Dyspraxic traits Hobbies Success Stories

DYSPRAXIA AND THE POWER OF CREATIVITY

There is a strong correlation between people with dyspraxia and creativity. I, for one am very creative and always have been. From the moment I could hold a crayon, I was drawing anyone and anything I could. I had little to no interest in reading like my sister, who was only one year older than myself. In fact, in terms of academic study, I excelled in all my creative subjects but had difficulty with anything that didn’t involve visuals.

My mother and I at Chessington , 1994.

I was introduced to computers officially in reception class, when they were big ol’ chunky things with good old windows ’95 installed. I really enjoyed making art on the computer and making games and usually used my free time to go on the computers, or do some painting. My interest in art and technology got me through secondary school too- I spent most of my time in the library drawing or using the computers because I had a rough time with bullies and found navigating around the school really overwhelming. At university, for my undergraduate degree, I studied digital arts which combined the two and really enjoyed learning too. I don’t think I ever really have thought of myself as an academic because I never really like reading (albeit comics and manga etc) or writing (she says, writing this) but I did really love to learn the different software, especially visual or creative software like photoshop. In fact, I pretty much taught myself how to use most adobe software either from scratch or from having very little prior knowledge.

One of my digital art pieces

However, when I went to study my masters, it was really difficult for me as a dyspraxic to get around. The main university building had mixed up signs with rooms that were supposed to be near to each other on opposite sides, plus the amount of buildings in general was confusing. Luckily, I campaigned with others to get the university signs sorted out to help with such problems and once it was done, it helped so many people. I’m sure you can also agree that being dyspraxic and going to new places can often lead to challenges such as these, and I know myself and a lot of my dyspraxic comrades would agree that google maps is an absolute life saver!

Additionally, assistive technology can be a real help to people with dyspraxia. Visuals for people with learning differences really help us to learn and grow in a way that is accessible to us. For one thing, Writing up my 10,000 word essay would be so much harder if I didn’t have a visual brainstorming software for planning my work and then a text-to-speech to check my work afterwards.

For me, my dyspraxia presents itself with my fine motor skills (I still want to learn an instrument though) or when I am trying to get what is in my head out, or when I have to read things that don’t have any visuals and remember them (which most likely I’d forget in a hot minute) but then I also have Aspergers, so they often battle it out or there is a crossover between the 2 conditions. One thing is for sure, they both help with my creativity somehow. It usually takes me longer to learn something compared to a neurotypical,(someone who does have neurological conditions)  but I learn it really well once I’m shown properly, or the fact that I am really good with visuals and can usually suss out how to use software pretty quick if it is visual, as well as  thinking outside the box and being great at empathising, contrary to popular belief.

My dyspraxia may get me lost from time to time, and it might make me a little clumsy or forgetful too, BUT without it, I don’t think I would be as half as creative as I am now and even though I sometimes struggle, I certainly wouldn’t have done so well academically without it either. So for all my dyspraxic friends out there, embrace who you are and don’t ever feel as though your dyspraxia holds you back, you are you for a reason – own it! 

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Jade Hall-Smith
Jade is an artist, games designer and programmer. She was diagnosed with Dyspraxia aged 10 and austism at 26. She enjoys making games and playing football. She's an Incredible Hulk and Marvel Comics enthusiast. In her spare time she plays football, does design work and founded Variegated Games, where she designs games to raise awareness of disability and mental health.
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