Telling Your Mates

Chat with others about dyspraxia and share your experiences.

Telling Your Mates

Postby Max Meads » Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:45 pm

Hi,

I have been diagnosed dyspraxic when i was about in year two, and i have it badly. I'm okay with it, but none of my mates know that i am dyspraxic. i want to tell them, because i feel they need to know to understand me better, but i am afraid that if i do, word may get out, and people may start bully ing me and calling me a spastic or retard.

any help plz :)
Max Meads
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Re: Telling Your Mates

Postby 07williamsdj » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:10 am

You should only tell friends you trust alot at the moment and do it in your own time, prehaps do it gradually. Hope it helps.
Edit: and take the time to explain it to them fully.
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Re: Telling Your Mates

Postby Goldenhamster » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:53 pm

Hi Max,
It was my experience in my early teens that some of my peers had already noticed many of the traits of my dyspraxia (eg. social naivety, difficulties with eye contact, poor coordination) without any knowledge of the underlying condition. The responses were varied; on the one hand I did get called names such as 'retard' by people who picked up on my slowness at certain tasks and telling them that the cause was dyspraxia unfortunately did little to change that. On the other hand, after watching a video on autism during PSHE a particularly kind and perceptive girl asked 'whether I used to be like that when I was younger', connecting some of the traits exhibited by the autistic people in the film (most of whom had what is known as 'classic' autism and were less verbal) to the milder versions in my behaviour. She was interested when I subsequently explained about dyspraxia.

The word 'dyspraxia' doesn't usually mean a lot to people who aren't intimately connected to it either through having it or having a family member with it. The good news is that if your friends are accepting of you as you are without knowing the diagnostic 'label', the chances are that they will be receptive to having dyspraxia explained. Do your friends ever comment on any of your symptoms of dyspraxia - if so this might be a useful way into a conversation about it. I found quite a helpful way of beginning to explain was describing dyspraxia as a kind of 'dyslexia at sports', which although not entirely accurate started from a point that other people understood, as most people have heard of dyslexia even if they don't understand it. If you haven't already it is worth getting a copy of 'Caged in Chaos' by Victoria Biggs, which is probably the clearest and most helpful guide to life as a teenager with dyspraxia. I offered to lend my copy to various friends by means of explanation with some good results.

One thing that I found surprising and struggled with when talking about my diagnosis was the fact that sometimes people didn't seem very interested. My rehearsed explanations would be met with a vague 'oh cool' which sometimes turned into irritation when I refused to let the subject drop. Don't necessarily mistake disinterest in what you have to say about the diagnosis as disinterest in you; you have to remember that not having to live with it, your friends don't have the same impetus to understand dyspraxia that you do.

I think that if your friends don't call you names like 'retard' and 'spastic' (which I hope they don't!) now, that is unlikely to change simply because you drop them a long greek word. Nevertheless, the subject should be approached with a degree of sensitivity. My advice would be to explain as concisely as you can, and then let anything further that you say on the subject be directed by your friends' questions. They may be curious about the condition or they may show frustratingly little interest; as long as they remain your friends I would argue that it doesn't matter hugely.
You don't have to be dyspraxic to be exeptional

But it helps!
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