Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Public Transport

Public transport buses, trains etc. can be quite daunting for some people whether neurodiverse or not especially if travelling somehwere new or on your own. if its a journey that you know you will be doing regularly like a new school or workplace it gets a lot easier and becomes a part of your routine although if its a one off journey you may not be that comfortable and there might be bits of the journey that you dont know like where to go to get from train to bus or how to get to the next platform for me when im at train stations i dont know i often doubt myself and start thinking am i in the right on the right platform and in some cases is the next train the one i want to get on or not. when i first went to my high school i had to get a train and then a bus i found the train quite easy because it was a short journey i got on at the 1st stop and got off at the last but when it came to the bus i had no idea which bus went anywear near my school and i remmebr that there were two peoplein the same school uniform in front of me and when i got on the bus i just said the same things as them hoping it was the right place as this became a regular journey i got used to it and eventually i started to cycle or walk the bus part of the journey. sometimes not very often i travel to london by train which i can find a little bit awkward as some of the station are very big and quite busy and i can struggle to find my way around them and sometime si find myself looking around trying to work out where i am and where i need to be and more often than not i end up asking someone where the platform is hoping its fairly simple.
some useful tips are if you have a smart phone then you should be able to check times etc. if youre unsure and sometimes whether there are delays or you could have a small pocket size notepad and write down all the times and what platforms and any direction if needed.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Frustration

i find that i can get quite frustrated over some of the things associated with dyspraxia and wondering whether this happens to most people with dyspraxia or just a few. ive seen it mentioned a few times on group discussions controlling emotions over small things but not quite being angry.
for me personally the little frustrations happen fairly often but not that often and its genereally that kind or rghhh! moment and this seems to be when the simple things or things that i know i can do fine most of the time then go wrong and  alot of it is generally dyspraxia related stuff like bashing my toe, tripping up stairs, walking into a door as your opening it, dropping the same thing repeatedly or dropping food.
when this sort of stuff keeps on happening repeatedly throughout the day the levels of frustration can rise which also happens when things out of my control go wrong or stop working (technology) for no reason and when it gets to this point i generally end up giving whatever it is or the nearest solid inanimate object a forceful tap although i have got a lot better at not doing this as not being able to judge your strength can lead to some broken items occassionally howveer as a child i used to be very angry/upset a lot of the time i think this was probably because i struggled with things such as doing a tie quite a lot and didnt think kii would be able to do these things.
genreally id do find that it is just the small slightly annoying things that do frustrate me, howvere i do find that when i do get frustrated with myself (the 1st scenario) it can lead to me dropping more things leading me to be a bit more frustrated which just creates this cycle.
howvere one way of coping with this or stopping yourself from getting frustrated at yourself or duyspraxic moments is to be able to kind of joke about it and accept you are having a bit more of a clumsy/dyspraxic day.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Driving

Driving is quite a common topic among the many different platforms and support groups for Dyspraxia and quite often its questions such as can a dyspraxic drive or is it harder for someone with Dyspraxia to drive.
the answer to the first question is yes people with dyspraxia can drive either or both a manual and automatic and to answer the second question i think it mostly depends on the person some people take a long time to pass and some people pass first time whether neurodiverse or not but i personally see it as learning  a new skill (which it is) and as with anything some people will find it more difficult than others however with dyspraxia it may take a little bit longer to adapt to driving with the need to be able to focus on more than one thing for driving.
my personal experiences of driving and learning to drive is that i started learning on my 17th birthday which i remember was a 2 hour lesson of which the first 30 mins-1 hour was meting the instructor who i'm pretty sure was aware i have dyspraxia as she had previously taught both my brother and my mum how to drive and i learnt in a manual and it wasn't anything i ever thought about at the time as the driving lesson were a birthday present so also during that first lesson was getting used to what does what in the car and feeling for the biting point of the clutch and as its pretty much a certainty to happen to most people is in the first few lessons i can remember stalling quite a lot and a few late/early gear changes.whilst i was having my lessons i took my theory test which i passed first time and the majority of that as people may know is about safety and road sign/marking and scenario knowledge which i think my cycling has helped with quite a lot and as its multiple choice it is possibly easier for some people and then a few weeks before my 18th birthday i passed my practical driving test at the 2nd attempt and even though it took a year to pass i probably had approximately 25-30 hours of lessons in that time with holidays etc. however different people take longer and lots of people don't pass first or second or even third time for example i think my brother had over 10 tests overall (combined practical and theory) and hes the one in the family that really likes cars.
 i would like to say however that it was after passing my test that had been some of the best but also most challenging experiences of driving and having your own car because as teenager you pass your test and want to start driving straightaway and my parents did get me a second hand car ford escort ( i think for my 18th birthday). i never actually drove that car due to incredibly high insurance a couple of months later i was put onto my mums car insurance for 1 month and i drove that once or twice around quiet areas of town with my dad who didn't like that i occasionally looked down at the gear stick to change gear and quite soon after this my dad bought a different car 2nd hand automatic (this was after selling the ford escort) and that is the car that i currently use and although i've had my license for more than 5 years now i am only into my 2nd year of driving having gone to university in a city where there was not much point to having a car and then when i started driving again once i had come home from university and started driving again i had to get used to it and that took sometime.
i am thinking that i would like to start driving a manual again even though i like driving my automatic as it is quite 'easy' you don't need to worry about changing gear can focus on whats happening on the road around you but i would like to make sure that i'm still able to drive a manual car fairly comfortably.
when learning or considering whether to learn to drive or not and unsure about whether to go an auto or a manual my advice would be to start off with a manual, make sure you find an instructor that suits and understands you and see how you get on in the first few (5 or so) lessons don't worry about stalling or not changing gear correctly even experienced drivers sometimes make these types of mistakes sometimes quite frequently the reason that i suggest this is that if you pass your test in a manual they you have the option to choose what type of car you want whereas if you pass in an automatic you can only legally drive an automatic. and a bit of advice for people who do drive or are new to driving i would say is to not worry about what other drivers are thinking for example there is nothing wrong with going 5,10 mph under the speed limit sometimes 20 even(e.g. 50 on a 70 road is fine) and if there are impatient people close behind you that's their problem as long as your driving safely within the laws of the road it should never be a problem.
the speed limit is the limit not the target.
thanks for reading this blog and i hope some of it at least is useful for people

