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The Frustration of Trying to Read a Map


trying to read a map


I recently took my son on a trip to Adelaide. He had never been on a holiday and his older siblings all had. Qantas had a great airfare special and we stayed in a caravan park to save money. They have a great open range zoo called Monarto Zoo about an hours drive outside of Adelaide. The regular buses don’t go out that way but there was a Link SA coach that left from the coach station to go there.

The problem is that we had  to find the coach station. We had a map of Adelaide that the caravan park had given us. I had a look at it but it made no sense to me. Most people seem to be able to look at a map and tell which way is up . It doesn’t matter how long I look at it, I can not work it out. It may as well have been in a foreign language for all the sense it made to me. I have often wondered if that is how people with dyslexia feel when they look at words. I try so hard it makes my head hurt and it is so frustrating when someone else comes along looks at it for a couple of minutes and says we go here  down there and turn here. We really wanted to go to this zoo and the last bus back was at 430 so we needed to catch the first bus to have enough time there.. I was afraid we would get lost so I told Christian we would have to do a trial run.

We caught the bus into the city and got the map out. I had no idea which way to go and naturally for me headed in the opposite direction to where we needed to go. I realised the street names were not right so we went back to where we started. They have volunteers in the city that give people information on where things are etc. A lovely lady saw us reading the map and asked us if we needed any help. After explaining to her where we needed to go, she gave us a better map then the one we had and drew a line that showed where we needed to go. For most people this would have been enough but of course I still couldn’t work out which way the map went. She did however point us in the right direction which was the exact opposite to the way we had originally headed. It was 37 degrees in Adelaide and like most 10 year olds Christian just wanted to go to the beach at Glenelg. We decided we would just get up really early in case we got lost. The heat was not helping with my frustration . We had found King William street but I didn’t know if we should go left or right. Completely frustrated I caught the train to Glenelg.

When we returned to the caravan park I decided to google directions to the coach station. I found this great internet site called where is and I will definitely use it again. As well as a map you have the option to have the directions written down. For example turn left on King William street. This was much easier to follow and if you put your mobile number into the site the directions would be sent to your phone. I knew we were headed in the right direction as we had passed the tram stop we had to get off at on the way to glenelg. We still got up early as we were not sure how far we needed to walk. The people in Adelaide were very helpful. A nice lady pointed out the street we needed leaving the tram station and we arrived at the bus station in plenty of time. I almost got lost on the way home but Christian remembered the way. It is a little frustrating when you are being given directions by a 10 year old.

Not being able to read maps wouldn’t really worry me so much but my dream is to back pack around France and Italy. It isn’t something a lot of people want to do , so there is a good chance that I will have to travel alone.If someone else was with me they could read the map for me.  Because of my dyspraxia when I ask  people directions I can only remember the first 1 or 2 directions. I also can’t tell my left from my right without thinking about it and people always give directions with left or right. I must confess I am a little afraid of how lost I may get by myself. I hope where is? will help me . If I know where I am going I can google it and write the directions down.If I get lost and need directions I will have to get out a notebook and write the directions down. People will probably think I am crazy , but if that is what I have to do I will because I am determined that I will go one day and I am never going to figure out how to read a map.

Sharon Beaumont

I am a single mother of 4 who has lived with dyspraxia for several decades. My hope is that by sharing my experiences I can help to raise awareness of dyspraxia. I trained as an Education Assistant but found some areas of this to be a difficult career if you have dyspraxia. Currently I am an Information Technology Student and am trying to teach my self to speak French. I love travel, writing and anything French.

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