Growing up with dyspraxia always has its challenges…

The main challenge for me growing up was handwriting. I’d have sat exams in Primary School, I’d have to do homework, write birthday cards, Christmas cards etc.

I struggled, a lot. The teachers I had weren’t aware of dyspraxia at all and most of them were unhelpful.

It wasn’t just bad handwriting either, it was slow handwriting. This meant that I struggled to meet timelines in exam scenarios.

That’s when my entrance exams for secondary school came up. I didn’t get the exam finished due to my handwriting and for this, I was put in the lowest class.

I was never taught a second language or Geography like every other class in the school because it was quite obvious we were seen as not intelligent enough for this. Essentially, the rest of my class and I were wrote off before we even had the chance.

My handwriting steadily improved as time went on and I was coming up to my Junior Cert exam. This was when my parents and I made the decision to push for a laptop. I got the laptop and passed all the exams.

I noticed that it wasn’t just my handwriting that improved. Because I was always under pressure to write as fast as I could, my grammar suffered a lot, and this changed when I started using a laptop.

Despite this, I still decided to take notes while I was in class. This was because I didn’t want to be seen as the weird kid who had the laptop, and I was also a very loud typer. My perception was always that I didn’t want to be weird, I didn’t want to be different, but I was.

Because I didn’t use a laptop, I was falling behind with a lot of notes and was once again wrote off. I felt like I was already being deemed an academic failure before I even left school. I wanted to go on to college but I was slowly losing my confidence.

I eventually went on to sit my final school exams, and I got the points I needed to go to college.  

It’s now been 4 years since I have left school and I just recently handed in my thesis for my degree. This hasn’t been an easy journey, but after getting wrote off from a young age, I proved a lot of people wrong.

Growing up with Dyspraxia always had its challenges, but the feeling of exceeding your own expectations makes these challenges worthwhile.

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Ryan is an Irish musician who has struggled with Dyspraxia from a very young age but remains undiagnosed.
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