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Postby james » Sat Jan 08, 2005 4:17 pm

I have dyspraxia and im in high school and the problem i have is that the teachers cant read my hand writing (nor can I read it myself) and i cant afford a laptop to bring to school what should i do?
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Postby Guest » Mon Jan 10, 2005 1:55 pm

Dear James,

If you can't afford your own laptop, you could ask your Local Education Authority (LEA) to provide it. The special needs teacher at your school should be able to help you with this. If you don't have a special needs teacher, ask your parents to talk to your class teacher about making an application. It is definitely allowed. Just one thing - the LEA won't allow you to keep the laptop forever. You will have to give it back to them when you leave high school, so you must take care to keep it in perfect condition.

If this is not an option, could your teachers allow you to use an ordinary desktop computer during lessons? This might not be possible all the time, but for wordier subjects where a lot of note-taking is required (English Literature, history, etc.) see if the school is able to place a computer in these classrooms. Point out that this would not only help you, but all the other dyspraxic and dyslexic students in the school - one in ten people are thought to be dyslexic and one in thirty dyspraxic, so there are bound to be more students like you.

If they won't allow this, take a portable tape recorder to lessons. These are much cheaper than laptops and you can record everything your teachers say, so you don't have to take notes. When you get home you can type up what you've heard on a computer there, or if you don't have one you could go to the local library to do it. Computer usage is free for all library members. It is also free to join a library.

Other strategies for note-taking are to photocopy other people's notes or to put carbon sheets in between a friend's notebook pages and take the carbon copy at the end of the lesson.

But even if you use all these tips, you will HAVE to do writing at some point - we just can't avoid it. To make the job easier, you could use the following special tools:

* Specially-moulded pens that snugly fit your hand (available from the Dyspraxia Foundation, the Dyscovery Centre, and even ordinary shops like WH Smith's - look at them carefully and see which suit you best.)

* Paper with slightly raised lines to help you keep your writing extra straight. (Available from the Dyscovery Centre.)

* A stiff cuff made out of some firm material like Neoprene. Wear it on your wrist to keep your hand steady.

* Pencil grips - these can be bought at almost every stationery shop, like WH Smith's, Paperchase and Stationery Box.

* A slanting desktop. These can be bought from the Dyscovery Centre and other shops, but an ordinary ringbinder file placed sideways on the desk will do. A lot of dyspraxic people find it easier to write on a slanting surface, but not all.
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Postby parnassus » Mon Jan 10, 2005 1:58 pm

Oops. That was Vicky, by the way.
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Postby parnassus » Mon Jan 10, 2005 1:59 pm

And aargh - you can tell I'm dyspraxic by my disorganization. I meant to post the addresses of Dyscovery and the Foundation. Here you go:

www.dyscovery.co.uk

www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk

Have a look at their online shops to see what you can get.
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Postby Thirteen-thirty-seven » Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:22 pm

I think a large part of the problem is that people are afraid to ask for help. For example, I was once given one of those slanting things you put on your desk, and it was really helpful. But everyone was staring at me and asking me why I had it, so I never used it again.
In primary school, I had a specially adapted knife and fork. But, as a typical dyspraxic, I always forgot to get them. So I would queue up for my lunch, be reminded by a dinner lady that I hadn't got them, then have to get them and queue up again. It was very embarrassing.
My problems are far less severe than most people's on this forum, my brother has a worse problem than I do, whih is exacerbated by the complete lack of help he has received until very recently :evil: However, I was pretty lucky. I was diagnosed in primary school, and I got occupational therapy. For about a year, the thereapist would come to me in school, and would call me out of lessons and help me. It wasn't fun being singled out and I missed a lot of work, but she was so helpful and she didn't make me feel stupid or inferior about not being able to use a knife and fork and stuff. At the age of sixteen, I have finally mastered this difficult art, but please don't expect me to eat spaghetti. A few weeks ago, I was at my boyfriend's house, and there was spaghetti. I may have managed more or less with a knife, but his mum had just given me a fork. So, I was talking about anything and everything and saying a complete load of nonesense in order to avoid eating. What made it worse was that his six-year-old sister wasn't having any problems with her spaghetti, and laughed at my somewhat feeble attempts with the stuff. And my bf was laughing at me, even though he knows about my problems and he should have known better. I should have shouted at him for that, but I didn't. Maybe I'll show him this post and make him feel worthless and guilty...mwa ha ha ha ha. Honestly, though, what is the deal with spaghetti? Who invented the stuff? What evil mind comes up with something which is so clearly designed to humiliate the poor souls who try and consume the stuff? How in heaven's name do they expect people to eat it? It's just not fair! Anyway, I eventually said that I wasn't hungry (I was absolutely starving, but it was just really embarrassing) and hoped that my boyfriend's mum wouldn't percieve it as an insult to her cooking (She did. I'm pretty sure she hates me anyway - but that's beside the point.)
Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that people will go to almost any lengths to try and hide the fact that they have a problem. Of course, if I were a teacher or a special needs co-ordinator or whatever, I'd give you the "It takes more courage to admit to a problem than to pretend there isn't one" lecture. And that's true. Admitting to the problem does take more courage. But it's not like they will give you all the stuff you need and then it will all be alright. People stare at you, they don't understand.
And I give into them. When I spoke to a guy who knew I had dyspraxia, but didn't know what it was I found myself saying (please, please, please don't burn me at the stake for being a traitor) "It's just another word for 'clumsy'". It's just so hard to explain to other people. It's hard to define, and people don't believe that there's something wrong with your brain when you appear to be perfectly articulate and relatively sane (although I can't make great claims about my sanity. I have mood swings, not, as far as I'm aware, a dyspraxia, thing. It's just my personality. I'm very odd. It helps me to write poetry:P )
Anyway, if I had a point ( which I doubt) I've sompletely forgotten what it was. Ah, yes. Spaghetti is evil and must be destroyed! And, while we're at it, noodles. And whoever invented the stuff MUST DIE. If he/she is already dead, we'll just randomly lynch anyone we see eating spaghetti with no difficulties. Are you all with me?
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Postby parnassus » Mon Jun 13, 2005 1:31 pm

