Hope In Darkness
We are coming to the end of ‘Dyspraxia Awareness Week 2015’ so I would like to take this chance to thank you for the amazing support you have all given me over the last few years. I would also like to take this opportunity to discuss some of my toughest times at an all-boy secondary school in connection to my Dyspraxia. I was not diagnosed until aged eighteen by an educational psychologist, but many areas associated with the condition were present throughout my childhood. ‘Hope In Darkness’ aims to show that even in our darkest times there is always light, always hope in the form of incredible people.
Dyspraxia in childhood and adulthood can affect our emotions, such as the tendency to get anxious and we often find it difficult adapting to changes in routine. Personally I do not like change, and found myself crying at the start of each term at primary school. I was petrified when joining secondary school, so I wanted to keep a routine of making sure I had my pencil case, textbooks and personal belongings on me at all times. I would find myself checking my bag on the school bus. Unfortunately some of the older boys noticed and used this as a way to antagonise me. Some would take my belongings, in particular my shoes, and then pretend to hide or throw them out of a window for a joke. I hated this, but hope came in the form of other pupils who tried to defuse the situation. For this I am grateful, but looking back I feel sorry for another boy who had his shoe thrown out the window. So when I reached sixth form I made sure those in the years below did not have go through similar situations as I did.
I have previously talked about my struggles with studying English, but another subject I found challenging was Music. This proved to be an issue in Years Eight and Nine with my music teacher, who also the deputy head of the school. Personally, he had a very strict approach to teaching. In one specific lesson we had to learn the ‘musical scale’ and we went around the room and everyone had to answer a question. If we got this wrong our name would be written on the whiteboard as a warning. I could not understand the theory behind the musical scale and so had my name written on the whiteboard. I felt humiliated and ran out of the class crying. The music teacher had a word with me during the lesson, but after I informed my wonderful family and the incredible Learning Support Staff, the next day he formally apologised to me. From this point onwards he adapted his lessons so we only had to answer questions if we felt comfortable in doing so.
One main area in which Dyspraxia affects is coordination, both in terms of large ‘gross motor’ movements and small ‘fine motor’ movements. The signals sent from our brain to our body get muddled, which can impact on everyday tasks such as writing, driving and sport but can also cause clumsiness. This coordination was a problem in Year Ten. I was walking out of the library whilst a younger boy was carrying a cup of pasta. He accused me of bumping into him and spilling his pasta on his shirt. I attempted to apologise but he threw the remaining pasta all over me, constantly pushed me around the playground whilst demanding I pay him two pounds. I was trying to find a teacher, but none appeared so in fear I gave him money so he would stop hurting me. It was not long before this incident was notified by the school and we had a long meeting. In this meeting the boy’s behaviour was deemed unacceptable and I was given my money back. Whilst I appreciated this, what meant more to me was the teacher holding this meeting was the same music teacher I have just talked about.
One other area of Dyspraxia which is discussed least is the impact the condition has on social skills. Some find it challenging to talk in large groups of people, whilst others take all forms of speech literally. I find it hard making close bonds with friends and to an extent trusting others. This was tested during my Geography trip to Yorkshire in Year Ten. This was a week-long trip and therefore we had to share rooms with other students. I planned to be with four close friends of mine, but unfortunately due to limited spacing I was given a room with three others I did not know too well. This along with a change in routine left me devastated. I tried talking to my Geography teacher on the first night in Yorkshire but due to ‘safety regulations’ it was not possible for me to swap. A fellow student of mine, however, was a great comfort in this conversation and looked out for me during this trip. Even though I managed to get through the four nights away without my family I did feel like I had missed out an experience with my close friends.
These are some of my toughest experiences during secondary school where Dyspraxia has had an impact. I find them heart-breaking to reflect on, but even more so when I hear others going through similar situations. I am truly thankful to all those who helped me through the experiences and to everyone else who has supported me since. In many ways I like to think the experiences helped me become a stronger individual.
Since a very young age I have always admired sunsets. If I was having a bad day I would look up at the sky and look ahead to a brighter tomorrow. If, though, I was having a good day I would fully appreciate this moment. In darkness there is always light, there is always hope.
|In darkness there is always light, there is always hope...Copyright © 2015- Jake Borrett. All rights reserved.|