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.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Dyspraxia and the Paralympics? (disability sport)

i've decided to write this blog after seeing the latest video from Krystal on the Paralympics and some disabilities not being included which you can see here http://bit.ly/2d88WQ8
im going to start by also linking to the article by the Guardian that krystal mentions in her video http://bit.ly/2cHmVOv it wasn't until i first saw this article a year or so ago that i was aware there ever was any sporting competition/category that allowed people with dyspraxia and similar conditions to compete against each other which is the S17 category.the dyspraxia foundation also put out a statement urging the international Paralympic committee to reconsider their decision http://bit.ly/2cI0d98
from what i understand from the article in the guardian,this category has not been included in the Paralympics but has been in other national and international disability events, but now the S17 category in the view of the international Paralympic committee (IPC) does not exist and in the article it is mentioned that the amateur swimming association and British swimming are not including/supporting this category anymore due to the fact that these disabilities are not internationally recognized e.g. Britain being the only country that recognizes these conditions as disabilities. however other sports may have different views and may be able to support a category for these conditions in their sport for example the football association in England has a section for learning impairments but these impairments have to impact sporting performance in some way i do believe in football atleast at an amateur level learning impairments are included in the cerebral palsy 7-aside game sometimes.
in my view this exclusion of disability seems wrong and especially so from the IPC as a comment in the article says the Paralympic legacy is inclusion and this seems to be exclusion especially as there is no event for those with dyspraxia and/or similar conditions to compete against each other as the special Olympics also does not have a category for dyspraxia or any SpLD and Asperger's (high functioning autism) and eligibility to the special Olympics is very similar to the Paralympic category of S14 for athletes with learning disabilities but is judged on IQ and as Krystal mentions in her video many people who are neurodiverse actually have quite high IQ's so those who were eligible for the S17 criteria are not likely to be eligible for the S14 category or the special Olympics whose criteria you can see here http://bit.ly/2cIkPwk
however having said all of this due to the nature of conditions such as dyspraxia and similar conditions such as they can affect different people to very different levels plus how common they are. this means that there is a good possibility that there are elite able bodied and para-athletes that may actually have dyspraxia (whether they are aware of it or not) but many sports have a culture of making sure there are no signs of weakness shown or anything that could be considered a weakness this leads to people not being open about it (especially during their careers) so there ends up being no role models for young aspiring athletes/sportspeople in the same situation causing a vicious cycle although i did recently see something about a rugby player being open about having dyspraxia which may over time become very helpful.
hopefully this blog has made this situation as clear as possible and ive tried to link to as many of the documents that ive used as well as using my experience having looked into this before.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Dyspraxia and its links to other diversities (co-occurring conditions)

this blog post is going to focus on the other difficulties/disabilities that often seem to occur alongside dyspraxia with brief overviews of them.

i am going to start by saying there is some thought that it is extremely rare for Dyspraxia to occur in isolation as well as some thought that certain condition wont or shouldn't occur alongside dyspraxia due to similarities in my opinion i thin k there may be some truth to be both opinions and i wouldn't say it was definitive either way especially due to the wide array of things that can be apart of dyspraxia which could cause confusion over whether someone has multiple conditions or whether the difficulties they face are a part of their dyspraxia.
probably the most common or the most well known of the difficulties to occur alongside dyspraxia is Dyslexia which is predominately a difficulty with language and words there is also Dyscalculia which is a difficulty with numbers/maths and is sometimes referred to as number Dyslexia as well as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dyspraxia there is Dysgraphia which is a difficulty with writing, mostly handwriting.
Autism or Autism spectrum disorder is another it is also the one that creates confusion as it is the disability that some suggest shouldn't occur alongside Dyspraxia due to how similar some aspects of both conditions are (however some people are diagnosed with both) there is also question marks over whether dyspraxia is or should be a part of the autistic spectrum. Natalie (the blog with one post) has done a blog on  this http://bit.ly/2cOcPNu
another condition that often occur alongside Dyspraxia is sensory processing disorder which seems quite self explanatory as a difficulty with processing senses, this is another difficulty that could be causing confusion due to sensory difficulties already being quite a large part of dyspraxia for some people.
hyper and hypo flexibility is something that can occur on its own as well as many dyspraxics having it as well and this affect the range of movement you have in your joints with Hyper meaning more than the normal range of movement and hypo meaning less than the normal range hyper-flexibility may be more commonly referred to as double jointedness.
ADHD (attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder) is something that often occurs with many neurodiverse conditions including dyspraxia and is difficulty or poor attention span and this sometimes leads to hyperactivity however not all the time and this hyperactivity is not always obvious it could be just fidgeting such as moving tapping of the foot or hand.
there is also verbal dyspraxia which is difficulty with speech or making certain sounds or controlling volume and pitch of voice this is sometimes referred to as apraxia of speech which is slightly confusing as there is a difference between apraxia and dyspraxia, which is that Dyspraxia is a developmental disorders whereas Apraxia is Acquired dyspraxia this could potentially happen after a stroke for example.
 a final thing to note is that it is suggested that people who have learning/neurological difficulties such as these mentioned in this post are alot more likely to suffer with mental health difficulties especially if they are not supported.

i hope that this blog has helped some people understand some of the things that can occur alongside dyspraxia and a very small amount of what these conditions are.