Do not even mention spaghetti in my presence! I love the taste, so my mum has to cut it up into tiny little strands so I can manage it, but I always dread going to tea at other people's houses in case it makes a guest appearance on the table.

We won't burn you at the stake for being a traitor, but if you had said that to my face ("I told him it's just another word for clumsy!") I would certainly have shot you a Disapproving Look over the rim of my spectacles. Have you considered typing out a short definition of dyspraxia on a notecard, keeping that with you at all times, and showing the people who need to know? It's easier than having to describe a range of difficulties on spec.
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Postby bibliophile » Mon Jun 13, 2005 3:29 pm

Spaggetti is evil it's spawn of saten and those which devour it without managing to get tomato sauce all over them are annoying i went to a chinease friends housae where they are very traditional and we had to eat with chopsticks i did not manage to get more than one noodle in my moth the entire hours meal!!
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Postby Hermionefan5 » Mon Jun 13, 2005 4:59 pm

Love spaghetti, but it is hard to eat. I don't have quite as hard of a time of it because I have kind of grown out of my problems with it. But, occasionally, I have to go to war with it. I still spill food on myself though. That is soooo embarassing!! :oops: I always have to wear a napkin on my lap when I eat spaghetti so I don't get sauce on myself! It is hard to get out of clothes. My mom hates washing it out.
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Postby Thirteen-thirty-seven » Tue Jun 14, 2005 10:03 am

Hmm...putting a definition on a card sounds like an interesting idea, except I would lose the card. :oops: I could always have it on a string round my neck. As a general rule, things attached to my neck via a stringdon't get lost, which is why I keep large amonts of money and keys in this way. It looks kind of silly, but I can tuck them under my clothes. The keys jingle, and that gets laughs. Mind you, having a card with a definition of dyspraxia around my neck on a string is taking the idea of being labelled to new, embarrassingly literalistic heights.
I am a shameless glutton, but nobody realises that because I don't like eating in the presence of strangers, or even friends. My family are more or less used to me by now. My mum gets quite unsympathetic about food stains on my clothes at times, but she has to wash them, so I understand that.
Apparently, Marco Polo is responsible for Spaghetti. He brought the idea to Italy after travelling to China and seeing noodles.
*burns Marco Polo at the stake*
I like the taste of spaghetti bolognaise, but ordinary pasta with bolognaise sauce is easier to eat and tastes more or less the same.
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Postby parnassus » Tue Jun 14, 2005 12:25 pm

I keep my cards in the pocket of my handbag. On one side is a general description of dyspraxia; on the other, a short list of instructions on what a passer-by must do if he discovers me sitting on the floor in the grip of a panic attack. My handbag is difficult to lose - it's enormous.

Keeping things on a string about your neck sounds a bit dangerous. Have you tried attaching your keys to your belt with a curly cord?
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Postby Thirteen-thirty-seven » Tue Jun 14, 2005 12:59 pm

parnassus wrote:Keeping things on a string about your neck sounds a bit dangerous. Have you tried attaching your keys to your belt with a curly cord?


That sounds like a better idea. Thanks.
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Postby parnassus » Tue Jun 14, 2005 2:16 pm

You can also get things called 'bum bags' (not a pleasant name!) to keep your purse in. They consist of a belt with a banana-shaped bag attached, which fits comfortably across either your backside or your lap when you are cycling. You must have seen them about. They are almost impossible to lose.
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Postby alexlaird87 » Fri Jun 17, 2005 11:23 pm

really? between 1992 and 1997 i must have lost about 7 of them!!!!

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Postby Hermionefan5 » Sun Jun 19, 2005 4:54 am

I lost a shoe once in my room, and by the time I bought a new pair, I found it. :lol: That happens quite frequently to me. :lol: That was when I was in the 1st grade (age 7).
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