Dyspraxia and Me by Fiona Brown
As a small child of almost three I had a virus that changed my life forever. It left me with a disability that predominantly impacts on the right side of my body, but you cannot see it. Its name is dyspraxia.
As a result, my coordination as a child was hopeless – tie my shoelaces or write my name when I started school, no chance. However, fall over my own reflection, you bet. Even though I learnt to write my name, my writing is super tiny and has led to many to complain as they are unable to read it, whereas I am glad I can write at all.
I became determined to prove those that ever doubted me wrong. As a child the lack of understanding of dyspraxia meant many thought, I was stupid or be lucky to gain any qualifications. In 2010 I achieved a PhD in geography (environmental archaeology), an incredible achievement in anyone’s life.
The main problem with dyspraxia being labelled a learning difficulty is people think when you leave school you grow out of it. The word developmental is also used with dyspraxia, which again suggests as a woman in her 40s I should be not having the issues I do.
Trying to navigate an adult world when it leaves you super sensitive and don’t always process what someone says above noise can be humiliating and frustrating. I have faced and continue to face invisible barriers as I have an invisible disability. However, by talking about it, raising awareness, we can end the stigma of invisible disabilities.