A Disability That Does Not Count

By Ronan J. O’Shea: For More Info, Go Here…

Dyspraxia is hard to diagnose, more common than people realize, and affects every aspect of my life.

Conversation was flowing when I noticed that my hands had turned blue, the dye from my new jeans having run on to them. I showed her what had happened, and, through fitfully antipodean laughter, she said: “Ronan, you are the most awkward man I have ever met.”

She was correct.

My attempt to buy ethically sourced (and runny-dye) jeans had backfired, sure, but the overall awkwardness was not atypical for me.

I am dyspraxic. I’m clumsy, I stumble over words as much as curbsides, bump into table edges as often as I do familiar faces at my local pub. Like many dyspraxics, I have trouble with handwriting, coordination, and sequencing, all typical symptoms of a condition which, in the U.K. at least (and I’d bet in the United States, too) is largely considered a joke.

Most people are clueless what it means when I say I’m dyspraxic, comparing my handwriting to “a doctor’s,” my inability to remember recently seen information to bone idleness, my mistakes to a lack of professionalism. Generally, they’re wrong — though my handwriting is that bad.

For most people, the left-hand side of the brain controls what the right-hand side of the body does. For dyspraxics, that criss-cross functions more like a tangled jump rope. Dyspraxia manifests itself in numerous ways: from near-illegible handwriting to severe difficulties with physical movement. Like any learning difficulty, it varies in severity.

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