Saturday, 10 January 2015

Simon: My Dyslexia and Dyspraxia

Hi everyone!
Firstly I have to admit that this blog post has been the most challenging to write, as it has meant that I have had to deal with something quite personal and something I don't like facing head on.
So making it public knowledge adds a bit of jeopardy to this blog post unlike any others I have written or will ever write.
As it makes me feel quite vulnerable.

As the title suggests this post is all about Dyslexia and Dyspraxia a couple of conditions quite close to my heart, as I suffer from both. I am hoping that by the end of this blog you'll be able to recognise the symptoms and signs for Dyspraxia and Dyslexia in your friends and that they can be diagnosed.

For all those that don't know, Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty (or spectrum disorder) that affects the skills involved in the reading and spelling of words. Dyslexia tends to have difficulty with:

Verbal memory
This the ability to remember a sequence of verbal information for a short period of time. Such as a set of simple instructions or a short list.

Rapid serial naming
This is the skill of being able to name a series of colours, objects or numbers as quickly as possible.

Phonological awareness
This is a key skill when it come's to someone's early spelling and reading development. You become Phonological aware once you can identify how words are made up of phonemes (smaller units of sound). Changing a phoneme can lead to changes in their meaning.

Verbal processing speed
Is the speed in which it takes someone to process and recognise familiar verbal information, such as letters and digits.

Along with:
  • Physical coordination problems (Dyspraxia)
  • Poor short-term memory
  • Problems concentrating and a short attention span
  • Poor organisation and time-management
  • Difficulties with numbers (dyscalculia)

    While Dyspraxia (also known as Developmental Co-ordination Disorder or DCD) is also fairly common, although it affects a persons physical co-ordination and movement.

    Fortunately, I don't really suffer from the associated problems you get with them. This is only because, as times gone by I've found different 'Coping Strategies' to solve the problems I face due to Dyslexia and Dyspraxia.
    Even as I write this blog I've had to use my 'Coping Strategies'. One of those techniques is having to effectively forcing Spell Checker to correct my misspelled word for the correct spelling...that happens quite often whenever I write a blog post!
    Let's take the last the last paragraph for example, in this instance I couldn't remember how to spell the word strategy. If that happens I have to 'try' and sound out the phonics on the word (difficult for Dyslexics). You might think that's easy considering it's written right in front I should get it right first time round...but the word I've spelt is statergy.
    As you know the Spell Checkers red line has appeared, so I can  right click on it and go to the Spell Checker window and select the correct spelling.

    I also want to tell you an antidote describing what can happen when you have a bad case of Dyspraxia! I had to go back three years (back to 2012). When I got my first car (which I nicknamed "Little Donkey"), a car I've reluctantly had to change since...

    Anyhow back to what I'm suppose to be talking about, at the time I was working in a local school as a Teaching Assistant. So I had to compute the 2.5 miles into work each day. On the 2nd day of term eager to get into work, I leave for work at 7:45am and 'somehow' manage to bang my head on the top of the door frame of my car!

    Instantly I start not feeling very well...but thought nothing of it! After another forgetful 20 minute compute I get into work. Where I mention what has happened to the other staff, which results in me having a Cold Compress put over my head.

    After 'trying' to do a full days work, with symptoms of a unknown and undiagnosed illness (at that time). I go home (around 4:00pm), fortunately after talking to the teacher I was working with (Hi Penny!) I decide to play it safe and get the bus home (leaving my car where I parked it).

    A few hours past by (around 6:30pm), and my Mum gets home from work (local hospital). After a couple of seconds she's looked at me, and knows with out asking that I'm not feeling well.
    Within 10 minutes she's on the phone to Phil asking whether he can pick us up and take us to Accident & Emergency (A&E). A little while later, Phil comes and takes us directly to A&E.
    After spending 3 hours (Taking us to around 10:30pm) being looked at my a couple of Doctors I am finally diagnosed with Concussion.
    Then after a short wait, Phil came and picked us up again! Instead of taking us straight home he went and picked up my car and drove it back to our house, before going home!

    I would just like to finish by saying that I am internally thankful to Penny (the teacher I was working with) for being very supportive on that day, Phil for coming to the rescue and to Mum for getting me to A&E!

    I know that's a quite lengthy antidote...but I think it just shows you how Developmental Co-ordination Disorders impacts people's lives. I know there are going to be people out there saying "Simon, you can't put that experience solely down to Dyspraxia?!"
    In answer to those people, I have to say that I don't think it's the whole reason it happened...but I don't think it helped matters!!!

    This is Simon from The Engage Podcast signing out!


    1. Thank you! really well done and it will help my son!

      1. Your welcome Julie!
        I'm really glad you enjoyed reading my Blog post, and I feel really humbled that it has helped you (& your son). I wrote it with the intention of raising awareness for Dyslexia & Dyspraxia. Which is something I feel like I've achieved, with over five hundred views of the Blog post (at the time that I reply to this).

        Even though emotionally it was one of the hardest Blog posts I’ve ever had to write. It enabled me to finally be able to ‘deal’ with (and in some ways put closure) over an extended period of my life where Dyslexia & Dyspraxia controlled my life.
        After starting the Blog, I’ve found that I’m now in control my Dyslexia & Dyspraxia!