gross motor coordination’. It is unknown what causes Dyspraxia, and it is not something that is grown out of as a child enters adulthood.
Dyspraxia affects many people differently, it can affect coordination, movement, speech, writing, balance, posture, gait, grasping of objects, difficulty in dressing or applying makeup etc., visual perception, sensitive to touch, cooking, emotions, memory and much much more.
Once I was diagnosed, I wasn’t told exactly what Dyspraxia was, so I started doing a little research.
Honestly, I felt relief when I started reading around Dyspraxia, because so many moments in my life now have an explanation.
I have always been known as clumsy to my friends and family, and I really am very clumsy. I can manage to trip over in the most open of spaces, I bump into people and things around me – I usually have constant bruises where I’ve walked into door frames, doors, tables, lamp posts … I could go on.
I’m also pretty sure a newborn deer has better balance than I do, I cannot stand on one leg, and if I was ever pulled over and asked to walk in a straight line I would fail. Sometimes, when I go to pick something up, it can take me 5 attempts to actually grab what it is I’m wanting, and it is so frustrating!
I just thought I was weird, and that I was just annoyingly clumsy – which I guess I maybe am – but it’s because I have dyspraxia.
It was only last month that I fell up the stairs at university – twice – which was mortifying. I fell over 2 years ago and managed to break my ribs. I’ve fallen over so many times that I’d be rich if I had a pound for everytime I’ve done it!
I have terrible hand eye coordination, all of our crockery has chips in because I put them away with too much force and because I think that I’m putting them in the right place and then hit them on a cabinet, or smash them together – it is hard to explain, but we don’t buy expensive crockery because of this.
While my writing is quite neat, I have been told that I tend to grip my pens weirdly – and too hard which usually results in cramp within 15 minutes!
‘Lack of awareness of body position in space and spatial relationships. Can result in bumping into and tripping over things and people, dropping and spilling things’ – I read this on a website and related so much to it I started laughing, because it makes me feel so much better knowing that this is ‘normal’ for me and I’m not weird.
Memory is another issue. If somebody gives me more than one job to do you can gaurentee I’ll only remember one of them – sometimes I forget them all! I lose things all the time, I even managed to leave my phone in a lecture the other day at university! I’m very easily distracted too, I’m not sure if this is my anxiety or dyspraxia – maybe both – but I see a spec of dust and that’s it, I lose concentration in a lecture!
To read up on Dyspraxia, I have used the Dyspraxia Foundation website – link at the bottom of the page – who are fantastic. They explained everything so well and clear, and have really helped me understand why I am the way I am.
My brain is wired a little differently to other peoples. I find it difficult to organise my thoughts. I find it difficult to walk up and down stairs as I tend to trip a lot, and then I get nervous that I will trip which makes it even more difficult. When I eat, I tend to make a mess – the running joke in my household is that I’m getting a baby bib for Christmas.
I can find it difficult to keep organised, time management is difficult for me and just generally organising myself.
I think there needs to be more awareness of this disorder. I’ve had people make fun of me for my clumsiness – which usuaully doesn’t bother me – but as a child it did. I’ve had people make fun of me when I’ve stuttered in conversations, or because my memory is terrible and people tend to think I’m ignorant.
It would be great if there was more help for my with Dyspraxia, and if more people knew what it was and that is does exist. It’d be great if people understood that Dyspraxia can affect anyone, and that even as an adult, I still struggle with certain tasks and situations.
Thank-you to the Dyspraxia Foundation, for helping me understand myself!