The Educational Psychologist’s Test
Previous article on Dyspraxia:
‘Dyspraxic, But Also Fantastic’:
How My Dyspraxia Came To Be
Dyspraxia is a form of Developmental Coordination Disorder which affects fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. It can also have an impact on speech. There is currently no cure. Concerns in areas showing immaturity in planning and organising, coordination, and speech may lead to those seeking support to help achieve their potential. Each case of Dyspraxia is isolated so each person may be diagnosed in a different way.
Back in the summer of 2012 I attended a meeting, who is now my disability advisor at the University of Hertfordshire. The meeting’s aim was to discuss my Crohn’s Disease and the support which the university could offer. When it came to signing a form, my disability advisor noticed the way I was gripping the pen to write. She suggested that it could be a sign of Dyspraxia. This was the first time I heard of such a condition. My mum, who attended the meeting with me, told my disability advisor that I have always had coordination difficulties since a young age. Coordination is one area which could be affected by Dyspraxia.
Most of the feedback I was receiving on my university assignments during my first year was that the structure and proofreading of my essays was ‘weak’. It was not until March 2013, however, that I decided I wanted to find out if Dyspraxia was causing difficulties I had been displaying over the last eighteen years. So after further research and further discussions I had a meeting with an educational psychologist at university.
The Educational Psychologist’s Test
A few days prior to meeting I was given some forms to fill out. This included several pages of questionnaires asking about my lifestyle. One question for instance asked for me to rate the difficulty I found throwing and catching balls. All of these questions were designed to see whether I was showing signs of any possible learning condition.
During the meeting the educational psychologist ‘T’ and I spent some time discussing my day to day life, including any concerns I have had in the past. Amongst other areas I told ‘T’ that I have had coordination problems since a very young age and found studying English a real challenge to the point I was given extra support at secondary school.
‘T’ then moved the focus on carrying out a number of tests and games in order to determine whether I showed any signs of a learning condition. Some of the tests focused on general knowledge, spelling and words, image and building block games, and number challenges. Some tests were carried out against the clock whilst others were independent whilst ‘T’ looked over the forms I had completed.
In summary, the tests focused on different areas including:
› Verbal Comprehension
› Working Memory
› Perceptual Reasoning
› Processing Speed
After a good few hours in the afternoon ‘T’ concluded some of his findings. To do so he listed my results on a scale calculated by ‘Percentile Scores’. These scores, ranging from 1 to 100, compare students against others of their age group. A percentile score of 50 for example, means 50% of an age group would be performing at a higher level and 50% at the same or lower level. Taking one example a standard working memory index score for my age group at the time was 80 whilst my own percentile score came to a much lower score of 9.
Considering further factors ‘T’ told me that it was highly likely I was displaying strong signs of a learning condition, in this case treated as Dyspraxia. He suggested for me to get further support from the university, in addition to what I already received for my Crohn’s Disease.
It was two weeks later that I had a meeting my disability advisor. I was given a full report of the findings which ‘T’ had written up. She offered some further support for my Dyspraxia including giving me a study skills tutor and also having further software and hardware equipment.
In all honesty I am glad I followed my disability advisor’s advice to find out what had been causing me concern and worry over the last eighteen years. A diagnosis of Dyspraxia has shed some light on the dark mystery in my life. The support which I have received has given me greater confidence and self-esteem in myself.
If you or anyone you know is thinking about talking to an educational psychologist or equivalent, then have the confidence to go for it. Everyone deserves to get the support when they need it, to have confidence in themselves and ultimately to be happy.
Thanks to everyone who has read this article. I hope you have a brilliant week.