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Does My Diagnosis Define Me?

 

As I get older, I feel (as with most people with Dyspraxia)  that I do not want to let the diagnosis define me as a person.

 

Where this becomes difficult is when you were diagnosed quite young and have grown up identifying as Dyspraxic or as a person who has a condition known as Dyspraxia.  I encountered this problem the other day when during a discussion with a friend of mine (Yes E, its you I’m talking about) and she asked me what Dyspraxia was.

 

I was trying to explain it to her and I found a lot of difficulty with trying to distinguish what parts of my personality and the way I act is down to Dyspraxia and how much of it is just Joel being Joel. I have been contemplating this for the last week and trying to dissect my personality down to the basics of who I am as a person.

 

I guess when I explain my diagnosis to people I say that I cannot ride a bike and that balance sucks, I tend to get distracted easily or that my sense of direction sucks so bad its not even funny (seriously following directions on google maps, I ended up going the wrong way for an hour and a half) Looking over the difficulties that people with Dyspraxia tend to have I identify that I have the following:

 

Difficulty in listening to people, especially in large groups
Can be tactless
Interrupt frequently
Problems with team work
Difficulty in picking up non-verbal signals or in judging tone or pitch of voice in themselves and or others
Tendency to take things literally
May listen but not understand
Slow to adapt to new or unpredictable situations – sometimes avoids them altogether Impulsive.
Tendency to be easily frustrated
Wanting immediate gratification
Tendency to be erratic in have ‘good and bad days’
Tendency to opt out of things that are too difficult
Emotions as a result of difficulties experienced: Tend to get stressed, depressed and anxious easily
May have difficulty sleeping
Prone to low self-esteem, emotional outbursts, phobias, fears, obsessions, compulsions and addictive behaviour.

 

If you ask most people wether they think Dyspraxia defines them, they will say no. However, when you describe an aspect to yourself immediately and forget the good aspects that a diagnosis gives you, then you become a prisoner to it and it effects the way people see you. Next time when people ask you how Dyspraxia effects you try saying a few of these things instead or as well as:

 

We can be very creative!
Find alternative ways to learn
Not as stupid at first glance
Have excellent determination
Have a great sense of humour
We have more empathy and generally we are very helpful
When we get motivated – We get REALLY motivated!!
We have strong work ethic because its twice as hard for us!!

 

Guest Blog by J