I’m an adult woman with dyspraxia – realising that changed my life

Dyspraxia UK defines dyspraxia (aka Developmental Coordination Disorder aka DCD) as a “chronic and usually permanent condition characterised by impairment of both functional performance and quality of movement that is not explicable in terms of intellect, or by any other diagnosable neurological or psychiatric features”. Between 5% and 10% of the population have some symptoms of dyspraxia, but this lifelong neurological disorder is both tricky to explain and complex to diagnose. “Dyspraxia/DCD is a cluster of difficulties and can present with different difficulties,” Michele Lee, vice-chair of the Dyspraxia Foundation told Bustle. “But the common symptom is difficulties with gross- and fine-motor skills.”

Reframing my failings as ‘symptoms’ changed everything. I had spent a lot of my life wondering why I was so shit at everything

In the UK, there is currently no NHS provision for dyspraxia diagnoses in those 16+, however, Dyspraxia UK offers diagnoses and occupational-therapy services. My diagnosis, with Dyspraxia UK director Rosaline Van de Weyer, was a three-hour session including motor-skills testing like typing, shape-matching exercises and “sensory profiling”, assessing my sensitivities. Most dyspraxics, like me, emerge with a “spiky profile”, ie there are things we’re very poor at and things we’re very strong at. So, my diagnosis wasn’t an entirely bleak picture.

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