Friday, 1 April 2016

Dyspraxia Awareness

I always see dyspraxia as the underdog in the world of neurodiversity, the different way of thinking people have never heard of or the one people know the least about. Whilst awareness has come a long way since I was growing up and there is more basic knowledge, there still is quite a long way to go.

Recently there has been quite a lot of media interest surrounding more well known neurodiverse differences and difficulties such as: autism and dyslexia very rightly so,  this is very important and needed, as whilst there may be more awareness, there often isn't the understanding and acceptance there. But I don't want dyspraxia to be brushed under the carpet or seen as the same as dyslexia or autism which is going to cause misunderstandings as to what dyspraxia is and how it affects people. Over the years I've been asked quite a few times "do I mean dyslexia?" or if I am autistic given the way I see the world. Whilst yes I am dyslexic, and dyspraxia does have overlaps with the autistic spectrum, I'm also Rosie. I just think it's important that dyspraxia is known in it's own right as dyspraxia.

Dyspraxia is often misunderstood, and no two people are the same, each of us are very unique in our strengths and weaknesses. These misunderstandings can cause bullying and ignorance and difficulties with self esteem, confidence and mental health. When you see other aspects of neurodiversity featured heavily in the media it does start to affect your confidence slightly and how you see yourself, and I think if dyspraxia was more well known a lot more dyspraxics and their families would feel more confident about themselves.

Dyspraxia is simply so much more than someone being a bit clumsy, it can affect co-ordination, balance, fine motor skills, spatial awareness, sensory sensitivity and social skills. But we also have a lot to offer this world each in our own unique way, we have untapped potential that often even we are unaware of often submerged by low self esteem and worth. When I go to Dyspraxia Foundation Conferences what always strikes me is the sheer passion and determination in the room.

Being dyspraxic has caused many misunderstandings over the years about who I am, what I could and couldn't do and what I could achieve in life. So many times I was shamed in front of others for making mistakes, told that I would never get anywhere, be able to hold down a job and that I was slow, careless, socially odd, not trying hard enough and messy. This lead to anxiety issues over making mistakes both in the workplace and day to day life, and I began to overthink every tiny mistake and how it could be interpreted. I also began to appologise so much in case I might of unintentionally upset someone and worrying became second nature to me. I remember once a friend telling me that she'd told her mum I was her clumsy friend, at the time I laughed it off and it is true I am clumsy, but there's so much more to me than that.

 Everyone deserves a chance and a little bit of time and empathy in life. It has also made me determined to prove those who doubted me wrong, and I have worked very hard to get to be where I am now as a learning support in a college, encouraging other dyspraxics who have those same worries and confidence issues I've had.

Social acceptance and the social side of dyspraxia is something I've covered quite a lot in my recently in my blogs and something I know it is something I discuss with  Alice quite frequently how there needs to be more understanding out there on how it feels to be different from your peers, maybe having different interests or enjoy socialising in a different but still fulfilling way (Do check out her blog about time, understanding and empathy.) Growing up I had no idea people like Alice existed, I just thought it was Rosie being Rosie so never talked about anything I now blog so passionately about. I feel like if dyspraxia was more well known than the worries which come with this would be reduced a little.

When eating out in restaurants or pubs like many dyspraxics I can be a very messy eater and in general quite a messy person, but there's always that worry that people may wonder why an adult makes so much mess. The amount of times I've ended up with my fork missing my mouth and let's just say my mum has gone through a lot of stain remover over the years.

As you're seeing a common theme here is anxiety and worry, The Dyspraxia Foundation found that 40% of dyspraxics feel anxious all the time, whilst a lot of this anxiety comes hand in hand for a lot of us who have both dyspraxia and anxiety, if dyspraxia was more recognised some of the more social anxiety issues maybe could be eased slightly.

Doing the awareness work I do which often involves speeches and media work will never be something I find easy given my social anxieties, but I am willing to put myself in quite uncomfortable circumstances and take up any opportunity I can if it means dyspraxia can get more awareness. If I am lucky enough to be shortlisted for the National Diversity Awards - https://nominate.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/Nominate/Endorse/29669?name=Rosie%20Edmondson - I hope to use it to promote awareness and celebrate what we can offer in life as well as raising the profile of dyspraxia. Thank you so much for your kindness already and lovely words it has meant so much to me. If my blogs help then please keep clicking the above link.

Whilst nobody can understand fully what it is like to have a neurodiverse difference or difficulty unless you have one yourself, we can all try and put ourselves in someone else's shoes.  Empathy can go a long way in life. Lets keep flying the dyspraxia flag high up into the sky raising awareness, *drops flag* and continues waving.

For more, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter for more dyspraxia awareness :)




6 comments:

  1. Thank you for summing this up in great detail. I can finally explain to people how I feel and how hard it is day to day. People did think I was just clumsy and just strange. I realise that there are others like me and it makes me less anxious.

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  2. Both my son and daughter are dyspraxic my son struggled all through school and was only diagnosed when he went to collage my daughter was diagnosed at uni both have got degrees with honours my son works for a computer company as a soft Ware engineer in research and development my daughter is a youth worker after having a year in Australia working and travelling nothing has stopped them they are both highly intelligent People and I am one very proud mother they are also both dyslexic too

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  3. Both my son and daughter are dyspraxic my son struggled all through school and was only diagnosed when he went to collage my daughter was diagnosed at uni both have got degrees with honours my son works for a computer company as a soft Ware engineer in research and development my daughter is a youth worker after having a year in Australia working and travelling nothing has stopped them they are both highly intelligent People and I am one very proud mother they are also both dyslexic too

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  4. A superb piece. Well done... From an Irish dyspraxic

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  5. I was diagnosed with dyspraxia at birth, but wasn't aware of my condition until the age of 8, which was when I began physiotherapy. With the help from my physiotherapist, I learned how to write properly, learned how to stand on my own two feet, and other motor skills. I'm now 20, and still struggle with simple things, like swallowing (only when I am hot) and walking in heels.

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  6. Great to be spreading awareness. I had always been very clumsy, easily overwhelmed by loud noises and multiple sources of noise finding it unbearable finding things that others found so easy nearly impossible and was only when I got to uni that it finally got picked up on. I'd always had help with homework through school from my mum who is very good. I've always been very sensitive to many things finding a sad story so incredibly sad in still crying days later and feeling every 'normal' stumble a huge failure crawling into my shell again feeling like a massive disappointment, the anxiety that takes over every aspect of the day and low mood that comes with it have dictated my life for too many years. It's only now I'm aware of what it is and been told that I'm not stupid and have actually done incredibly well considering how difficult tasks can be that are easy to others. finally in a rewarding career working in a highly structured environment in mental health and feel so proud to have got my degree. I couldn't have done it without the support of great family, friends , supportive employers and university support, I guess what I'm trying to say is that that don't have dyspraxia don't understand how much of an impact it has and spreading awareness to help people aware of it and be able to not see you as the stupid, slow weird and socially awkward person but recognise you're individual strengths and give the time to grasp new tasks, new environments and feel supported , all help make you feel normal whatever that is

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