The Gift Of Dyspraxia

Chat with others about dyspraxia and share your experiences.

Postby Vicky » Sun Jul 18, 2004 10:50 am

I recently had my re-assessment by the educational psychologist (I have to get it done every two years to keep my statement up-to-date and to qualify for exam concessions) and the results were almost identical to those of two years ago. I haven' t improved much. My performance skills still place me in the bottom 0.3% of my age-related peers. In my AS Level exams I took fifty percent extra time, a laptop, and rest breaks.

Even worse than people who think 'she's clever, she's making it up, she can't have a problem' are those who see me as a disability on legs. Yes, I have to wear earplugs in the lunch queue because I can't cope with noise. Yes, a kind dinner lady has to carry my tray to my table for me. Yes, I can't cross the road without someone holding my hand. If I saw myself as disabled, I would readily agree that my life is difficult and I would dwell on the bullying and the negative comments made by others - apparently their own lives are so boring that they have nothing better to do than laugh at the sight of me being walked across the road by my support teacher. But I don't see myself as disabled. I can't.

Different, yes. There's not many seventeen-year-olds who literally can't walk and talk at the same time! (I start to zigzag and can't concentrate on what I'm saying.) But there also aren't many teenagers who are tough enough to accept what life has given to them and focus on the good parts. If it weren't for my dyspraxia, I probably wouldn't be any good at English or creative writing. I wouldn't have written a book. I wouldn't be so patient with other people who are very sick or wheelchair-bound. (I have a friend with Chronic Fatigue and another with cerebal palsy - who, although she likes me very much, will not trust me to push her chair!)

The reason I am writing this now is that I have just spent two hours at the new special needs centre downtown, helping out. This is a revolution in Saudi Arabia - up until last year, when some British teachers got together with members of the Saudi royal family to publicise dyslexia, few people had ever heard of learning difficulties. Now the centre is swamped with little kids, most of them dyslexic, a couple of them autistic and some possible dyspraxics, who are all so disillusioned with life. Corporal punishment is permitted out here (though obviously not used in the special centre) and one boy was terrified of going into his support lesson because he thought he was going to be slapped for his poor spelling.

It was like this in Britain twenty years ago. But we've moved on since then. We should be proud of our difference because we can actually see that dyspraxia can be a gift. The children I was with today can't. They haven't had the chance - though I am going to do my best to help give it to them.

I took a tape recorder along and talked to a few of the teenage students. I will do my best to translate their stories out of the Arabic and post them on the Dyspraxic Teens website.

Sorry for the long post, but it was upsetting me, and I thought that it needed to be shared.

Postby Helen » Sun Jul 18, 2004 11:29 am

Hi Vicky.

It's always great to hear from you :) so there is no need to apologise for your 'long post' :D . I find your posts are always thought provoking and you write with such eloquence that they are a pleasure to read.

I'm sure that everyone on the 'Dyspraxic Teens' website would love to hear the stories you've recorded. It's interesting to hear how people in other countries are coping (or not) with Dyspraxia and the support that's available.

I feel so much despair with the ignorance and lack of support that is available in this country (UK) within our schools, but having read your post realise that things could be so much worse. I wish you and all those involved in the Saudi project all the best with it. I know you will anyway, but if you discover any great coping strategies then please let us know :D .

Take care
This we know the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
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