Dyspraxia blog

Friday, December 15, 2006

Moving to the main blog

As you may have noticed this blog hasn't been updated this the spring. I've been travelling for some seven months and have finally returned home. I kept a travel blog while away and now I'm back I'm putting all my efforts into a single blog, which does cover living with dyspraxia along with many other issues such as rural life, travel, politics and plenty more.

You can find my main blog at: http://thevillagescribe.blogspot.com/

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Visiting the neuro-psychologist

Having been referred by my GP in the latter part of last year, last week finally saw my appointment with the neuro-psychologist to see what the NHS could offer in terms of dyspraxia. Although I'd been advised not to expect anything, I nevertheless went with my usually buoyant attitude towards the whole proceedings.

As it turned out, I had a rather dyspraxic day before I'd even met the psychologist. I firstly dropped my change when trying to pay the bus driver. Later in the waiting room I had to move I couldn't stand the proximity to other people there. Finally the psychologist greeted me indicated I was to go into a room, but I failed to read which one, and I nearly went into the wrong consulting room until the people in the room indicated with expressive finger pointing that I should actually be next door. I had taken a list of what I wanted to ask and raise as I knew my memory wouldn't be up to the task, and indeed it wasn't. Despite all this, things did not go my way.

One thing about using the NHS if you're not used to the way it works is that everything happens so very slowly. Aside from having to wait months for this appointment, on the day I had to wait the best part of an hour beyond the stated appointment time before being seen. It turned out the psychologist in question had two people's work dumped upon him, leading to him seeing me for a few moments, and then disappearing next door for quite some time before returning again and continuing. I suppose if you're ill, then you're probably happy enough not to have everything happening at breakneck speed, however when you're fit, but wanting to get some information about an ongoing condition it does become something of a frustation.

In any case bear it I did. The consultation essentially involved the psychologist asking for the details of my concern, and asked if I was on a anxious nature. I said I didn't know, as after all it's something you have to use other people as a benchmark for. He said he'd conduct some tests, but didn't expect to find anything abnormal. The tests involved basic reflex, eye movement and hand-eye co-ordination through mimicing the hand movement he made. Indeed these were found not to be abnormal.

I was hoping for the possibility of an assessment for dyspraxia. Testing reflex is all well and good, and maybe with someone with an extreme neurological condition it may be telling, but for me of far more conclusive use would be something that tested short-term memory, balance, and other such dyspraxic traits.

On my use of the word 'dyspraxia' the psychologist said he didn't like affixing labels. I can understand it from the point of view that lots of parents seem to be looking for a label for the children to have, but I wasn't doing that at all. Although he didn't say that I didn't have dyspraxia, he said I was neurologically 'normal' whatever that means, but that he understood that I would like to understand better my type of normality. I think essentially speaking something such as dyspraxia doesn't really measure on the NHS's neurological radar. Certainly the leaflets in the waiting room of the section of the hospital indicated that MS was more their thing.

To be honest I don't have much doubt about being dyspraxic. I was diagnosed with clumsy child syndrome at primary school and I was more or less unique in my year at school in failing to exhibit any sort of ability for any activities in PE lessons. This I suspect was somewhat overlooked at the time as I was overweight, however my ability to throw and undertake other sporting activities has certainly not improved. The reason then, that I waited for this referral was for the hope of an assessment on the NHS. Although the neuro-psychologist said he could refer me to a neuro-psychologist (this bemused me I must say) for what I assume would eventually be an assessment, the waiting list was in the order of 6 - 12 months, and after that day's less than conclusive and satisfactory encounter I decided to take up the psychologists offer on being referred via my GP for a private assessment. Although it will cost a few hundred quid, I should at least get what I'm after and in a reasonable timescale.

Although I'm not rushed for an assessment, I was generally disappointed at how the consultation panned out. I had hoped that something would come from it, something positive, but it was not to be. That said I'm not down-hearted from the experience. What I had been told prior to the consultation proved entirely correct. For something such as dyspraxia (as as far as I can gather for other ND disorders too) if you want something such as an assessment and you're not in education where these sort of things are a lot more forthcoming, it's alas the case that you have to reach into your pocket and take things privately. Now I know, and that's the path I will be taking.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Human interest

As Christmastime is with us again I've been faced with the annual challenge of facing and conversing with a great many more people than would normally be required of me. I find interaction with other people one of my greatest personal paradoxes that is extentuated even further when family and friends are involved.