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Names

Dyspraxia has had many different names over the years and there is still a little lack of certainty over exactly what to call it now although as far as i'm aware there is currently two widely recognised and accepted names which are Dyspraxia and Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD) which is definitely a step in the right direction from some of the negative term used in the past and this blog is going to go through many of these terms.
starting with the most common of the older and more negative terms to be used for dyspraxia which is clumsy child syndrome which is clearly quite negative and inaccurate as dyspraxia is not something that only affects children and although it is easy to see why this term may have been used in the past as clumsiness is often a very common trait of people who have dyspraxia however it is not the only thing involved and the term clumsy child syndrome may promote the idea that it is. this may also have lead to a belief that the people were not intelligent because they were unable to carry out a "simple" task. however the term clumsy child syndrome is very rarely used now and in my experience if it is its as a previously referred to or known as which may help when trying to explain as the current most used terms are fairly recent developments.
two more of the much older terms that have been used, both of which are very negative, are minimal brain damage and motor morons which i only found out was a term that was used whilst i was doing my dissertation at university and it is clear to see why these terms are negative and have not been commonly used terms with one suggesting brain damage which i believe has been proven not to be the case otherwise we would have a cause and the other term motor morons which suggests idiotic or stupid which we also know not to be the case as many people who have dyspraxia are shown to actually be quite intelligent.
moving on to a more professional or medical term which is perceptuo-motor dysfunction which seems to be a perfectly acceptable term to be used as it means neurological motor difficulties/problem and i can see why it is not used that much if at all especially with there now being DCD and Dyspraxia as it could seem quite complex or too medical to some
personally (as you may be able to tell) i prefer the term Dyspraxia over developmental co-ordination disorder partly because i feel that DCD could potentially lead some people into believing co-ordination is the only aspect or difficulty which we know it isnt. the main reason i prefer the term dyspraxia is because as 1 word it doesnt seem to create any possible preconceptions (unless you translate it from very old greek to modern english dys=poor and praxia/praxis=practice/movement) as well as this it also has a clear and obvious link to dyslexia and dyscalculia and with them often occurring together it could be useful for the awareness and understanding of all of the 'conditions'.
hopefully this blog makes some people more aware of what others mean when they use different terms.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Explaining Dyspraxia

the many, many different ways in which dyspraxia affects people i find can make it very difficult to properly explain to people what dyspraxia actually is especially in a more general/everyday setting when you have a limited amount of time in a conversation and when i have time to actually think about explaining dyspraxia i tend to describe it as a "learning" disability (or neurodiversity) that affects people both physically and mentally (learning etc.) and if i am able to i also add that dyspraxia affects different people in different ways which is accurate but probably doesn't mean that much to many people as it is still quite vague and doesn't really explain how it affects people or what the affect on people is, which is where we get into the explanations that only seems to focus on one thing which would be fine if you had time but could possibly lead to misconceptions that all dyspraxic people have poor handwriting, are clumsy etc. etc. but that misses out the difficulties with organisation, planning, memory and probably the biggest factor that people with dyspraxia think and learn in different ways which is quite hard to explain in itself.
this explaining dyspraxia in regular conversation setting is something i sometimes struggle with because i find a lot of the time after i mention one thing the other person moves the conversation on or have to go and do something else which means there is a possibility that person leaves thinking that dyspraxia only affects co-ordination or is just physical difficulties rather than having a very basic understanding of the condition as a whole.
my advice to anyone else who perhaps has difficulty with explaining what dyspraxia is to others is to
1. try and keep it short if you have and just give an overview
2. however dont focus on one aspect or just the struggles
3. direct or encourage them to look online for information aswell
and if you can know a little about that person(s) you're talking to e.g. if there a teacher or work in an environment with children or disability in general as you may be able to focus the explanation

if people reading this have a way to explain dyspraxia quickly that works for you share them in the comments below as it may make it easier for others.