Coping with Dyspraxia
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Your Stories

Through this page other people who live with Dyspraxia share their stories.

Daniel's Story
Sherry's Story
Sarah's Story
Natalie's Story
Angel's Story
Jonathan's Story
Andy's Principle
Eleanor's Story
James's Story
Abigail's Story
Rebecca's Story
Laurens Story
Craig's Story
Nicola's Story
An Adults Story
Stuart's Story
Hannah's Story
Clare's Story

By Daniel, age 14

Hi, my name is Daniel, I am 14 years old and have known I had dyspraxia since I was 7 but only knew what that meant recently. I have had dyspraxia for as long as I can remember. the effects on my handwriting are quite dire. My little brother has more legible handwriting than me! I am not sure if this has anything to do with dyspraxia but I plough through books like a madman, I managed to finish the newest harry potter in 2 days :) I'm very proud of that, lol.

I don't know all the possible symptoms of dyspraxia but have heard things about discomfort in social situations (or is that just me? :P lol) but I am never comfortable and think that the people I'm with are always judging me. I'm a little paranoid like that. I have 2 very close friends who I am completely comfortable with. one of them happens to be mildly dyspraxic (as well as diabetic and schizophrenic (cant spell :) )

I am quite intelligent going to a very good school called Manchester grammar school but my dyspraxia holds me back very badly from my full potential. My parents keep on piling the pressure on for me to do well (they say that I have the ability to get 10 A* and its an insane amount of pressure!) and do my homework but I just plain forget about it or get distracted or forget to hand it in or forget my books or any combination you can make out of them :P. I cant organise myself or concentrate good in lessons that I'm not interested in (French) or write properly.

Some ways that I am trying to cope with these things is by using a laptop in school (I quadrupled my English mark in my end of year exam when I retook it on a laptop :)) but I still end up just losing track of the lessons for one reason or another. I also have a palmpilot that I cant write on properly. I have had the special grips for my pens which I then lose. Its just crazy.

Also my hand eye co-ordination means learning to drive will be a trip backwards through a hedge (both literally and figuratively) for me. Also any kind of sport is a nightmare. I love playing sports but I am often too scared to actually go out and play them because of the reaction I know that I'm going to get when I do go. There are some people that are OK with that with me and try and encourage me and help me, but the rest just mock me and when I finally get my hands on the ball I think to myself, "OK this is my chance to prove my worth and then they'll pass it me more often" and then I obviously mess it up. My life revolves around my few but very good friends and music and reading. I love reading stories because it gives me the temporary delusion that I'm something that I'd prefer to be but am not :D.

Basically, I'm happy with who I am even though it would be nice to have some things (a lot of things, lol) better, but its me and my body and I cant do anything about most of it so whatever then lol :).

Hope you enjoyed my little story. :)

By Sherry, age 51

I was 50 when a test for Dyslexia at the British Dyslexia Association in London gave me a battery of tests, which suggested - the GOOD news - that I was not dyslexic as I was in the top percentile for verbal ability, spelling etc. but that - the BAD news - I showed strong signs of DYSPRAXIA. This was because the disparity between verbal ability and numbers, organization, concentration, etc. was highly unusual. This explained some difficulties I'd been having as a high-flying EU translator for 25 years, despite a great talent for languages and writing.

Numbers were always a nightmare at school, no one wanted me in their netball or hockey team and although I was good at ballet, I could never pirouette or put a dance sequence together. I worked extremely hard at maths but failed maths GCSC TWICE. Teachers said I dserved to pass. I concentrated instead on the subjects I was already good at: languages and English and got 2 A's and a B at "A" Level and although I flunked Cambridge entrance, I had a wonderful time at Bristol University and got a First Class Hons. This encouraged me to do a Master's in Translation and I drifted into translating in Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Brussels and New York.