Simple put, my problem is that I have difficulties with people and communicating with them. I'm certainly not what I would call 'a people person' and I hold little interest or possibly even a passive dislike in most people. As a child I was always regarded as extremely shy. I disliked having to converse with others and when visitors called would always prefer to hide away in my room until they had left. Even a simple hello or goodbye seemed challenging and taxing. Today I've made advancements in that I will greet and make some amount of small-talk with friends or family members. There still remains however and underlying unease at the whole experience. Yet I have trouble understanding this as I like the friends and love the family members in question.

More broadly I have a desire at some level to get to know new people, make new friends and even perhaps get involved in a relationship. However on a street I am troubled by proximity to others and certainly display little drive to get to know anyone I see. On occasion I might see someone who I find attractive, but even then my mind seems devoid of thoughts that would interest me in this person.

This is not to say I don't have friends, as I do, and some good friends at that, which makes the whole situation all the more peculiar. What I am experiencing though is that increasingly the people I am meeting are through text based forms of communication online. I do find these much easier to work with, as on forums at least you can read any amount of messages without any pressure to post a message yourself. Then when I do come to post I can word my message carefully, taking time in that the response. Once I've got to know someone in this context there's instant messenging; also text-based, but nearer to real time. Eventually this will lead to telephone conversations, which although difficult for me, are generally the most preferred.

I suppose what I'm trying to track down is the source or sources for this problem in communication. Is is some autistic related phenonenon, whereby my brain simply is unable to put itself in the place of another person, in a manner often described in Aspergers Syndrome. Alternatively, could lack of confidence be the key, drawing on my difficulties with thinking on my feet, making small talk and generally seeing through a successful conversation. Perhaps it's something else entirely.

All I know is that in practice all too often my head goes blank when it comes to thinking of topics of conversation or replies to what the other person involved in the dialogue has said. Only with a few friends I have lots in common with can I successfully carry out long conversations. It's frustrating, and it's one of the main areas I want to discuss with a psychologist as and when I get referred. I'm hoping that once I've begun to understand the underlying cause, then I can look at tackling it, maybe overcoming it. Until then, it seems to be a matter of gritting my teeth and trying hard yet feeling uncomfortable in social situations which in theory should be stress free but which in reality are greatly problematic.

Monday, December 26, 2005


I've just noticed that some of my posts have received some comments. Thanks to those who left your input and apologies for not responding. I've found scant enough time recently to write this blog, never mind check it. I'm sure somewhere there must be an option to be notified when a comment is left, so I'll endeavour to track it down and activate it.

It is good to know that there are people reading this blog. I appreciate that my posts are rather more occasional than they should be, and that in true dyspraxic tradition the train of thought can wander rather. However I have been continuing to learn about dyspraxia, and time permitting I shall try to get back on track with sharing this.

Thanks again for popping by the blog!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Against my better judgement

I heading into central London on Saturday to see off the last of my Christmas shopping. Now the idea of going into the shopping capital of the country on the last weekend before Christmas may not seem like the sharpest idea I've ever had, but hear me out. It actually turned out to be an unexpectedly enjoyable experience. I thought the streets would be absolutely jam packed. Actually, the ones I encountered were fairly manageable, and where necessary I took the back streets running just behind Regents Street and Oxford Street to get down to where I needed to be. Putting my mp3 player to good use, loaded with favourite tunes to give me a feel good attitude to the task at hand. Oxford Street to my surprise had been closed to traffic, so there was room to move, there was music being played, carol being sung, and a wonderfully positive feeling in the air. I walked around with a near fixed smile on my face. Not particularly usual when typically surrounded by stressed rushing Londoners, but on this day it was the definite mood of the place.

