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Embracing The Klutz: Dyspraxia Lived

Ok time for a short TMI about my life story.

Everyone knows what Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is. Everyone knows what Dyslexia is. Everyone knows what the Autism Spectrum is. Few, at least in the United States, know what what Dyspraxia is.

Dyspraxia is a more colloquial term; the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual labels the condition developmental coordination disorder. Now, instead of listing of the symptoms like a report, I'm going to go into the recesses of my childhood to unearth them for you.

Starting at the beginning, the first few years of life. I was extremely sensitive to noise as a young child, and well that really hasn't changed, but that's a tangent. I honestly hated things like thunderstorms. I was late to crawling and walking. While I have forgotten sign language, I did use it as a young child because I was speech delayed. I wasn't able to speak in intelligible sentences until about age 3 or 4, but as my mom points out as soon as I could talk I didn't stop. Now this is just the infant and toddler years. Once I reached school age, other problems started to appear.

As I continued in school, and life, other problems cropped up. When I began to learn how to write, I had trouble holding a pencil correctly; this led to me using a pencil grip. A problem that persisted into these years was my problem with speech; I remember in elementary school being taken away from the rest of the students to do speech therapy. My struggle was syllables such as "th", "Sh", and "s". Also, one major milestone which children pass is riding a bike. It took me at a year to learn how to ride a bike, and I was probably seven or eight when I finally able to ride a bike. To this day, I can't really manually break on a bikes, so when shopping for a bike I tend to like ones that have hand breaks, since it's easier for me to work those.

I did play sports when I was in middle school. However, it wasn't simple. I found it extremely hard to catch a ball. I struggled with dribbling a basketball and shooting one, really. This of course made it difficult to play the sport. However, I was determined to improve, and one of my coaches gave me the best compliment that said I was very coachable. The dyspraxia could have contributed to my difficulties with instruments. I spent maybe two weeks on the flute before my music teacher said "ok maybe we can try the clarinet". That was a much better fit. Yet, it got a bit more complicated doing marching band in high school. My rhythm isn't the greatest so trying to march, especially backwards was a challenge.

So all this adds up to Dyspraxia. Ok, you may ask then when were you diagnosed? In 2013, I was diagnosed with dyspraxia after having to get evaluated so I could get an IEP (Individualized Education plan) for extended time for tests. Then I was diagnosed a second time in 2017, when I was updating the IEP in order to get extended time.once I entered college.

It goes without saying that my journey with dyspraxia is unique to me. Some people, like

Rosemary Richings, who wrote a book about her own experience of Dyspraxia, was diagnosed in childhood. Other like Warren Fried, founder of the Dyspraxia Foundation USA, was diagnosed at 19. Their journeys, I'd expect may have similar aspects to mine, bur won't be exactly the same. It would just be like taking two dyslexics and asking them their there would be similarities, but also differences.

This series will delve into the world of dyspraxia as I learn even more about this condition which I experience every day of my life. So, come and learn along with me. Discover a disability which likely no health class (in the US at least) taught about.

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