Dyscovery Centre Client, female, 31 years old
I came to the Dyscovery Centre earlier on this year for an assessment for dyspraxia/DCD.
I went through school, university and work with a lot of struggles! I have always had terrible problems with my balance and coordination, and sequencing movement tasks. I’ve had lots of falls, and fractured my ankles several times. I also find organisation and planning my day quite tricky. As a result I’ve always relied a lot on lists and routines, so I get very anxious when plans change. I find keeping track of conversations in groups tricky, and can get quite overwhelmed in social situations. I have no sense of direction at all, and can get lost in buildings I have worked in for a long time.
I took a year out of work (I was working as a hospital doctor) as I was finding it really stressful to manage. I couldn’t understand why I was finding it so much more difficult than everyone else. During that year I worked in a school for children with special needs, and some of them had dyspraxia in amongst their other difficulties. I recognised a lot of their traits in myself. My mum has severe dyslexia and was only diagnosed a few years ago, and has recently managed to do her GCSEs, so I was inspired by her 'better late than never’ approach to get an assessment.
getting an assessment is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I was nervous that it was going to be a repeat of school PE lessons or that I wouldn’t be able to explain myself, or that they’d think it was daft for someone who was an adult to wonder if they had an undiagnosed problem, despite making it through 30 years without a diagnosis. All my worries were unfounded. I thought the assessment was thorough and everything I could have hoped for. The staff were kind and helpful. I had my assessment with the occupational therapist, and took my husband along for reassurance! I felt she really understood me. She listened and encouraged me in a calm and reflective way.
The physical tests were fun, and had a purpose. I do have DCD and I felt for the first time that I was being helped to understand what that meant for me and how that it explained the difficulties I’d had in the past. Finding out felt like a positive experience because of the occupational therapist, and the Dyscovery Centre. It took a while to sink in but it’s helped me enormously to know. I have a different job now, back in medicine, and I work part time as that helps me manage my DCD better. I told my supervisor at the beginning of my job and that’s been helpful to me. I am aware that in times of stress I will have more accidents, and know what to do to make sure that I have fewer injuries in the future. I have all sorts of gadgets to help me do practical tasks and remember sequences better. I also joined the adult support group on Facebook and it helps to exchange tips and support from others who are in the same boat.
Having been diagnosed with DCD as an adult has been such a positive experience. It hasn’t taken away the things that I struggle with, but it has given me the information to be able to work around those things to make my life less stressful and full of accidents. It’s also actually increased my confidence in myself – I know that my difficulties have a name, and I can explain them to another person; when I have a difficult day I can just say 'it’s just my dyspraxia playing up’ rather than blaming myself.
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