Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), or as most know it, dyspraxia is a disorder that affects motor coordination in individuals; it can have a significant impact on day-to-day living for all those who suffer, diagnosed or not. It is absolutely crucial that we raise dyspraxia awareness, as it’s often misunderstood or a hidden condition.
I received my dyspraxia (and dyslexia combined) diagnosis in February 2015 at age 18. I have talked about my struggles from time-to-time in this small space of the internet, as honestly, dyspraxia alone can make life difficult to navigate at times.
However, it does not rule nor determine my life in any way. I don’t let it. I’ve developed ways to overcome the symptoms that linger over me all day, every day.
Raising Dyspraxia Awareness!
October 8th-14th marks Dyspraxia Awareness Week 2017, which is all about spreading awareness and helping those who have fallen under the radar whilst at school and therefore going without the proper help/attention required to succeed.
It’s hard to explain exactly what dyspraxia is and how it affects me personally. It is so varied from person-to-person and it intersects into making aspects of daily life. Here is just a few that I find hard at times: coordination/movement (I come across as clumsy from time-to-time, I can’t actually help it), time management but my degree certainly helped with mastering this one and being a picky eater, it’s the textures that I cannot get over.
But my diagnosis was one of the best things to ever happen to me; as it allowed me access to help for something that I thought it was normal to have. I don’t know any different as dyslexia and dyspraxia are just part of what it means to be ‘Channon’.
I have many ‘natural to me’ strategies in place to overcome my learning differences. It’s so instinctive to me that honestly, it was only after being labelled as ‘dyspraxic’ that I even realised all of the seamless things I do without thinking.
You should never let a diagnosis of dyspraxia hold you back. Use it to your advantage; it’s a way of being that for as long as you have coping mechanisms in place obtained through your own research, knowledge of yourself or professional help, life can be lived to its fullest.
Don’t let dyspraxia ‘ruin your life’…
I’d first recommend that as an individual with dyspraxia, you try your best to stay organised. This helps me with my dyslexia too. Use a planner or calendar and map your days out. I use a ‘time management’ planner and at the start of the day, I slot in everything I have to do. It helps with my memory, another flaw with dyspraxia, and keeping on top of my schedule.
Second, simply try not to let it get you down or dampen your dreams. You can do it. It just might take a little longer. Every day is a battle but it is not impossible. You are not stupid, weak or incapable; all of those things are not true. With time, appropriate help and determination you will be able to achieve whatever you put your mind to.
Third, I know how frustrating it can be when your brain is telling you one thing but your body is doing another. Coordination is a complex problem. However, with dedication, practice and the right techniques, it can be improved. Work on it and don’t give up. Basic tasks such as getting dressed or walking in a straight line is usually a problem for us dyspraxic’s but it takes focus and willpower; as with the point above, you can and you will.
Fourth, and finally, dyspraxia is a hidden menace. It can be so annoying as it is not directly ‘evident’ from the outside. Dyspraxia comes across as clumsiness, stupidity, laziness or not being able to listen accurately. It can be tough on one’s self-esteem as well as relationships/friendships in general. I find myself justifying some of the things I do or explaining away my situation; cause let’s face it, when you spill a drink all down the front of you, in a room full of people, you get funny looks. It happens to me daily – I avoid white tops at all costs. By all means explain, but do not be made to feel guilty for that which you cannot help.
Once you learn to accept your dyspraxia diagnosis, so will others. I promise you that. Accept that sometimes you might need extra help, guidance or time to complete certain tasks. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed, you are not in this alone.
If you’d like to get in contact with me personally then either leave a comment below sharing your dyspraxia story or contact me here. I’m on a mission to raise dyspraxia awareness!