I was quite pleased by the end of the day. I was tired, true, but I got shopped, I went into the shopping heart of London on one of the busiest shopping day of the year, and I damn well enjoyed myself. I overcame it all, and won through. I surprised myself, and London surprised me. I'm sure there will be many other days in the year when it gives me a bad case of sensory overload, but on this occasion the Christmas spirit won through.

Cold calling

Unsolicited phone calls seem to be on the increase. Fortunately they can be largely controlled through opting out of receiving these, which means that companies that would normally call you are obliged not to. Still, a few get through, and I've been receiving some on my mobile. These are either to do with my mobile tariff or may be from one of the international call services I've been using recently (pre-Skype that is).

However being unable to be particularly forceful makes me susceptible to these calls. Fortunately I'm aware of them, and am not about to be taken in. In the past I'd say I'm not interested and they would argue their point and win - sometimes. Now I'm changed my tack. When they call, if I'm not interested, which is to be fair almost always, I'll say so and hang up immediately before they have to respond. It may seem rude, but at the end of the day I have a difficult time in confrontational situations and I am best avoiding them. These cold callers always seem to be from some Indian call centre, and are obviously trained in being persistent and somewhat argumentative. I'm not having it. I didn't ask for them to call and for once I've being assertive in exercising my right not to be bothered by these people.

To finish on a positive note though, I actually had a call from my own mobile provider today just to check I was happy with everyone and to ensure my all-singing all-dancing mobile was up to speed and performing all it should. No pressure to buy anything, just helpful information. It's just to know it still exists and the lady signed off with wishing me a Merry Christmas, which brought a smile to my face.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Social situations

Socialising in noisy surroundings has always been a challenge. I've often had difficulties in hearing those I'm with, especially if we're in a group and they're not speaking to me directly. I'd considering whether I had dodgy hearing, but it turns out that this, as with so many things I've been discovering recently, is due to dyspraxia. It's due to the Thalamus by all accounts, a part of the brain that passes on nerve impulses. Hey-ho, that's another one ticked off and added to the list.

Socialising remains difficult though. If anything, I'd probably say it's the greatest challenge I current face. I have a few select friends, who I think are tollerant and accepting of how I am with my odd quirks. However in terms of getting to know new people, I don't seem to have made any significant process in quite some time.

In London it's particularly difficult, as most people are more withdrawn from speaking to strangers than elsewhere in country, no doubt warey of the ne'er do wells eager to relieve them of their cash and who knows what else. The greatest problem is entering into new social circles. Apart from my German class, I've not made much progress on this front. Even that didn't extend beyond the classes themselves. I get the impression that most people in London have a social circle that's based around their work colleagues. This is fine when you work for a sizeable office with people who are going-out types, however this is one aspect I've missed out on.

Should I be fussed? Well, in a metropolis of 12 million proclaimed the world's most cosmpolitan, it seems daft not to get to know some new people. However cities are not the most accessible of placed to dyspraxics; the sheer volume of everything often proving as much of a hindrance as an opportunity.

Well, it's a case of onwards and upwards. I'll have to keep making an effort to access more social circles. Not sure how, or what, but it what I need to do to tap into London and its people.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


I've been spending the past couple of weeks exploring the online dyspraxia communities. There's a lot of good advice and information out there it seems, and I'm now also finding resources in the off-line world, as the DANDA (Dyspraxia, Asperger's Syndrome, AD(H)D) network arranges meetings and events for members.

Unfortunately a couple of the forums seem to go down last night with a 'bandwidth exceeded' error. Perhaps a victim of their own popularity. I hope they're back up soon, as I've been spending a lot of time reading past threads and discovering the experiences of others, and I think I'd be a bit lost without them!

One thing that has become clear is that although each person's dyspraxia is a little different, and may in some cases be combined with other disorders, the problems and experiences faced by most posters has been broadly similar. As a result when one person declares having a problem, there's a friendly response by a number of others on the forums as to how this problem maybe overcome.

I've still got a lot to learn. I'm beginning to understand the broad effects of dyspraxia. However there's also an interesting cross-over into other areas such as Asperger's Syndrome and other Autism Spectrum Disorders, where some significant degree of overlap can exist.

It's something of a whole new world, and it's proving a very interesting learning process.