“Dyspraxia, also known as developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD), is a disorder that affects your movement and co-ordination.” – NHS website
Of all my conditions, I feel like dyspraxia (or DCD) is the one which is the one of the least known about – especially when people assume it’s the same as dyslexia, and they’re often grouped together.
I was officially diagnosed with dyspraxia in 2017, two years after the idea was first bought up by my Occupational Therapist at the time. The waiting time for an assessment was a long time, but we also had issues where I turned 16 and parts of the medical system change you to adult services at 16 and others at 18 – and that’s a whole other blog post. My family and I spent my childhood believing that I was just extremely clumsy and bad at sports. I couldn’t (and still somewhat struggle to) do my hair and I never managed to learn to ride a bike.
There’s been a lot of discussions on social media in recent times discussing that disabled children become disabled adults, and for me that’s really important as I turned 18 last year and I’m going to university in the autumn where I’m going to have to be completely independent. Just because I’m 18 doesn’t mean my coordination has suddenly improved and I can do all the random things that I previously couldn’t. There’s things that I come up against both daily and randomly like not being able to use knives properly or grating cheese, and if strangers ask me for directions they’re probably not going to get there.
I literally bump into anything and everything – in the corridors at school I used to bump into at least one person every time I moved classroom. But there’s things that are less obvious that I struggle with too, like being over-sensitive to light and moving my eyes and attention from one thing to another like the whiteboard at school to my laptop or a textbook. My short-term memory is also non-existent and I interrupt people a lot which I always feel awful for, but I’m not being rude – I just struggle with the perception of when to speak and following all the people in a conversation’s voices.
It is difficult to deal with a lot of the issues my dyspraxia brings because it makes me feel so behind other people my age and I often feel guilty about some of the issues it can cause for me. It’s definitely not talked about enough in older teens/young adults and is perceived as something only really seen in kids – when you’re someone older with it you’re just a nuisance, or unfortunately far too often assumed to be drunk. I’ve just invested in these badges in an attempt to combat that part.
If you’d like to learn more about dyspraxia, you can on the Dyspraxia Foundation or Dyspraxia UK websites. I hope this has given you a bit of an insight into the condition if it wasn’t really on your radar, or if you didn’t realise it was different to dyslexia!