Diaries Magazine

Dyspraxia- What's That? | Gracie Medford

Posted on the 16 October 2015 by Gracem16 @TSITR_Gracie
Hello everyone, 
Today I want to talk about something I often feel uncomfortable talking about, dyspraxia. Not just any dyspraxia though, this is my dyspraxia. It's not something I can change, I was born with it, I can only adapt to certain situations. 
You may be wondering why I'm deciding to talk about something so personal? That's because this week is Dyspraxia Awareness Week, and I wanted to open up about it. It's not the easiest thing to describe or go into detail about, as it's something difficult to describe. 
The Dyspraxia Foundation (http://www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/about-dyspraxia/) defines it as, 'Dyspraxia, a form of developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. It may also affect speech. DCD is a lifelong condition, formally recognised by international organisations including the World Health Organisation.' I would like to talk more about my experience with dyspraxia today, and try and give you some perspective of my situation. 
When I was born on the 28th July 1994, I was believed to be a healthy happy baby. Despite my late start in walking and talking everything was presumed okay, I did start crawling backwards which is believed to be down to my co-ordination. However, at the time this was shrugged off, not for any particular reason, it just was. 
So as I grew up I took a healthy appetite in reading, and education. Throughout Primary School I always struggled to make friends, social skills are also a negative part of living with dyspraxia. The best way to describe this is, in my head I will construct a sentence, but it will come out completely different. It's like my brain says one thing, my mouth says the other. This will mean sometimes I will say things like, "uhm," or stumble over sentences. So it was hard to make friends, and sometimes I will find situations awkward and unsure of what to say. Dyspraxia wasn't very well known until year two/ three, when a support teacher noted what my difficulties were. I was soon recommended to see a second support teacher that gave me some strategies. Without both of these people I don't know how I would have coped. 
Secondary school was the same, I had the same struggles, matched by things I found almost impossible to do. Believe it or not, in year six I struggled to do things like tying up my shoe laces and such. It was all to do with my co-ordination again, and also my motor co-ordination, but I learnt these things. I had further help with a physio who helped me gain muscle strength, and more coping strategies. I never really made many friends, but I did make friends with Lynn, who I still talk today. It was these small instances I was thankful for. I was painfully shy, but at the same time painfully loud. I think it was my way of getting people to notice me, I think at this sort of age you do anything to fit in, regardless of who you are. I did make a few friends, but I mainly concentrated on education. 
I spoke to numerous people I met online, I know the perils of online talking trust me! I found it easier to communicate through written word, rather than spoke. I soon built up a connection around Essex, and found myself wanting to go and see these people. I went to Colchester maybe four or five times, but I soon realised these people were not friends back to me. I still find this hard today, but it's made me a stronger person. As I grew up I had various different boyfriends, friends, etc. but this was a difficult time where I was constantly trying to find myself, find my personality and who I was. Having dyspraxia only made this worse, as I often struggle to organize myself, and as mentioned compose my thoughts. 
By the time I was sixteen, I'd finished secondary school and was wondering what to do with the rest of my life. I was in a good long distance relationship, but had no friends, no prospects of what I wanted to do and found myself even more alienated than I had when I was fifteen. It was perhaps the second hardest time of my life. I chose to do A-Levels in History, English and Drama. I chose drama because I always felt like I could be myself when I was another character, it also helped to build my confidence. If I hadn't have got a D in it, with a higher mark in drama than English, I would have most likely done it at University. 
A-levels were more difficult educationally than my degree, it feels odd saying that. When I was doing my a-levels I had the comfort of home, I had a place where I was secure, and I was doing subjects I liked. A-levels were a relativity simple part of my life, I got two d's and a c. When thinking of life after a-levels, I felt I was pushed to go to University. And looking back, I wish I'd taken a year out, got some experience to see how I felt then. I'd also been working at Boots for a year, so I was in a good job. I did have a work friend, but our friendship never really turned into anything long-term, which was a shame. Yet I went to University, and had to be diagnosed, for my "disability". 
I went to see a child psychologist who soon said I had dyspraxia and surprisingly dyslexia. Nether less I had the information I needed to give to University and was soon off to University. 
I've done a separate blog post all about my University Experience, which you can go and read. Yet, throughout my entire time at University, I still struggled to make friends and reverted back to old methods of coping. I still think though I learnt a lot at University, I left with a degree after a lot careful thought of dropping out to do something in media. It wasn't the best, but this moves on to my life now.
So where am I now, twenty one years later? I have a stable job which I love, I know some people say you can't have a good job and love it. I do though! I'm hoping to intern some more next year, in the hope to progress further. I also want to be more open about my dyspraxia in the future. I also have an amazing boyfriend, a few close friends who I adore with all my heart. Things are looking positive and I feel like I'm coping better with my issues. 
Gracie xxx

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