Dyspraxia is the disorganisation of thoughts, movement and speech. Everything works fine, the person with Dyspraxia can know what they want to say or do, but the connections between the brain and the different parts of the body aren’t in sync. However, it isn’t as simple as that. Dyspraxia can also affect short term memory, organisation, concentration, social communication, time management, planning, multitasking, processing and so much more!
THE TYPES OF DYSPRAXIA
When talking about Dyspraxia there are different types, which may need to be distinguished between when talking to certain people. Lets begin with why someone may have Dyspraxia. There is “Dyspraxia” and “Developmental Dyspraxia”. The first is for those who have acquired Dyspraxia from brain trauma, such as a stroke or a head injury. Developmental Dyspraxia is used for those who were born with Dyspraxia and is usually hereditary (others in their family will also have Dyspraxia). There are two other types dependent on how Dyspraxia affects someone. Dyspraxia can affect a person’s movement, “Coordination Dyspraxia”, or speech, “Verbal Dyspraxia”. So for example, I was diagnosed with Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia (DVD). This means that I was born with the difficulty to process my thoughts and communicate verbally. Although there is a difference between verbal and coordination dyspraxia, there will often be some overlapping. I may have DVD, but I still struggle with my balance and spatial awareness sometimes and someone with coordination dyspraxia may struggle with their veral coordination.
LIFE WITH DYSPRAXIA
Dyspraxia can cause people to have difficulties that “normal” people may have as well. Examples of this are: getting confused when things go wrong or adjusting to a new routine. This feeds into the notion that we are “normal” and just like to complain a lot. However, people with Dyspraxia and other learning difficulties will experience these hurdles more intensely. In fact, as dyspraxics, we experience everything more intensely. If we like something, we will become obsessive and want to know everything about it. On the other hand, when something goes wrong, it will disrupt everything in our lives for the day to even a year.
One way things are likely to overwhelm someone dyspraxia is when they try to balance too much. I sometimes find myself having to explain that, when I say my plate is full, I don’t have the average sized plate… it’s more like a saucer… Someone once said that most people can only focus on three things in their life at one time. The most important being our health. After that, there is family, friends, work, education and hobbies to choose from. But make sure to prioritise so that you are focusing on the three most important things! For example, at the moment my focus is: (1) my health; (2) work and (3) this blog. After a few months I will revisit this and decide if my time should be focused on other things. If anyone spreads their energy amongst too many things, they will experience stress, fatigue and may get ill.
Keeping these things in mind can help someone with Dyspraxia and their families navigate a world that is not designed for us. No matter what
Some days can be good and other days Dyspraxia can feel like it is on a rampage to ruin my life. This is when I will have something I call a ‘dyspraxic phase’, which can last a week to a year. During that time my short term memory will worsen, I will walk into everything, gravity will want me to fall everywhere and communicating my thoughts and feelings will become more scattered.
Of course this will be different for everybody due to the fact that, the effects of Dyspraxia will vary from person to person. The important thing to do is to find out how Dyspraxia might affect you and then self reflect on how it actually does. There are many effects that are caused by DyspraxiaIf you know and understand the problem, you can find tools to move past these difficulties. Then you can adapt and thrive in your environment.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of information out there on Dyspraxia – even if knowledge has grown since I was a child – and even less on Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia. There is also almost nothing to help adults and what has been written, is quite basic. It is like dyspraxic adults are supposed to just survive the lives we have been given, but we are capable of so much more. I want us all to thrive and enjoy our lives. The way we can do that is by helping and supporting each other.
Now, I know that sounds like a big task… there is only so much that we can do at any given time, but if we all input a little whenever we feel we can, we will definitely be able to grow together and be a positive influence on each other, whilst getting the support we need in return.
So, I hope this post has given you a bit more insight into what it is like to be dyspraxic. I realise that this post hasn’t gone into much depth, but there is just so much to talk about that one post will never be enough. Please let me know in the comments below if you have Dyspraxia or know someone with Dyspraxia and what this has been like. The more we voice the difficulties we face, the better understanding we will experience from our communities.
Tune in tomorrow for my next post where I will be writing further on some of the specific struggles of having DVD.
My best wishes for all of you.
NHS, (2016) “Developmental co-ordination disorder (dyspraxia) in children”, NHS | Choices, Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dyspraxia-(childhood)/Pages/Introduction.aspx, (accessed: 26/12/2016)
Dyspraxia Foundation, “Dyspraxia at a glance – What is Dyspraxia”, Available at: https://dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/about-dyspraxia/dyspraxia-glance/, (accessed: 26/12/2016)