Look at the picture not the picture frame
Cumsy child! Well yes, I thought, that’s what I was always called. Stupid child, yes again. I stopped to read the article. It was fairly short and outlined the problems the journalist had had with her son who was suffering from something called dyspraxia. Never heard of it I thought, but the clumsy child tag had caught my attention. After I had read it I read it out again over coffee to the rest of the family. ‘This remind you of anyone?’ I asked before I read it to them. ‘Oh yes’ said my mother. ‘That’s you when you were young, right down to the socks around the ankles’. We had a laugh but she was right, the article had described many of the problems and I filed it in my mind. To look at later.
The article had listed various problems including said socks and poor co-ordination, a lack of ball-playing skills, lack of social skills, poor at maths and very clumsy. Well, many people could claim these and as she also mentioned poor reading skills I dismissed the thought that it was me. What I could do was read, always, since before starting school.
It niggled in the back of my mind though, whatever else occupied my mind at any one time and, from time to time, I checked any websites I could find on the subject. The list of “can’t do’s” grew longer. The list of difficulties experienced grew longer and the list of all the symptoms that I had had or still had also grew longer until I realised that when ticking boxes on the checklists I was scoring
7/8 on motor skills,
3/5 fine motor skills,
2/3 speech and language,
7/8 perception(interpretation of different senses),
6/8 for learning, thought and memory and
5/6 for emotion and behaviour.
Oh for scores like that in maths tests at school!! Only the reading and handwriting seemed to be wrong. Then I learnt that you didn’t need to have all of them to be dyspraxic.
I started to wonder about dyspraxia. Family and friends tended to say no they were always tripping over themselves, they couldn’t stand on one leg either, or they were hopeless at spelling . . . maths . . . or whatever I mentioned. Social skills oh no, they would say, they were dreadfully shy, most people are. They were right, I thought, and anyway what did it matter? I was a grown woman, had made my way, done what I wanted. Why worry? Why indeed.
But, I would think, would it explain so much of my life that had bemused and blighted me? Would it somehow validate me, even if it was just to myself? Too late for school and I doubt they had even heard of it back in the 50s and, even if they had, it most probably would not have made any difference. I still couldn’t make the final leap. Then one evening coming back from singing I was frustratedly telling a friend that I had often thought there was something wrong inside my brain as I could read, understand and appreciate reasonably complex thoughts, especially in science and anthropology, but could never get it back out to explain to anyone else; why I always failed any exams because of the lack of time to regurgitate my knowledge. She reminded me of my thinking about dyspraxia and said wouldn’t that explain it. After one last research I was ready to take the leap. Admit that maybe that was what was wrong with me. Fifteen years after reading that article!