Living with dyspraxia (a lifetime of self-doubt, spills and bruises)

Ross Patrick
9 min readDec 22, 2019

How many times have you said “sorry about my handwriting — I’ve got dyspraxia”?

It has become a default statement for me. A tricky one, because nobody likes to be labelled. But I also don’t want people to think I’m stupid or incompetent. So it feels like a reasonable compromise.

Hello, my name is Ross. I was diagnosed with dyspraxia (technically DCD — we’ll get to that) at 14. Before that, there had been a lifetime of chaos, bruises, angry teachers (not related to the bruises) and parental disappointment. Maybe you were the same. Or maybe your experience was totally different.

If you have recently been diagnosed with dyspraxia, I hope you find this article helpful. I am sure you will recognise a lot of the things I say! Hopefully it will teach you some methods of self-support. Whether you have been diagnosed as an adult or if you got lucky and had a teacher who spotted the signs at an early age.

Perhaps you have a child who has just been diagnosed. In that case, welcome. Pull up a chair. You are about to learn a lot more about what that child is thinking and how you can help them.

The first section of this article explains what dyspraxia is. You might already know that — in which case feel free to skip past it. The bits that come after will be more beneficial to you.

What is dyspraxia?

Firstly, any medical professionals reading this will already be furious. Because what we have been describing as dyspraxia is actually called Developmental Co-Ordination Disorder (DCD).

The difference is that DCD begins in childhood and is predetermined from birth. Whereas dyspraxia can be caused by trauma (such as a head injury or stroke). I’m going to use the word dyspraxia instead of DCD in this article because I think a lot of people who read Medium are adults and Developmental Co-Ordination Disorder often describes the issues that dyspraxia causes in childhood — completely ignoring the other 80% of life with the condition.

The next thing to know (which may come as a relief if you are a parent of a dyspraxic child) is that there is no known cause. But it’s not the parents’ fault. The most widely accepted theory is that…

--

--

Ross Patrick

I’m on a mission to cut Netflix out of my life and spend that time reading and writing. So far, it’s not going well. Turns out Prison Break is really good.