All the time I noticed that I had difficulties working from more than a couple of "sources" at one time. I frequently got numbers wrong or gave the wrong number to the text I was working on. Occasionally I'd skip a paragraph and not see it, or misread the original and make it say what I expected it to say... My office was a mess and colleagues joked about it being an Aladdin's cave, where things would go missing in a black hole... I was having problems I with timekeeping and rarely knew which day it was. All this was further complicated by the fact that I also suffer from chronic depression. Being criticised for "careless" mistakes and poor organizaation didn't help my morale or self-esteem, as you may imagine.

I eventually applied for an invalidity pension, which I now live on. I contacted DITT, Dyslexia - Tools and Technologies, which is a small but very committed and dynamic lobbying group in my hometown, Brussels, and did a computer course specially designed for dyslexics. I found I had a lot in common with dyslexic people and felt less alone. I listened to very stimulating conferences organized within that forum and began to search the Net. I chanced upon Matt's site this evening after being shouted at by my singing teacher and dropped from a prestigious choir concert because I'm not up to speed. I found solace in your columns and will not give up doing my best in future, even though I have different learning styles and talents.

I have been able to tell my 3 sisters about dyspraxia too, as we think we inherited the gene from our father, who is a brilliant comedy writer but clumsy, terrible at arithmetic and can't change a lightbulb or boil an egg. We are terribly proud of our genius father, and are proud that we got his creativity as part of the package.

By Sarah, age 16

Hi everyone, I hope you are all ok. My name is Sarah and I am 16. I was told I have dyspraxia at the age of 15, a few days before my 16th birthday. The doctor told me and my mum when I went there, as I had a really bad tremor, which I will have for the rest of my life. He said it’s because I am Dyspraxic. Me and my mum were very shocked. The doctor asked us why we were very shocked to be told that. So I said that I never knew that I was Dyspraxic. My mum said she didn’t know I was either. It was a new thing to me and I had never really understood dyspraxia, until my mum showed me this website. ( This website has really helped me alot.

The doctor soon told me and my mum that the reason why I had trouble in P.E and making friends was because I have dyspraxia. They also said that’s why I had a tremor. Me and my mum were pleased to find out what was wrong with me. It made school life and home a bit better.

I get bullied alot as people think I am different. My mum received a letter from the doctor saying I was diagnosed at the age of 4 with dyspraxia. But the hospital had never told my mum or dad. This was a bigger shock. I have now learnt to live with it all.

By Natalie, age 15

I am natalie. I am 15 and I find somethings hard at school. I have a boyfriend called Matthew and I did have a best friend, but I broke up with her a couple of days ago.
I live with my Mum, Dad, my Stepsisters and my Brother. My brother anonnys me sometimes but I have got used to it .

I used to like school but my teacher left, so now I hate it.

By Angel, age 25

I am 25 and have just been diagnosed with dyspraxia. I have had problems with co-ordination, balance, organisation, concentration, maths, sentence structure, etc all my life. I always thought it was just 'something wrong with me' and that there were 'just something things I couldn't do'. I went through school and university, and have been working full time for 3 years, feeling so frustrated and annoyed with not being able to do things other people find easy . I only just finally got the nerve to ask to be tested for a learning difficulty, about a month ago.

It's kind of a relief to find out that I'm not dumb or stupid and that my problems are real and that many other people have them too! Surprisingly it helps to stick a label on it! I always thought I was dyslexic - and in fact have been asked if I am many times, mainly because I can't, 'do maths!' and I can't organise sentences or deal with punctuation terribly well! The co-ordination stuff I didn’t even realise was related – I just thought I was clumsy!

I was diagnosed yesterday, and the ed psych told me to look up Dyspraxia on the internet, so today I have. Most of the sites are informative but dry texts about what it is and what you can do to help yourself - useful but not particularly inspiring.

Then I came across this site...totally different to any of the others, I read the stories and the helpful organisational hints, I recognised myself in a lot of them, and bits made me laugh and some made me feel pretty sad.

I think this site is incredible - sharing your experiences and difficulties and solutions with people is so courageous and to do it at such a young age is awe-inspiring. I just wanted to say I was really touched by this site and found it very helpful and reassuring - so THANKYOU!

