What is dyspraxia?
Do you tend to bump into things?
Is it sometimes hard for you to communicate?
Do you tend to feel clumsy or inept?
Maybe you find it hard to decide what you need to do and how to do it.
If a lot of these things apply to you, it may be that you are dyspraxic.
The key feature of dyspraxia is difficulties with co-ordination, but it can also involve problems with organisation, memory, concentration and speech. As with dyslexia, there are a lot of indicators 'on the list,' but you are said to be dyspraxic if most of them apply to you all the time. You are probably also creative and determined: you need to be!
Dyspraxia is nothing to do with intelligence. It is part of the diversity of human beings: we are not all alike. But labels like 'dyspraxic' can be useful, as long as you don't get trapped by them.
Positive aspects of dyspraxia
Most books and web sites on dyspraxia focus on difficulties. Dyspraxic people often have strengths as well, such as:
- Strategic thinking
Some problem areas
The way academic courses are organised may mean that dyspraxic students do have some problems, because of issues to do with:
- Practical work
- Personal organisation
- Memory and attention span
- Written expression
- Visual, spatial and oral skills
If you have trouble with any of these things, some of the aspects of being a student listed on the next page might apply to you. This does not mean that you have 'got something'. It means that you have to work out your own best ways to study.
Your university may be working towards being 'dyspraxia-friendly,' but you will probably need to remind people of what will help you. Dyspraxic people often have similar experiences to those who are dyslexic. There is help available for you.
As a dyspraxic student you may experience:
- Problems using a computer.
- Frequent spills in labs etc.
- Difficulties with craft work.
- Often bumping into things.
- Not good at team or ball games.
- General untidiness and clumsiness.
Slow, poor or illegible handwriting. Erratic spelling and punctuation. Confused sentence structure. Irrelevant material in essays. Slow to finish.
Visual and oral skills
- Wrong pronunciation of new words.
- Speaking indistinctly and interrupting.
- Problems dealing with text on screens.
- Tracking problems when reading.
You may feel depressed and frustrated at times. Let your personal tutor know! Counselling and learning support are there to help as well.
Don't let people make you feel that dyspraxia equals something wrong with you. There is a 'problem' to do with dyspraxia, but it's a problem for the university. Dyspraxic students need adjustments to the standard ways of organising courses. It's not simply a matter of going to learning support, although that is helpful. You may need to politely repeat what your needs are!
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