Focusing on Dyspraxia: Reading and Writing (Part 1)
Over the last year I have posted a number of blog articles about my journey from childhood to my official diagnosis of Dyspraxia at the age of eighteen. Over this year I will be focusing more closely on certain areas which Dyspraxia can cause difficulties; the first being reading and writing.
Children with Dyspraxia, and in some adult cases, may have problems with reading and writing including spelling, comprehension and handwriting. According to the Dyspraxia Foundation limited concentration and poor listening skills, and literal use of language may have an effect on reading and spelling ability. A child may be able to read well but not understand some of the concepts in the language. The child may also be reluctant to read aloud because of articulation difficulties or because they lack self-confidence.
It may be surprisingly to learn, because now I study English Literature and Creative Writing at University of Hertfordshire, but throughout my childhood I found reading and writing incredibly challenging. One of my nemeses was and still is handwriting, one of the many areas which Dyspraxia often presents itself in. My handwriting was relatively poor in the sense that my letters were often very big and I could not write in between the lines. During handwriting lessons I would often have to ask the teacher for help. When it came to comprehension tasks I found it hard to string sentences together aloud and on the page. Nevertheless as time progressed I was showing signs of having a good imagination and I occasionally wrote stories about ghosts and haunted houses, but these stories were rarely completed.
I will never forget the few weeks leading up to my Year Six SATs. My mum and I were in the kitchen trying to find words I could learn to put into my writing in order to impress my teachers. One word in particular I remember learning was ‘sumptuous’. Amazingly the writing exercise we had in our tests was about food, so I remember trying to put this word in my descriptive exercise. Naturally I spelt the sumptuous as ‘sumptous’, sorry Mum. In the end I achieved a Level Four in English. When looking back on this I am happy considering the challenges which Dyspraxia often presents with handwriting, comprehension and spelling.
This is actually one of my better pieces of handwriting in 2005 when I was eleven years old…Copyright © 2015- Jake Borrett. All rights reserved.
Reading was another difficulty of mine throughout my childhood. Before the age of eight I had very little interest in reading. My parents would often read stories to me and I would not grasp the meaning behind the adventurers the characters were having. My mum asked a friend for book suggestions that would get me interested. Mum’s friend suggested Dav Pilkey’s ‘Captain Underpants’ and Francesca Simon’s ‘Horrid Henry’ as her son really enjoyed these books. Strangely enough I loved these books too. Although it was a big obstacle grasping the language I was enjoying spending time learning about the attack of the ‘Talking Toilets’ and why Horrid Henry hated his brother Perfect Peter.
I personally recommend Pilkey and Simon’s series of books as they were my first stepping stones into enjoying literature. This interest was shown in Year Three when we were asked to write to our favourite author. I wrote to Francesca Simon. No one got a response except me. I am very grateful for the reply and if you ever come across this blog post, thank you.
Those with Dyspraxia often have an increased difficulty with areas connected to reading and writing. I still find reading and writing tough in areas despite studying English Literature and Creative at degree level. However every bit of encouragement you can give can help with self-confidence and make us more willing to learn. I will be looking at this encouragement in the second part of ‘Focusing on Dyspraxia: Reading and Writing’. Until then thank you for the great support you wonderful people.