How Dyspraxia has Challenged Me
As a child, I was always picked last for sports. I couldn’t run without stumbling over or hurting my legs somehow, and when it came time to kick the ball and score the winning goal, I couldn’t even connect my foot with the ball. I always suspected something was “wrong” with me. I wasn’t wired the same, didn’t work right. No matter what I did I somehow fell short and whatever was the matter with me, I couldn’t fix it.
When my teacher tested our handwriting so we could graduate to pens, I was the only person who had to keep writing in pencil. These problems chased me into teenage and young adult life, causing me to be bullied relentlessly by my peers and made fun of non stop. I was a clumsy fool, the village idiot. I didn’t know what was wrong with me until a fateful trip to the doctor’s office one day: I had Dyspraxia.
Dyspraxia is a condition relating to movement and co-ordination in the same way Dyslexia is to reading, or Dyscalculia is to maths. The issue is though, with Dyspraxia when compared to other learning disabilities is that as humans we are always moving in some capacity. We are either typing, or writing or walking or playing and all of these daily activities become dominated by dyspraxia and the self esteem issues it brings with it. Something such as dyscalculia on the other hand is less invasive as we are not always doing maths and working with numbers.
In this way, dyspraxia can pervade all aspects of life and can cause one to doubt one’s self worth. Thoughts such as “I can’t even walk right” or “I’m not as good as the others” become commonplace once something like walking straight becomes a challenge. My ability to drive and to write are called into question; two things which I try my best on and still manage to fall short. It’s a daily struggle to be accepted and treated the same as others, as the respect they grant each other eludes me due to my tendency to knock things over as I walk by or spill a drink in my hand. Dyspraxia may as well be called comic relief syndrome, because of the effects it has on the people who suffer from it.
Furthermore, it is very unknown to the general public. Barely anyone knows what this condition is, nor do they seem to care. It used to be jokingly called Clumsy Child Syndrome, an insult to those who suffer from it. SENCOs often briefing on what the condition is, and ask questions about what it entails.
To those who may have or suspect they have dyspraxia, I have this to say: be proud. Tell the world of your hidden gift. Never apologise for your condition as those with dyspraxia are renowned for having excellent memories and are typically very emotionally intelligent. Representation is on the rise for dyspraxia, with Doctor Who even having a dyspraxic companion in recent months. However, more needs to be done before the condition is widely recognised.