By Jonathan, age 24

I’m 24 now, and was diagnosed as dyspraxic just before leaving primary school. Before I was diagnosed, teachers just seemed to think I was a bit thick; after that (and especially after I went to secondary school), they were more supportive. I found it hard to ‘fit in’ at school, but enjoyed the freedom of going to college and then university.

I’ve done lots of jobs – web design, IT support, research, writing for journals etc. – my organisation still isn’t great, but I get by OK most of the time. I’m a PhD. student now, and I’m really enjoying studying political philosophy; the slightly unusual way of looking at the world that comes with dyspraxia is a real asset at university, and what problems there are can be dealt with.

Dyspraxia still causes some difficulties: my co-ordination’s lousy (typically enough, before sitting down to write this, I poured myself a nice cold beer – put it down for a minute, then somehow managed to spread it over my bedroom floor!); my spatial awareness isn’t good (I can get lost on the 1 minute walk from the Metro to my house…); and the way I organise my work is, at best, ‘unusual’. What problems there are can be dealt with, though: my university gives me good support, and I find doing something that uses my co-ordination – yoga, juggling, going to the gym… – really helps improve it. Living with dyspraxia seems more fun now than it used to.

By Andy, age 16

What really annoys me about dyspraxia is when people patronise you. It was like that in middle school so since then I've worked by this principle: work 4 times harder than anyone else, so you can be just as patronising back. Dyspraxia isn't a disability, its just a good way of getting motivated!

By Eleanor, age 12

My name is Eleanor, I am 12 and was diagnosed last year as Dyspraxic and Dyslexic. My mum knew something was wrong with me, but not sure what. My junior school teachers thought I was lazy and had behavioural problems. My attempts at homework were torn up in front of a class and I was threatened with detention if my homework could not be completed. I was never invited to parties and was often on my own. I am now at secondary school but have been bullied and find the work hard. I have eventually been statemented, but my mum and dad have had a real battle with the Education Authority. I do not like school. I have no friends. My mum is often upset as she feels so sorry for me and the future. Are there any other children my age in this area?

By James, age 20

My teacher told my mother I was an attention seeker. I moved schools. When I went into Junior I struggled with reading, and mathematics. I used to skip reading books, adding up instead of times, subtracting instead of dividing, etc. But when I was 10, I was assessed by the an Educational Psychologist and was later diagnosed with Dyspraxia and Dyslexia. From there my teacher's would help me, support me, praise me for doing thing right.

In my secondary school, I was supported, as this school had a good special needs teacher called Mrs Lewis. I was in her class for the 1st year and she showed me how successful I could be. She helped me in every way. I used go to after school lessons on writing, spelling and reading. If my work was wrong, she helped me to correct it. This help was proved right when I was moved up a set in my second year, which then continued to my 3rd year and 4th year.

In my GCSE years, I found timing, homework, pass papers, coursework a struggle but still with support from a good range of teachers and family, I battled through until August 1999, where I came out with 3B, 4C, and 2D. From There I went on to do A-level, and struggled again. It was the worst 2 years of my life. I was always bottom of the class, used to get E and F on homework, but still battled through it, until I came out with grades C, D and E in 3 A-level subjects.

I am now in my Final Year at University studying at Liverpool, Hope University Collage in Multimedia Technology, plus, I am currently undertaking Research into designing a Computer Aided Learning Application for children with Dyspraxia, so I'm trying to help children with their education.

I leave with you this Message.

Young Children who suffer Dyspraxia, don't give up. Try to prove those teachers and peers that you are bright as them, even brighter than them. It's like Trial and Error, IF NOT RIGHT, TRY AND TRY AGAIN. Go on, I know you can do it.

By Abigail, age 20

It was about 1985 and Mum was in one of her desperation moments again to help me as much as she could, as I still couldn't' sleep or stay in my bed, I still couldn't' t tie my shoe laces and I was still breaking things by dropping them.

