What is “Dyspraxia”?
First, let’s define “Dyspraxia”. If you have an interest in etymology, or the origins of words, you might know that the noun, praxis, comes from Greek, meaning “to do”. In short, Dyspraxia is a specific learning difficulty that affects the things we do day-to-day: for example, the ability to plan and process fine and gross motor tasks. Medical definitions of dyspraxia also state that people with dyspraxia can have “language problems” and difficulty with thought and perception. People with Dyspraxia sometimes have other learning difficulties like Dyscalculia, Dyslexia and ADHD.
However, framing this as “problems” may not be the best way to look at it: it’s important to remember that Dyspraxia affects different people in different ways. In my case, for example, I wouldn’t say I have “problems with language”, nor fine motor skills – I can draw and write.
Who is “misspraxic”?
I’m the writer of this blog – I go by the pseudonym of misspraxic. I’m a recent graduate and newly qualified teacher with experiences of living, studying, working and teaching as a dyspraxic young person and adult. I was diagnosed with Dyspraxia and Meares Irlen Syndrome in my first year at University in 2014, after having gone through school and Sixth Form not knowing the reason I struggled with certain things. I studied a degree in Modern Languages in the UK.
I set up this blog in 2015, with the aim then of raising awareness of living and studying with hidden conditions at university. During my compulsory Year Abroad in 2016-17, regular posts to the blog continued to provide encouragement to dyspraxic students that it was, in fact, possible to thrive in spite of the challenges that Dyspraxia can bring.
On my Year Abroad, I spent seven months in Germany and six in France. I took part in a Summer School at Heidelberg University in August 2016, and from September 2016 until the end of February 2017 I was an English Language Assistant at a comprehensive school near Düsseldorf. Following my time in Germany, I spent six months in France – I did an internship in Paris from March until the end of August 2017 whilst au-pairing for a French family.
Since then, I graduated from my undergraduate degree and completed a Master’s. I did my PGCE after that, and qualified as a teacher during the lockdown of 2020. So, five years after starting this blog, I am a qualified languages teacher working in a comprehensive state secondary school. I had the idea of restarting the misspraxic blog to update you all on my journey and share my most recent stories of living (and teaching!) with Dyspraxia.
You can look at posts about specific topics by using the navigation up above. I will be shortly creating my own self-help materials and resources to upload for students with dyspraxia, as well as some guidance for teachers and parents. In the meantime, you can go to the Dyspraxia Foundation’s website here, which is the best place to start looking if you want to find out more about Dyspraxia: http://www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk.
I hope my posts can reassure other dyspraxic students/trainees/teachers that it is possible to survive at university, to do a year abroad, and enjoy many other experiences (even when things get challenging, as they inevitably do!) I also aim to raise some awareness among the languages education community about dyspraxic students and their skills.