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Dyspraxia's effects on educational choices.

Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:44 pm

(Please note that some of this is going to be used for a piece of research that I am doing at university. I hope this is okay, but could an admin please tell me if it isn't, and also if you don't want to be involved then don't reply to the thread. Nobody's names will be mentioned in the transcript.)

Has anyone found that having dyspraxia has influenced their educational choices? (for instance choosing whether or not to go to university) Or been told that they can or cannot choose a particular course because they have dyspraxia?

I found that it had an effect on me in certain ways, for instance I have always worked very hard at everything and felt that I needed to prove myself and show that I could do things. This is one of the reasons why I chose to go away to university even though I knew I didn't want to and I ended up coming back because I couldn't cope. It is also the reason why I studied so hard for my maths GCSE even though I had been predicted a D (I wanted a C) and I ended up getting one because I worked so hard at it.

Re: Dyspraxia's effects on educational choices.

Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:58 pm

dyspraxia was the main reason i left school early.
home edication did mean that i could not start the chem A level in my first year, and am having to do an extra year to finish it.

another way that i think dyspraxia has affected my choices is that i am determined to get where i want, no matter how hard i have to work.

Re: Dyspraxia's effects on educational choices.

Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:22 pm

Dyspraxia didn't really affect my choices in education too much, other than checking colleges and uni's for what their support was like. It didn't affect my decision to apply for uni.

I wasn't told I couldn't do a subject because of my dyspraxia.
I did, however, drop a subject halfway through my 1st year of college because I found it hard to do 4 AS's at a time, which in a way, was caused by dyspraxia.

Re: Dyspraxia's effects on educational choices.

Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:47 pm

It was partly because of my dyspraxia that I went to the special college I attended. My school didn't support me with my dyspraxia and I left school when I was 15 due to depression and only ended up taking my English GCSE.

Re: Dyspraxia's effects on educational choices.

Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:31 pm

Dyspraxia has affected my educational choices hugely.

At thirteen, I had to withdraw from school because the bullying had got too bad for me to endure it any more. The teachers weren't doing anything to stop it. I was in very bad shape mentally and physically - exhausted all the time, critically underweight, incapable of concentrating, and frightened of going outside. I stayed at home for six months, until a place could be found for me in a small boarding school that prided itself on its supportive atmosphere.

Dyspraxia also influenced my university choice. I knew that I wouldn't cope with a big city and a sprawling campus, so that restricted my options to collegiate universities: Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, and York. I also needed somewhere that was catered, as I knew I wouldn't be able to manage cooking on top of all the other practical and organisational tasks that come with living away from home. I chose Cambridge because it seemed so dyspraxic-friendly, with York as my safety net if I didn't get in. I chose to study English, and dyspraxia affected my choice in a positive way - as with a lot of dyspraxic people, my impaired non-verbal skills are offset by unusually strong verbal abilities. I doubt I would be as academically capable in this area as I am if it weren't for dyspraxia.

However...ever since I was a little girl I have had a hankering to follow a career in medicine or some closely related area. As I grew up in dawned on me that I just don't have the physical co-ordination skills for it (or the short-term memory, or the attention span, or the sequencing skills). I might be capable of studying medicine in theory, but in practice I would be an unsafe doctor. I did look closely at allied professions (speech and language pathology, clinical psychology, etc.) but I was too intimidated to apply for courses in these areas. I was afraid that my dyspraxic weaknesses would make me a bad clinician. Besides, I had got one of the top five marks in the country for my English GCSE, I'd just taken my English Literature A-Level a year early, I was teaching myself A-Level English Language and taking all the papers in one year - everybody took it for granted that I would go to Oxbridge and study English. I remember furtively looking up speech therapy and psychology courses online in the school library and feeling guilty for doing so, as though I were betraying people. I didn't want to let anybody down. This may not seem dyspraxia-related, but it is in a way - because of the bullying I got from peers and the way teachers reacted to me when I was smaller, I had a terrible fear of a.) failing academically and b.) disappointing people. The two were linked in my mind.

Re: Dyspraxia's effects on educational choices.

Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:35 pm

I would say dyspraxia has moderately affected my educational choices. I was never advised against doing a subject because of dyspraxia-in fact, it was often the other way around. When I went to my sixth form college admissions morning where you get registered for the courses you have chosen, one of the tutors asked me why I had only chosen 3 AS Levels instead of 4, like most of my peers had. I didn't really know what to say-I knew, in my head, that the reason why I had opted for only 3 was because I felt 4 would demand too much organisation, a skill I struggle with, but I didn't know these tutors so I didn't want to burst out with this explanation straight away. The man looked at my GCSE results transcript and said, "Well, on paper, I don't see any reason why you can't do 4 AS Levels but, if you insist, we'll put you down for just 3". I later took another AS Level in my A2 year and I did manage to cope with all the work. I think sometimes I do doubt my abilities too much.

With regards to schooling, a special school was considered for me at 2 stages of my life, at ages 8 and 11, but this was due to my ASD rather than my dyspraxia. It was eventually decided against as the only special schools available locally were not appropriate for me and the only ASD school in the county back then was only for boys.

Dyspraxia did affect my choices for university. I looked round Portsmouth University but decided against it as it wasn't based on a campus and I felt my sense of direction was too poor to cope with the walk to and from uni (they didn't offer a bus). I eventually decided on the University of Kent at Canterbury as it had a nice campus which had everything you needed (a small shop, laundrette etc) but also wasn't so big as to be intimidating. It was also the only university I had read up on that had a designated autism support tutor. I originally wanted to study English at university but I was put off by the low marks achieved in my English AS level-I later found out that this was because my exam paper was not fully transcribed (written again word for word and submitted along with the original) which is what I was entitled to due to illegible handwriting-one of my teachers at college once made the disparaging remark that she had to be drunk to mark my written work as being under the influence of alcohol made my work appear clear as anything to her compared to when she was sober! When I received a similarly poor mark for my Media Studies A2 Level January exam, my Media Studies teacher went to the college SENCO and demanded a typed transcript for all of my exam papers as he rightly felt that it wasn't fair for my exam papers to be downgraded because the markers couldn't read my handwriting as a direct result of my dyspraxia. I was awarded this concession and thus got decent A2 grades in my summer term exams. I still remain grateful to this day to him for doing that as I believe that, without that, I would have got several grades lower.

Like Vicky, I have always been fascinated in the medical profession-I used to read cover to cover the Doctors Answers textbook series that my mum got on subscription when I was younger. They are basically an A to Z of every medical condition you could imagine and I used to read them over and over. I watch Casualty and Holby City every week and Google any medical terms that I haven't come across. However, I know my coordination and short term memory problems would make this career a no go area for me. I have always wanted to work in a helping profession so I now work with teenagers with long term, chronic disabilities and conditions.

Overall I think dyspraxia has shaped my educational choices but not overly so.

Re: Dyspraxia's effects on educational choices.

Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:20 pm

My parents did breifly consider sending me to a private school because they thought that I would cope better with smaller classes and more one to one teaching. In most ways I am glad that they didn't send me to private school, yet at the same time I might have been bullied less there then I was at my primary school.

Re: Dyspraxia's effects on educational choices.

Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:55 pm

I think it has effected my educational choice. I use to bunk school as the bullying was so bad. I choose my college as it was small so it easier to know where everything is and less people. I wanted to be a policewoman but decided that proberly isnt a good idea as if I had to chase a criminal, they proberly get as away, as I will fall flat on the floor trying to run after him. I went decided to study my second choice of a career, animal care.

Re: Dyspraxia's effects on educational choices.

Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:16 pm

I chose my comprehensive school because it had better facilities, such as learning support, for my needs than the other schools in my area, allso I think my GCSE options that I chose were effected, in ways, by dyspraxia, hope that helps.

Re: Dyspraxia's effects on educational choices.

Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:40 pm

Has anyone else found organising extra time in exams hard?

Re: Dyspraxia's effects on educational choices.

Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:37 am

At school yes
at college no

Re: Dyspraxia's effects on educational choices.

Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:30 pm

Okay, so I have finished doing my research on here, feel free to keep replying if you want though. I might put the field notes that I have taken up on here for people to have a look at if they want to.

Re: Dyspraxia's effects on educational choices.

Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:36 pm

I think that a good idea Star
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