"Oh, what will I do for Abby?", she said, in vain. She carried on managing. When I was born, they said that I had some form of learning difficulty, but they didn't know what. It carried on and on without knowing what I had. I went to Special School in London and I got to make friends with different forms of learning difficulties and they still couldn't' t manage to teach me how to tie up my shoe laces or understand subjects. Also I used to keep falling off my chair for no apparent reason. Then, in the end the ways of education changed, and people with mild forms of learning difficulties were to be moved into normal primary and secondary schools. I was moved onto Primary School. I found incredibly hard to make friends and spent a lot of time trying to make new friends, but got there in the end. Later on I got teased though. After Primary School by that time I had finally learnt how to tie my shoe laces and I went onto Secondary School. My first day at Secondary School. Dreadful. I couldn't find my classrooms all day and arrived late for every single lesson, I got teased and I also lost my bag. I also could still not tell the time, so I didn't know if I was late or not. At secondary school it was a tough time. I got bullied many times by trouble makers and a few of the teachers were mean because of the way I was. They couldn't understand me. I couldn't do Games or PE and always got picked last. Now right at the very start all the teachers said I would never manage my GSCE' s, but I did do them by the time it got to year 11 and I got 4 C' s, 4 D' s and an E and an F. After School I wanted a career in Baking, so I went to a College open day and decided I was going to do an MFEC course at College. Because of my GCSE results I swapped to an NVQ2 course. I was then bullied at College by a rough group in my year on my course, but I ground my way through college getting my certificates.

While I was at College, when I was 18 my Mum found a Guide article from a Guide from a Guide magazine. It was about a Guide who was Dyspraxic, she wrote about what she found difficult in everyday life. Mum showed it to me and said to me, "That's you". I immediately agreed and we decide that's what I had. No need to go to a Psychiatrist, it was there in black and white.

Here ends my story, which I hope says a lot.

By Rebecca, age 19

My name is Rebecca. I am 19 years old and I have Dyspraxia. I was born in 1983. I was born with a hole in my heart and I had to have an operation when I was 8 years old. I found out that I had Dyspraxia when I was 10 years old.

I went to a local special school until I was 16 years old. Then I went to Poole College to do a Pre Voc and Basic Skills Course for 2 years . It was an English, Maths and Cooking Course.

I found college very hard, as I hadn't been to a main stream school. Trying to find my classrooms and coping with all the changes at college like noisy students and bad language. At the moment, I go to "Four Ways", a local day centre where I do pottery and art . I enjoy going to "Four Ways" day centre.

By Lauren, age 16

I've been dyspraxic and dyslexic my whole life. I inherited dyspraxia off my dad and dyslexia of my mum. I did have it hard at first and so did mum with my hyperactivity but I over came it and grew talents. If you think that being dyslexic means you are illiterate you are wrong, it's just a little abnormality in the brain same with dyslexia. my story is that I'm really good at some things and v crap at others but once I had head space (leaving school) I became good at the things I was bad at so now I'm multi talented. I hope you learn from my story , best wishes Lauren xxxx

By Craig, age 16

I am 16 at the moment I found out that I had Dyspraxia from the age of 6! I then had to and see on Occupational Therapist to get treatment for it. I could not run, throw, jump or anything like that at all. My handwriting keeps getting worst all the time eventually my handwriting will be legible. I am wishing to go onto further education. I am then hoping to study Occupational Therapy in London as I wish to help Dyspraxic children. I have written basically my life history briefly for an English Coursework to attempt to get along the points that Dyspraxic are not Freaks like the people see us!

By Nicola, age 14

Hi, my name is Nicola and I'm a 14 year old Dyspraxic. When I was 7 I found out I was dyspraxic. My mum and dad weren't that surprised because I had a lot of difficulties through life, for example I didn't start walking until I was 18 months, and my mum did know there was something wrong with me. I went to the hospital every year and they had a look at how I was doing. Also, I had speech problems, so I had speech therapy. By the time I was 8, I was at school and I wasn't doing well. So then my mum applied for somebody to come into school to help me 10 hours a week. I have had help ever since and I don't go to have my yearly checks because I have done so well with dyspraxia. It is still bad. I have difficulties with typing the right things.

