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SO YOU THINK DYSPRAXIA IS JUST CLUMSINESS?

This piece was written by our lovely Irish contributor Sophie and first published on her fantastic facebook page ‘Personal Training with Dyspraxia’ which chronicles are adventures in the gym.

 

GROSS MOTOR CO-ORDINATION SKILLS (LARGE MOVEMENTS):

Poor balance. Difficulty in riding a bicycle, going up and down hills

Poor posture and fatigue. Difficulty in standing for a long time as a result of weak muscle tone. Floppy, unstable round the joints. Some people with dyspraxia/DCD may have flat feet

Poor integration of the two sides of the body. Difficulty with some sports involving jumping and cycling

Poor hand-eye co-ordination. Difficulty with team sports especially those which involve catching a ball and batting. Difficulties with driving a car (adults)

Lack of rhythm when dancing, doing aerobics

Clumsy gait and movement. Difficulty changing direction, stopping and starting actions

Exaggerated ‘accessory movements’ such as flapping arms when running

Tendency to fall, trip, bump into things and people

 

Reading that, it’s understandable to see where the misconception comes from.  But there’s more.

 

FINE MOTOR CO-ORDINATION SKILLS (SMALL MOVEMENTS):

Lack of manual dexterity. Poor at two-handed tasks, causing problems with using cutlery, cleaning, cooking, ironing, craft work, playing musical instruments

Poor manipulative skills. Difficulty with typing, handwriting and drawing. May have a poor pen grip, press too hard when writing and have difficulty when writing along a line.  Difficulty copying information from a blackboard.

Inadequate grasp. Difficulty using tools and domestic implements, locks and keys

Difficulty with dressing and grooming activities, such as putting on makeup, shaving, (adults) doing hair, fastening clothes and tying shoelaces

POORLY ESTABLISHED HAND DOMINANCE:

May use either hand for different tasks at different times

 

Do you still think that dyspraxia is “just clumsiness”?

 

SPEECH AND LANGUAGE:

May talk continuously and repeat themselves. Some people with dyspraxia/DCD have difficulty with organising the content and sequence of their language

May have unclear speech and be unable to pronounce some words

Speech may have uncontrolled pitch, volume and rate

 

Do you still think that dyspraxia is “just clumsiness”?

 

EYE MOVEMENTS:

Tracking. Difficulty in following a moving object smoothly with eyes without moving head excessively. Tendency to lose the place while reading

Poor relocating. Cannot look quickly and effectively from one object to another (for example, looking from a TV to a magazine)

 

PERCEPTION (INTERPRETATION OF THE DIFFERENT SENSES):

Poor visual perception

Over-sensitive to light

Difficulty in distinguishing sounds from background noise. Tendency to be over-sensitive to noise

Over- or under-sensitive to touch. Can result in dislike of being touched and/or aversion to over-loose or tight clothing – tactile defensiveness

Over- or under-sensitive to smell and taste, temperature and pain

Lack of awareness of body position in space and spatial relationships. Can result in bumping into and tripping over things and people, dropping and spilling things

Little sense of time, speed, distance or weight. Leading to difficulties driving, cooking

Inadequate sense of direction. Difficulty distinguishing right from left means map reading skills are poor. (Adults)

 

Do you still think that dyspraxia is “just clumsiness”?

LEARNING, THOUGHT AND MEMORY:

Difficulty in planning and organising thought

Poor memory, especially short-term memory. May forget and lose things

Unfocused and erratic. Can be messy and cluttered

Poor sequencing causes problems with maths, reading and spelling and writing reports at work

Accuracy problems. Difficulty with copying sounds, writing, movements, proofreading

Difficulty in following instructions, especially more than one at a time

Difficulty with concentration. May be easily distracted

May do only one thing at a time properly, though may try to do many things at once

Slow to finish a task. May daydream and wander about aimlessly

 

Do you still think that dyspraxia is “just clumsiness?”

 

EMOTION AND BEHAVIOUR:

Difficulty in listening to people, especially in large groups. Can be tactless, interrupt frequently. Problems with team work

Difficulty in picking up non-verbal signals or in judging tone or pitch of voice in themselves and or others. Tendency to take things literally. May listen but not understand

Slow to adapt to new or unpredictable situations. Sometimes avoids them altogether

Impulsive. Tendency to be easily frustrated, wanting immediate gratification

 

EMOTIONS AS A RESULT OF DIFFICULTIES EXPERIENCED:

Tend to get stressed, depressed and anxious easily

May have difficulty sleeping

Prone to low self-esteem, emotional outbursts, phobias, fears, obsessions, compulsions and addictive behaviour.

 

Do you still think dyspraxia is “just clumsiness”?

 

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Sophie Goldsbury

Sophie Goldsbury

Sophie is a legal secretary and lives in Dublin, Ireland. She was diagnosed with dyspraxia in childhood.

One thought on “SO YOU THINK DYSPRAXIA IS JUST CLUMSINESS?”

  1. Thank you Sophie, I can so identify with 95% of all the points you list. After 5 attempts I did learn to drive by age 21 and only recently stopped, but nearly every journey was filled with anxiety and tension – I needed 20 minutes to calm down before leaving the car. Due to bad motion sickness busses were a worse option to be avoided at all costs.

    When I read some of the points they made me chukle. Although I never got a medical diagnosis, probably due to only realising that I was Dyspraxic in my 70s – since I no longer had the need to be helped, for example in doing A levels or in work because I was retired, the medical profession dismissed me.

    Aside from all that I managed to never be ‘out of work’ although having to be away from work with anxiety or depression from time to time. I now enjoy retirement in spite of all the hurdles we as Dyspraics are faced with each day.

    I am so pleased for you and all other younger people with Dyspraxia now that the condition is being accepted more. There is more work to do I know, but things have come a long way from my school days when I was told I was lazy, not trying or inept – and of course clumsy.

    Thank you again for your post.

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