The Two Dyspraxics


In the first of edition of a regular column the dynamic duo introduce themselves.

B: Hi. I’m Barbara Neill

M: …and I’m Matthew Munson.

Well, that’s who we are individually, but together we are The Two Dyspraxics. We try to do as much as we can to support people who are affected by Dyspraxia as well as raising awareness. We have a YouTube channel, imaginatively entitled, “The Two Dyspraxics”, and a thriving Facebook group, also with an imaginative name; “Dyspraxia”.

B: I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise to learn that I am dyspraxic. I also have a dyspraxic son, who is an adult now, and I discovered I’m dyspraxic at the same time my son was going through the assessment process. I’m a hypnotherapist and I specialise in helping people who have Dyspraxia, as well as running courses and workshops on Dyspraxia Awareness.

M: Fortunately, I’m dyspraxic as well – otherwise, the name of our group would be rather inaccurate! I first discovered I was dyspraxic when I was 15, and a teacher at school told me that I was – and looked stunned when he saw the blankness on my face and realised that no-one that thought to tell me before. I was finally diagnosed officially well over a decade later. I’m a writer and blogger, so have a rather fertile imagination.

B: I first met Matthew when the two of us had agreed to meet up with some other dyspraxic people we’d met online. London was fairly central to all of us but things didn’t quite go according to plan. Although Matthew and I are both based in Kent, we live quite a few miles apart and catch different trains to get to London. Many years ago, I worked in London and had been used to using the tube on a daily basis. In fact, it’s the only form of public transport I can cope with easily. At that time, Matthew wasn’t as confident as I was at using the tube, so we had arranged to meet at Victoria Station, so I could help him find his way to where we’d arranged to meet the others. Is that fair comment, Matthew?

M: Not only fair, but entirely accurate and truthful, Ms Neill!

B: My train broke down that day and I was stranded for four hours. I’m sure Matthew would be happy to tell you what happened during those four hours, from his point of view.

M: Yeah, I remember it well! Like Barbara said, I wasn’t as confident as her at getting around in London; I’d certainly never been to the capital by myself before, and when Barbara called to say that she was stuck on the train, I panicked for a bit – but managed to pull myself together and kept myself occupied. But by the time Barbara arrived, I think I’d got sensory overload (which is a part of dyspraxia I frustratingly have), so I decided to head back home instead to recharge.

B: So, it was a very quick, “Hello, goodbye” on that first meeting at Victoria. I can’t honestly remember the next time we met. I think it might have been at the launch of Matthew’s first novel. Is that right, Matthew? Can you remember?

M: I can’t honestly remember. Was it? Damn my memory! I’ll take your word on that.

B: After a couple of meetings, I visited Matthew at his home and, as he had just started to make a video blog, or vlog, he asked me if I’d like to make a guest appearance on it. It was supposed to be a serious video about how we are each affected by Dyspraxia but we lost count of the number of ‘takes’ we needed because we were falling about with laughter.

M: I blame you, Barbara. I was entirely serious and level-headed. No, that’s a lie; I was as much to blame.

B: Eventually, we managed to contain our mirth long enough to complete a video ‘talking heads’ style conversation about Dyspraxia. We enjoyed it so much, we decided to make another one, then another one and so on until we had quite a collection of videos ‘in the can’.

M: And I think we knew pretty much from then that we didn’t want this to end, so we decided to carry on and do something broader with our vlogs. All we needed now was a name …

B: The name came about from the end of one of those early videos when Matthew said, “It’s goodnight from me…” and I added, “and it’s goodnight from him”. Matthew, quite rightly, pointed out that we are not The Two Ronnies while I confirmed that we are The Two Dyspraxics. That was in March 2013, I think. Is that right, Matthew?

M: Have we really known each other that long? Yes, it must be – wow, time really does fly, doesn’t it? There’s so much more we want to do as well.

B: It was a few years ago and we’ve been The Two Dyspraxics ever since. We’re delighted to have been asked to write a regular column for Dyspraxia & Life and honoured to be here from the beginning. Wishing Pete and everyone involved in the magazine all the very best for the future.

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