An Adults story

I was bullied all the way through primary school for being different, useless at games and unfortunately towards the end of primary school I became violent because I would get so frustrated. (I'm not any more I've learnt how to let my frustration out in a more constructive way now).

My secondary school was superb because they didn't tolerate bullying at school and also I found things that I was really good at.

My husband and friends have been telling me that there is something different about me for years but I have always just shrugged and got on with things because I thought I was just really clumsy (I've now broken 34 bones since I was 12!!), with no sense of direction and at times a complete lack of tact or diplomacy. I seem to be very good at saying things the wrong way or in the wrong tone or sometimes apparently I can be stood the wrong way meaning people thing I'm being rude or off-hand and I don't mean to be. I also misunderstand other people and think they're getting at me when they're not or telling me one thing when actually they mean something else! Most people who know me well know I do this - including the people I work with and people work round me, find other ways of saying things and always check to see if I meant what I have just said.

I think the thing that frustrates me most is that I would love to play rugby or go skiing but no-one I know will let me do either as they're all convinced I'll damage myself or someone else! This is almost certainly true, but it would be great to have a go.

My husband does all the ironing because he can't stand watching me struggle with it - also my hands have a number of scars from where I've lost concentration and ironed me instead of the thing I was supposed to be ironing! I don't recommend doing that it's quite painful!

I have always taken things very literally which has been driving my boss mad but I have explained that I don't do it on purpose and he needs to explain that I haven't given him the answer he was looking for as I won't be offended I'll just try again until we get the answer he is looking for.

My optician noticed that there was a problem with my tracking and a couple of other things so wrote to my doctor, who I finally summoned up the courage to go and see three weeks ago. He agrees I have some coordination problems hence the impending visit to the neurologist. It would be a relief in some ways to know if this is what it wrong with me. The thing that made me follow up the optician's letter to the doctor was when I broke my left wrist (for the fourth time!) falling over my bag at work - I just didn't see it, which is incredible given I'd just put it down, knew it was there and was trying to walk around it!

I guess if I am dyspraxic, which I must admit, the more I read the more likely I think it is, it would make a lot of sense. If I'm not I still think that a lot of the day to day help points from the dyspraxia foundation will help me not to fall over things, start more things than I can finish and wear all my clothes the right way around with hopefully no odd socks and all colour coordinated - now that would be good!

I think your site is wonderful and very helpful and a great asset to you. I could never do something like that. But I wanted to say, whatever your problems, there is always a way through them. I struggled to get through school, especially with maths. I wanted to be an engineer and so I had to take maths all the way through to university. Well I struggled and I put in an awful lot of work especially at University, but I managed it and I am an engineer so it can be done.

I have found that being honest with people and explaining that I have problems in misunderstanding things and being clumsy has meant that apart from my parents everyone I meet is very tolerant and understanding - and that's not knowing why I am the way I am! I am very lucky to have such tolerant people as friends and colleagues, I have always known that, but reading your site has reinforced that knowledge.

It may well be that I am just the most clumsy and slow person I have ever met for no apparently good reason but I'm not doing too badly on it although my husband is very careful where he puts things and spends his life clearing up after me as I can never remember that I was carrying something or where I put things down or if given the chance to fall over something or bump into things I will!

