Through this page other people who live with Dyspraxia share their
An Adults 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
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
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
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. (matts-hideout.co.uk). 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 -
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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