Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Turn the Tables and Let’s Look at Adults with Dyspraxia (dcd) Dyslexia and Sensory Processing    (spd) by Toby Lee Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013

Ever had a problem with your left and right, bumped into doors, worried about getting on and off escalators, coming out with random words when talking with friends, took something hot out of the oven without an oven glove…difficulty balancing…standing on one leg to wash your feet or dressing…had trouble tying shoe laces? Sensory Processing Disorder can complicate peoples’ lives in one or more senses.  For example, just touch or just sight or just movement, or in multiple senses…can you imagine having issues just by eating a hamburger or maybe a steak, having problems with gag reflex whilst in company (unable to chew tough meats affects so many), hating someone pushing you… maybe light or heavy contact with another person (holding hands or a hug)… texture of food and even clothing (I hated and still do the feel of cotton wool)…snoring.  Join my club… !

The pressure on carrying out many everyday tasks from showering, getting dressed and the relatively simple art of making a cup of tea… easy I hear you all say… not if you are dypraxic! You, like me, could have gone to college/university and become extremely well qualified and yet… we can still knock a drink over or bump into a person/object. I can remember being in Switzerland at a conference and had to get directions from the hotel to an ATM machine… easy enough you’d think!  First problem, they were not written instructions… second problem, this was a foreign country and the vehicles drive on the right so concentration was far greater… third problem, the cash machine was in Swiss and forth problem was getting back to the hotel… a little adventure all in itself and on top of this, frustration can often make easy tasks very difficult and is one of the very reasons our frustration can quickly turn in to a minor meltdown, which is so often the case with dyspraxics.

We can be exceptionally healthy and to many they wouldn’t have a clue that we have dcd (dyspraxia)… spd (sensory processing).  This would be fairly typical of someone with these conditions and they are part of an umbrella covering several conditions known as specific learning differences (SpLD).  These can be variable but will to some degree affect a person’s ability to process, amongst other things. This will in many cases challenge our levels of concentration and of course our retention and short-term memory (instruction).

Dyspraxia is part of the Dys family and affects around 6-10% of the population in one form or indeed can be co-morbid and share other specific leaning needs, including DSM5 (social communications disorder) and many dyspraxics would also have SPD (sensory processing disorder).
It would be reasonable to say that there are many others around you that share your specific learning need… me for one. There is a constant battle to remember to grab a cloth before I pick things up that are hot… double check the road before crossing… stop myself from pouring boiling water into the sugar bowl instead of the tea pot… how many times to you check your travel documents before you leave the house and like me have even stopped the car to check them again!

Time has been a massive thing for me and I drive many insane when I constantly go on about leaving on time and arriving on time… that build up of frustration and anxiety when we are stuck in traffic or worse still, break down.

Sleeping is a big issue too, due to not managing to process the day’s events or finish off an important task.  If I do manage to get to sleep, but wake up again, all this floods back into my mind and acts as a sleep inhibitor.  It wasn’t until I started to teach others with specific learning needs that the penny totally dropped with me and I realised that I too had dyspraxia.  There was no diagnosis until recent years, in many ways it was a huge relief.  I still had many traits but at last I could show others that I wasn’t stupid and clumsy… I was dyspraxic and after learning how to cope with this by constant practice and a great deal of thought before completing most tasks, I am here and I can smile and I personally derive so much from helping fellow dyspraxics and give them the benefit of all I have learnt in my troubled years.

Even my family final believed in me which meant so much.  It was hard for so many to accept, as dyspraxia is something that can baffle the best, even Psychologists often get fooled by a dyspraxic having a blinder of a day and many teachers fell in to the same trap.  We could spell words that many the same age couldn’t, we could remember stories from years past, we could watch a film and although not be able to name the actors, we could relay the story word by word!

I wanted to pursue an academic career, but due to not performing terribly well at school (teachers said I was next to useless), went into a practical field.  However, it kept at me and at me, until in the end I decided I wanted to teach and knew I would make a reasonably ok one…so I went to University in my early thirties.  It was tough at times but it was never going to beat me… many said it would but how wrong they were.  I had a lot of successful people around me and some within the family… I never thought jealousy was a positive trait so instead I turned their success into my inspiration and I hope those who read this can equate to or derive inspiration to drive themselves towards a happier place.

There were occasions were this was tough and I felt like throwing in the towel, but that would have only served to fuel the doubting Thomas’s.  I remember going to my first teacher training session and the words they came out with… well I spent nearly the entire week going through a dictionary to understand what they meant!  I was told my presentations were boring, so I worked harder and harder and in the end left them speechless!  I remember a few years after this being at a conference in London and the guest speaker came up to me during a break and said that he was dying to meet me and have a chat, I nearly fell over!  He said he had read a few of my articles and would like us to keep in touch!  Well, we all have our moments and we all have an equal part to play in life.

The more people that know about you and your specific learning needs (SPD...Dyspraxia) the better, they can gain a valuable insight into what its like having dyspraxia.  Get in touch with groups, schools, colleges, universities, scouts, youth clubs, specific learning needs support groups and give a light hearted presentation on dyspraxia and you.  The more that find out, the greater empathy will be shown to the young ones coming through life as we have done, which will benefit them and you only have to look at all the famous dyspraxics that have achieved many great things to see we can succeed!

Keep trying things to aid success… use post-it notes and push new information into the right side of your brain by using visual stimulation and remember… praxis makes perfect!

I can honestly say that dyspraxia can be a drain at times but, for the most part, you can learn skills to cope or circumnavigate problems… the positives are you have an amazing memory and are one of life’s caring and very understanding people with high emotions that can help so many..

Go and take on the world and when you get there, tell them all that you have dyspraxia and use it to inspire others.
We always write our articles for guidance and recommend that you seek professional advice if you have any concerns with yourself or your children.
Turn the Tables and Let’s Look at Adults with Dyspraxia (dcd) Dyslexia and Sensory Processing    (spd) by Toby Lee Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment