Your browser (Internet Explorer 6) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.
X
Post

The Difficulty of Being Organised

Being organised when you have dyspraxia is often very difficult. I find it to be one of my biggest difficulties because it affects me in so many areas of my everyday life. It is more then just putting things away were they belong. When we look at a task we need to decide what needs to be done. We then must decide in what order to do these tasks. Often the job will be finished quicker if we do things in a certain order. For example if you sweep the floor and then clean the top of the cupboards you may knock crumbs and dust on to the clean floor. Deciding what to do and in what order is all part of organisation. It may sound silly to someone who doesnt have dyspraxia, but I cant just look at at task and easily decide what to do and it can be very frustrating

It can involve something as simple as doing the housework. I can walk into my lounge room and see that it needs to be tidied up. What my brain cant easily do is work out what task to do first and the easiest way to do it. A lot of time gets wasted while I try to work it out. Many times through out my life I have been told I do things the hard way. Someone else will see what I am doing and say it would be easier to do it this way. Most of the time after trying it their way I agree. It can also be difficult in a social situation where a group of people are completing a task. I want to join in and help but often unless I can follow what someone else is doing, it is difficult to know what to do next. If I help I will often do the wrong thing and get in the way but if I dont help then people presume I am lazy.

Often I seem to attract clutter. I read somewhere that because people with dyspraxia are very visual they remember where things are better if they can see them. It is a kind of organised chaos. Certainly if I put things away I often can’t remember where they are.So I think there must be some truth in it. Of course if you live with someone who likes things tidy,it can cause a lot of tension. Its a constant battle for me not to create clutter. My son often complains that he couldn’t stand my computer desk top. I tidy it frequently but some how it always seems to end up cluttered again. My TAFE lecturer has tidied my USB up twice because I had files all over the place. At TAFE on Thursday when I was saving a file she told me she was going to watch me save it to make sure I put it in the correct folder. My mission in life at the moment is to put everything away where it belongs from the start. It really does save a lot of time and effort if I do but it is a work in progress.

I don’t know what the answer is to having a disorganised brain. Certainly putting things straight away will help with clutter. I know I frustrate people because believe me I frustrate myself. Knowing the quickest and easiest way to tackle a task is another matter. I have no idea how to improve this, or if it even can be. If someone else is around then asking their advice will help. This is not always practical as I am often alone. If anyone has any suggestions they will be gratefully received.

Post

A Frustrating Brain

I have returned to studying as a mature age student to try to get myself some skills to get a job. Having dyspraxia means I can’t just go down to Mcdonalds and apply for a job. Being unable to multi-task I would be to slow. I decided to try Information Technology as there are many jobs in this area and I hoped my dyspraxia wouldn’t make it to difficult. I was wrong.

Yesterday I had a very frustrating day. We did an assessment last week and my lecturer said she can see that I have all the skills, but I am to slow. In order to pass I have to be faster. I don’t type very fast and if I try to type faster my lack of co-ordination means I hit the wrong keys.I use all my fingers but I don’t touch type. Touch typing requires spacial awareness, something I unfortunatly struggle with. It is also difficult to find my place when glancing from the instructions to my keyboard. This is not uncommon with dyspraxia but none the less frustrating and time consuming.

It isn’t that I don’t understand the concepts. I am not stupid, but when your brain can only cope with 1 task at a time everything takes longer.Organisation is also a constant struggle, and something I have to remind myself of repeatedly. I know I frustrate people but they should see how frustrating it is to live in my head.

The one thing I do have going for me is determination. I simply refuse to give up. I think God made people with dyspraxia determined because we would never achieve anything if we gave up when the going got tough. Someone once told me that” he admired the way I never give up and it was something he had to work on.” It is still very difficult sometimes to stay positive and tell your self that you are as good as everyone else. Sometimes I concentrate so hard my head hurts. When you have to work twice as hard and twice as long to be half as good as everyone else, you cant help being frustrated. Though the sense of achievement when you do succeed is immense.

If you are a parent or a teacher of a child with dyspraxia, always praise their achievments. It can be very damaging to self esteem when other people do things so easily while you need to try so hard. While there are some things we will never achieve there are many things we can achieve with a lot of hard work.  I will pass this course but I will have to work twice as hard as everyone else to do it. Always remember  disability and stupidity are not the same thing.

Post

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.

Post

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

Post

My New OT

This week I was given a new Occupational Therapist (OT). She told me that the brain can be rewired to do anything if you do it 700 times. I am not so sure. I am sure that I have tied my shoelaces more than 700 times and they still won’t stay done up. Perhaps in people with brain injuries from strokes and accidents you can retrain the brain to perform tasks they could do before the injury. These people have the correct wiring in the brain, it has just been damaged and needs repairing. They just need to re learn things the way we all did as babies.In these cases then yes doing something 700 times may teach the brain to perform tasks.

Dyspraxia is caused by a miswiring of the brain. Nobody is sure how or why it happens.I am no expert but surely teaching someone with a neurotypical  brain which has been injured, is not the same as teaching someone who has a brain that is wired up incorrectly.If I thought repeating a task 700 times was going to rewire my brain then I would gladly do it.However it  isn’t that simple. We can learn strategies to cope better with our difficulties but we can’t rewire our brains. When dealing with adults, OT’s only seem to have been trained to work with people who have had strokes or accidents. My last OT said she had never heard of anyone being born with dyspraxia. I had to take my diagnosis in the following week to prove it. Dyspraxic children grow into dyspraxic adults so why aren’t  OT’s trained in dealing with dyspraxia in adults.

I saw my GP about a month ago for a foot injury. He looked at my feet and said that my laces are too loose and I need to tie them tighter.I told him that I couldn’t as I have dyspraxia. He looked at me and said well you will have to learn to. I started to say that I really couldn’t and realised that I was wasting my breath. I get so frustrated sometimes. I understand that the average person has not heard of dyspraxia. But when dealing with the medical profession I really do think they should have some idea. Perhaps my OT is right and I am wrong. I would be more than happy to be wrong. I think I can speak for everyone with dyspraxia in saying we would love to have our brains rewired

Post

Returning to Study

I recently decided to return to study. I wanted to study full time but the cost was prohibitive. The state government has recently removed many subsidies on education causing the price of a course to triple.
After considering my other commitment’s in life, financial stress and the organisational difficulties of my dyspraxia ,I decided to start off part time. Our first exercise was to write a bit about ourselves for our lecturer. I was relieved that we didn’t have to speak in front of the whole class. For me anyway expressing myself in writing was easier then speaking. When I have to speak verbally my brain seems to freeze and I cant organise my thoughts. I then become stressed which causes my brain to freeze even more. More…

Post

Dyspraxia in a sports mad country

Australia is a great place to live and I love it. But growing up in a country that is sport mad is far from easy when you have dyspraxia. The fact that sport is a compulsory part of the  school curriculum  is just the tip of the ice berg. Much of the socialising at recess and lunchtime involves sport. This is especially true for boys but also to a lesser extent for girls. The majority of extra curricular activities for children also involve sporting activities. When you have problems with gross and/or fine motor skills you are left behind by your peers much of the time. Always being on the outside looking in is difficult and frustrating for anyone, but for a child trying to make friends it can be a major blow to their often already fragile self esteem. Growing up I found very little understanding of my difficulties. More…