By Stuart, age 10

Stuart here. I am 10 and have been diagnosed with dyspraxia since the age of 4. My younger brother also has Dyspraxia. He's 8. I had a hard time at school. I was bullied and also the teachers didn't seem to understand that I couldn't write as fast as everyone else because my hands hurt. They thought I was making up excuses. My mum and dad were always on the phone or up at the school trying to explain. They would be told that a note would be made of it and then the next day it would be as bad as ever. My parents have since taken me out of school and my dad teaches me. I am a lot happier. My writing has improved and I feel I'm learning more than I did when I was at school. I feel more relaxed when I'm learning now as I know that I'm not going to be hurried and if I don't understand then I can ask as often as I need to without feeling that I'm stupid for not getting it the first couple of times. I don't like crowds as I can't work out how to get round people quick enough to avoid them. I'm not stupid, but the amount of times I've been made to feel that I am, just from a look, is too many to count. I think I would sometimes rather be shouted at, because at least I could explain myself then. Mind you I shouldn't have to explain myself. People should be more tolerant. My family are brilliant, even though I sometimes don't seem to appreciate them. Especially my brother. I do give him a hard time and he gives me a hard time too. I don't suppose any family are any different. I have two younger sisters too, but I don't seem to give them as big a hard time as my brother. When I was going through all the hassle at school it affected my brother and sisters too as I frightened them and they didn't like to see me like that. Since I'm no longer in school the whole house is happier.

By H.C.

Not much to tell really, I never had many friends at primary school, they all thought I was "weird" I regard that as an asset now a days. Who wants to be "normal"? What IS normal? Boring if you ask me. I was bullied, and it got
to me a lot, fortunately I could always rely on my mum for support- she's been into my primary and secondary school because of bullying to try to sort it out. Its only just calmed down now and I'm now 15. There was always something a bit odd with me though, my handwriting for instance was always scruffier than the other pupils' in my class and it really hurt my hand if I tried to write neatly, I couldn't ride a bike till I was 11 and my brother had learned it when he was about 6. It seemed unfair that he had loads of friends and was always playing out where as I stayed in with no friends to play with.

It was only discovered that I was dysprasic when I had started at secondary school, I went on a school trip to the lake district and the teachers noticed there was something wrong with me, the way I walked, how bad my balance was etc. I was sent to a specialist who diagnosed me, I didn't have a clue what dyspraxia was at the time. Only that it was a bad thing and it was why I was so weird. I had sessions to improve my bad posture and balance, they helped and my handwriting has improved too.

It doesn't bother me at all now, I have friends who are very understanding and can be a little weird themselves! And I've become happy and confident in myself. With the help of my friends and family I'm growing up to become a productive young lady, all be it a bit weird, but that's just me.

Thanks for being a good friend Matthew,

Yours, happily, strangely, productively, confidently and thankfully,

H.C. :-)

How it is to have a brother with Dyspraxia, by my Sister Clare A-F

Matthew is my older brother he is also my best pal. I used to think he was doing it on purpose. It wasn’t till he set up his Web-site I began to understand.

When we were younger we would be playing a game Matt would reach for something and it all would be knocked over. We used to go to the park with our parents. I couldn’t understand why with me being two years younger he still couldn’t do half the amount of things I could do. I could do the monkey bars and Matt would struggle and sometimes fall off. I could run faster than he could. I could do lots of things that he struggled with.

Sometimes Matt would bump into me or tread on my fingers, and I would shout at him and call him names. Then I would feel really bad because it wasn’t his fault. The way other people treated him was horrible. On one occasion a lady was walking through a door and Matt bumped into her. But the look he got was worse than if she had said "stupid boy". Yes it was hard to cope with. Now if it happens I get angry.

When Matt was at school he was bullied. Seeing Matthew so sad and upset made me unhappy. One time we were walking home from school and two boys set on us. I was scared and angry. I felt sad when Matt told the School and no-one believed him. I did because I was there.

When Matt was 10 he was diagnosed with Dyspraxia. There were so many questions I wanted to ask. Matthew then started Physiotherapy. Now I felt guilty about all the horrible things I had said.

A few months ago Mum gave me a small purple booklet about Dyspraxia. It had all the answers to my questions. It was only then that I really understood what the word Dyspraxia meant and how hard it was for Matt. But even though I understand it’s still sometimes hard to go through a day without getting angry if Matt bumps into me or knocks over my things.

Now Matt is Home-Educated he is happy and the house is calmer. I am very proud of Matt to have the courage to tell the world what his life is like living with Dyspraxia through his Web-site. Matt is the best brother because he is kind, gentle, generous and looks out for me. He even forgives me when I yell at him