Dispelling the myths about dyspraxia

I was diagnosed with dyspraxia at the age of eighteen, but it was present in my childhood.

Dyspraxia is a specific learning condition which can affect coordination and speech. There is currently no cure for the disability and the exact cause is unknown. However, it is suspected that when brain messages are transmitted to parts of the body the signals get muddled up like tangled wires.

I have read and heard many myths surrounding dyspraxia. Today I will attempt to dispel some

Myth One: I cannot see dyspraxia, therefore it must not exist

Dyspraxia is a specific learning condition, but sometimes is referred to as an 'invisible disability'. This does not mean it does not exist; but rather that you are unable to identify someone with the disability just by looking at them. This term can also be applied to other conditions including Crohn's disease, which I additionally have.

Myth Two: People with dyspraxia are just clumsy individuals

Dyspraxia can impact coordination; both at 'gross' motor level - for instance poor hand-eye coordination and the tendency to fall/trip/bump into things and people - and at 'fine' motor level, which affects manual dexterity and manipulative skills, including using cutlery, writing, drawing and playing musical instruments.

Dyspraxia can further affect many other areas, including learning, thought and memory, speech and social skills. I, for instance, find playing football with my cousin hard, but also observe being around new people as challenging, partly out of fear I will do or say something 'wrong' or misread a non-verbal signal.

Me, aged 10, with my cousin

Myth Three: People with dyspraxia are 'stupid'

People with Dyspraxia are far from 'stupid'. They are bright, wonderful individuals. With support and strategies in place in schools, work and at home they can achieve their fullest potential.

When I started secondary school I found studying English demanding to the extent I had to take 'Learning Support' lessons instead of French. We spent triweekly one-hour lessons working on literary, language and speaking skills. The department were very encouraging and so were many of my teachers. It was because of their support I began to enjoy English to the point I have now graduated from university with a First Class Honours Degree in English Literature and Creative Writing.

Myth Four: There is no support offered to those with dyspraxia

There has been an increased level of support offered to those with dyspraxia. This can vary from occupational and speech therapy to examination adjustments. The Dyspraxia Foundation is a brilliant charity helping those with Dyspraxia and their families.

Myth Five: People with dyspraxia do not possess any positive attributes

People with dyspraxia have many wonderful attributes. They are creative, compassionate and determined individuals. I have had the fortune of meeting many and hearing lots of inspirational stories as well.

I hope to have dispelled some dyspraxia myths in this article. As a last point, just because we have dyspraxia does not mean we cannot be fantastic as well.

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