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Archive for May, 2014

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Organising My Thoughts

 

Organising My Thoughts

Everyone with dyspraxia is different and we don’t all have exactly the same difficulties. It isn’t like a disease with a set of symptoms that are always present. I struggle with some things that other people with dyspraxia don’t find a problem. I also know of other people who have difficulty in areas that I don’t. I can only write from my experience and how it affects me.

QOne thing I often find hard is organising my thoughts. It frustrates me that I can express my thoughts and feelings in writing, but if I am asked a question verbally, I either say nothing or what I am saying isn’t very clear. This is a problem for many people with dyspraxia. When I write I have time to think and there is no pressure. It can be difficult to deal with because it makes you look stupid when you aren’t. I am no super brain but I am not stupid either. When I don’t feel under pressure I can hold an intelligent conversation. However if I am put on the spot with a question, it is like my brain freezes and I can’t answer. I become frustrated because the harder I try to make myself think the more it won’t come.

I hate group discussions because of this. People often think I am stupid or not interested but that isn’t the case at all. I remember one day at church we were asked to get into small groups and tell each other how we became Christians. Fortunately the 2 people I was with were happy to talk and just let me listen. I have particular difficulty when talking about myself. If I had known ahead of time and been able to write it down, then I would have been able to do it. But I couldn’t think on the

When people know me well they know not to put me on the spot.I did belly dancing for 3 years and sometimes our teacher would get us to take it in turns to decide the next step. It sounds really simple but I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t think on the spot even for something as simple as a dance step. Then because I can be overly emotional I would get upset. I felt really stupid because it is such a simple thing but no matter how hard I told myself I could do it my brain would freeze up. My teacher began to pre warn me so I could be prepared and asking me to go first so if someone else took what I was thinking of I wouldn’t have to re think on the spot.

Teachers who have a student with dyspraxia should remember this and not call on the student to answer unless they put up their hand. Forcing them to do it will just damage their self-esteem. I have been lucky at TAFE to have a lecturer who understands dyspraxia and it really does help a lot. We are at a disadvantage when it comes to job interviews as it involves being asked questions on the spot and needing to have a good clear answer. I try to think of the possible questions ahead of time and what I might answer. The worst thing to do is panic as it freezes the brain even more. Staying calm is the most important thing.

The reason that I don’t pray out loud in groups is because I can’t organise my thoughts as to what to say. It isn’t as has been suggested to me that I don’t believe in god. It is just a pity that some people don’t think and maybe try to understand why someone is doing something and not be so quick to judge.

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LEARNING TO DRIVE

Learning to drive can be difficult for people with dyspraxia. Like many other things it takes extra effort and practice. Many people do eventually get an automatic driver’s license; some even manage a manual license. Unfortunately I am not one of them. There are many reasons why some of us don’t learn to drive. I would like to share some of these with you.

The most obvious problem is motor skills. Changing the gears is probably the most difficult. Some people with great determination and persistence do learn to change gears. The other alternative is to get an automatic licence .For some occupations this can be a problem but for most it is the easiest solution. Of course you still must learn to steer the car. It will take more practice, perseverance and determination than most people but it can be achieved.

It helps to be taught by someone who understands dyspraxia. When the person instructing you is directing you on which direction to go they will inevitably say go left or right. Many of us have to think about which is left and which is right. We do not automatically know. They need to understand this and tell you with enough time for you to work out which way is right or left before you reach the street. It is too late when you are right on top of the street. They also need to be patient of the extra time it will take to steer the car and to work the peddles on the floor  multi tasking is often difficult so it can be hard to do these things at the same time especially if you add in the gears as well. Gears and peddles can be practiced in a parked car. With enough practice and determination it is possible to achieve this.

Sometimes when you have dyspraxia you can’t judge the speed and distance of a moving object. As you can imagine when driving this is a problem. We must know how fast we are going but we must also be able to judge how fast the other cars are going and how far away they are from us. If we are crossing at an intersection we must be able to tell when it is safe to cross. In order to do this we must accurately judge how far and how fast the cars are coming along the road we are crossing.  It is the same if we want to change lanes in traffic on a duel carriage way. You must be able to judge if cars in the other lane are far enough away at the speed they are doing for you to change lanes safely.

This is the problem I have and no amount of practice is going to change it. I feel for me to drive would be dangerous. Even if I was inclined to risk my life it is selfish to risk the lives of other road users. I would be too cautious at intersections because I know I can’t judge accurately. This would make other road users angry. In a car a mistake can cost people their lives. Nobody should drive if they are not 100% safe to do so. I walk as much as I can or take public transport. Sometimes it is frustrating because if I go anywhere with friends I can’t take my turn at driving or taking all the kids to a birthday party. I don’t like to feel like I am not doing my share. It is also very limiting on job and study opportunities. On the plus side hopefully the extra exercise is good for my health. I do also think you take more notice of your surroundings when walking and sometimes you meet people you  wouldn’t have in a car. As they say every cloud has a silver lining