Here are a few of the most common misconceptions about Dyspraxia that I have heard, even up as far as last week.
1. “I thought you just grew out of that as you get older.”
Dyspraxia is defined as a lifelong neurological disorder. This means that while challenges can very well be managed with the help of the right resources and strategies, there is no cure for it and you can not grow out of it.
2. “Dyspraxia…that’s the same as dyslexia isn’t it?”
No- they are two separate things. They can be co-morbid meaning that there can be an overlap between them, they are not the same.
3. “You don’t look like there’s something wrong with you!”
Dyspraxia is classed as an invisible disorder- this means that the majority of the challenges going on are internal and cannot be viewed from the outside.
As an aside, I don’t see dyspraxia as being something that’s “wrong with me”. Dyspraxia just means I process things differently and encounter challenges that some people can overcome with ease.
4. “Sure, anyone can be bad at sports and art, that doesn’t sound too bad”
Yes absolutely; anybody can be bad at sports and art. The coordination difficulties experienced by someone with dyspraxia is as a result of the messages not being properly sent from the brain to the body.
Also, dyspraxia can affect numerous areas of development including social, emotional, and language skills.
5. “Most people are like that some of the time!”
They are. But a person with dyspraxia faces challenges on a daily basis. The difficulties are consistent, and don’t just present themselves some of the time.
6. “So dyspraxia basically means you’re slow?”
I have heard this one a good bit. The answer is no. I am not “slow”. In fact some of the positive aspects of dyspraxia include creativity and lot of people who have dyspraxia have average or above average intelligence.
Dyspraxia does not affect intelligence and my brain rarely stops thinking and coming up with new ideas to try out.
7. “So will you never be able to have children or live on your own?”
Of course I can. Moving out may take me a little while longer than my peers and I may have to use reminders to do things when I first move out but there’s no reason why I cannot achieve independence.
There are plenty of parents who have dyspraxia themselves and cope just fine.
8. “That’s the one where you can’t tie shoelaces isn’t it?”
Tying shoelaces can indeed be a challenge for many with dyspraxia but again there are so many different aspects to dyspraxia, not just difficulties with fine motor skills.
9. “You look normal so it can’t be that bad”
Yes, as mentioned above, dyspraxia is an invisible disorder. However it can cause a lot of internal difficulties including hypermobility, poor posture, weak muscle tone, low muscle tone and more. All of the above can be very painful but none of the above can be seen from the outside except poor posture.”
10. “If you just stop thinking about it so much you won’t have the challenges.”
That’s not how it works. There’s no off switch for dyspraxia and thinking about it or not thinking about it isn’t going to magic the challenges away.
I hope this helps clear up some of the misconceptions.
It’s worth nothing that no disrespect is meant to anybody who may have had these misconceptions.
The purpose of this article is merely to try to explain it a bit more clearly. It’s now 2019 and while Dyspraxia is getting more awareness, there still isn’t enough awareness out there. Dyspraxia is complicated and not quite as black and white as “coordination issues”.