According to The Independent, people with Dyspraxia are slow underachievers but that’s not true.
I was diagnosed with Dyspraxia 26 years ago and sharing my experiences is an important part of my advocacy efforts. Recently, one of my tweets was quoted in Lisa Salmon’s March 26th article in the independent, How to Spot the Signs That Your Child Has Undiagnosed Disorders.
My tweet was used in this article without my permission, and the context in which it was used requires further elaboration. In that tweet, I admitted that I reached milestones like tying my shoelaces and riding a bike slower than my non-Dyspraxic peers.
Tasks that require coordination and spatial awareness will always follow similar patterns, but my words were used to justify a claim that all Dyspraxics are “slow”, “delayed”, and “underachieving”. Narratives like these are the reason why so many neurodiverse people’s family members, employers, health care providers, and friends don’t take neurodiversity seriously. Far too many of my neurodiverse friends have experienced healthcare providers, bureaucrats, employers, and educators who have refused care because they aren’t someone else’s idea of disabled or neurodiverse. Fitting in and thriving is the goal, but this isn’t achievable unless our needs are taken seriously.
Whether you realize it or not, neurodiverse people are an important contribution to the movies, video games, books, music, and TV shows you consume on a regular basis. I have also met paramedics, nurses, and educators who are on the neurodiverse “spectrum”. To an untrained eye, we’re “just” awkward or clumsy. Those who are thriving are those who have been treated like so much more than just “delayed” and “slow”, but when they need support, they get it.
26 years ago, my parents worked really hard to educate themselves on Dyspraxia and got me the support I needed. I was only 4 at the time. So, I don’t remember much about the year I was diagnosed. Although I do remember my parent’s priorities. They needed truthful perspectives that discuss the challenges of my disability, without ignoring my strengths. I talk to parents of Dyspraxic children on social media a lot these days. Often, they feel a lot better about their child’s future when I tell them that despite my Dyspraxia, I have a post-secondary education…