Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The social side of dyspraxia

I decided to write this blog after I saw discussions on social media groups about the social side of dyspraxia as there isn't much knowledge and awareness about it also to help those close to me understand why I may find some situations quite tricky sometimes. Firstly before I get into this blog it's important to remember that each person you meet with dyspraxia is unique and not everyone may have difficulties socially, it's important to get to know the individual person.

When many people think of dyspraxia, they think of the physical side the clumsiness, the co-ordination and balance issues, the difficulties with fine motor skills. When people think of social issues people will think of autism, even though people may have crossovers, it's important to remember dyspraxia is not on the autistic spectrum. Natalie has blogged about some of the overlaps between dyspraxia and autism such as eye contact, routines and literal thinking here: hhttps://theblogwithonepost.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/dyspraxia-autism-the-overlap/ I hope this blog will help raise awareness of some of the issues people may struggle with socially, give some positive strategies and hopefully talk about some of the positives of being dyspraxic in social situations. 

For me I always find it a lot easier to socialise in small groups than in larger groups, in large groups I can be seen as the quiet one, the one who doesn't speak much or seems quite distracted by the world around me,but it doesn't mean I'm being anti social or that I don't care. It always takes me a while to feel come out of my shell, but once I trust people and feel more comfortable I be quite chatty and bubbly especially in smaller groups. Just because we may seem quiet doesn't mean we can't or don't have a voice or opinion. One of the reasons why I can find large groups quite difficult is trying to process all the different conversations at once, especially if there is more than one conversation going, by the time I've thought of my reply people have often moved on. Natalie has written a really good explanation of this in her latest blog:  http://bit.ly/1PkKMgU
 Often people with dyspraxia can find that they find background noise distracting so if there's lots of conversations going on in the background or background music it can make it difficult to focus on concentrate. I sometimes find that my voice can go very loud and I don't realise I'm shouting, but the sometimes the complete opposite and I'm mumbling and nobody can hear what I'm saying, spacial awareness or lack of awareness can make it tricky judging distances between yourself and other people. It doesn't mean people are being rude, or unsociable we might just need a little bit more time to process the environment around us. 

Then there's some of the issues I talked about in my blog about emotional sensitivity,http://bit.ly/1fnOkm3 confidence and anxiety For me some of my social anxieties are related to dyspraxia but some aren't. I feel like the word social anxiety is very over used in society these days, but in reality constantly over thinking, worrying if you're going to make a mistake, beating yourself up afterwards, and the fear of the unknown aren't nice feelings. As dyspraxia isn't very well known there's always that anxiety that our body and brain wires might do something we might not want it to, we might spill a drink, or bump into someone or forget our way to the toilets- happened to me many times even before a few cocktails, for some people counselling/cbt can help with the anxiety issues and give more positive strategies.

I think it's important to be yourself and focus on situations you feel most comfortable in, there are some really lovely bars, cafes and restaurants out there where you can meet a few friends but at the same are able to have a chat too. Finding people who understand is a huge bonus, if you do end up in a big group even being able just to tell one person can make you feel a lot more relaxed.  Finding an interest or a hobby and meeting like minded people can help too,people with dypraxia are often very knowledgeable and passionate about issues so focusing on what you're good at can be a real confidence boost.  But some people with dyspraxia may just enjoy their own company, and that's ok too and noting for parents to be worried about. I may never be the loudest socially, but I'll always be a good listener,be able to think of alternative solutions to problems and be able to think outside the box which can be a positive for people with dyspraxia in conversations. I've found writing blogs has helped me find my voice  I also
find speech to text assistive technology very beneficial too as it helps to get all the ideas onto paper which dyslexia/dyspraxia makes it hard. If we were all the same the world would be such a boring place, embrace your uniqueness and if you see someone who may struggle a little socially, try and get to know them a little more, give them time to find their voice, you never know what you might find out about them and if  you're a naturally confident person in social situations, please never take it for granted.

8 comments:

  1. Brilliant article! Really explains it well. I've had to reassure my daughters school that she is happy playing by herself at lunch. She's usually tired and struggles with more than 1:1 conversation. She is very much well liked by her peers but needs that time out at lunch. We opt for having a friend over after school.

    She uses speech to text and text to speak in and out of the class room. Brilliant.

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  2. I have dyspraxia too. I'm very senative and I am very loud which makes me feel stupid even though im not. Recently I've lost a few friends and have only a handful left (I had a few groups ) and now Im finding it hard to even want to go out, if it wasn't for my little boy I probably wouldnt. I think sometimes I'm too nice too and I get taken advantage of x

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  3. I have dyspraxia too. I'm very senative and I am very loud which makes me feel stupid even though im not. Recently I've lost a few friends and have only a handful left (I had a few groups ) and now Im finding it hard to even want to go out, if it wasn't for my little boy I probably wouldnt. I think sometimes I'm too nice too and I get taken advantage of x

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  4. Although my son was diagnosed dyspraxic two years ago I still feel like I don't know much about it. I was bombarded with diagnoses for him when they completed their evaluations. Recently his "social anxiety" has been a very obvious problem. Again I was very overwhelmed and focused on the severe ADHD he was diagnosed with. And trying to figure out how to help him with that. Now they want to evaluate him for autism because of his social difficulties. After reading this I think it might be the dyspraxia causing the social problems. It's concerning to me the similarities between dyspraxia ADHD and autism. How does one know where the problems are really coming from? Thanks for the article. I found it very helpful

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