I read a very interesting blog yesterday by fellow dyspraxic Alice about visual perception and how we see things differently being dyspraxic if you haven't already have a read it's well worth having a look, https://alittlemoreunderstanding.wordpress.com/2015/10/26/visual-perception-and-seeing-things-differently/ in her blog she talks about how some people with dyspraxia can struggle being aware of our body language, interpreting others body language and others misinterpreting non verbal clues, as it's something I struggle with I thought I would write a blog about it.
As always with my blogs no two people with dyspraxia are the same and not everyone will find this difficult.
When people think about communication they often think of just verbal speech, but non verbal communication is something many do in day to day life and don't have to think about it, for some of us it can make social situations tricky, anxiety provoking and exhausting.
When we interact with others, we continuously give and receive wordless signals. All of our non verbal behaviour from the gestures we make, the way we sit, how fast or how loud we talk, how close we stand, how much eye contact we make sends messages. For people with dyspraxia who may struggle with this it can mean that people may misinterpret what we mean to say or how we feel.
People with dyspraxia may struggle with this mainly due to how our brains process information at different speed and in a different due to the difference in the ways the brain is wired and the information therefore is processed along those wires. I wish there was a way for the outside world to visibly see this.
The amount of times people have asked me to smile, or that "am I ok?" as my body language is making me look like I'm terrified or being stand offish, sometimes I might fold my arms and look like I'm really bored and tired, but in reality I'm feeling fine, my body language is frustratingly showing off a different message, which can be ok for people who know us well but for strangers, or people who don't know us well it can mean people can struggle to read us for who we are given the invisible nature of dyspraxia and people not being able to visibly see why someone is doing something differently.
With supportive people it's something I've become more aware of, but still makes me feel anxious and self concious about as being the sensitive soul I am I would hate for someone to think I'm being rude.
When I was younger the only person I found comfortable to give eye contact to was my mum, over time with practice I've become better at it even though it's something which doesn't come naturally to me, when I'm tired or stressed I find it a lot harder. Sometimes I can speak far too loudly without realising but also at times be really softly spoken which means people struggle to hear what I'm saying. I remember being in a pub with my grandad who struggled with hearing and we both got told we were speaking far too loudly, much to the amusement of my grandma and mum.
When I do get upset, feel anxious, or feel excited and happy, I find my body language is very over exaggerated and I physically show it, I sometimes find it difficult to contain it and it ends up coming out by either pacing or making random physical movements. Again everyone is different and expresses emotion in their own unique way. Even though those close to me have accepted it as me being me again it can be difficult for those who might not know me well enough to understand why.
Something which I think is important as social media is around us so much is being aware how messages are conveyed to those who may struggle with all of the above, when it's just plain text I struggle sometimes to understand someone's intentions as you can't see tone of voice or any body language, I might take it literally and worry I might have upset them and done something wrong when in reality it's far from the case. It's also why I'm against indirecting, there is just no need and can make a situation upsetting for someone. If you know someone who struggles with this, be mindful how you talk to them online, think how you word your messages, little things like emojis can help.
As I say in many of my blogs it's so important not to make judgements, get to know people properly and have an open mind you never know how others see the world differently and if you know someone who struggles try and help them as best you can, or by explaining to others they mean no malice or harm. Even though my body language is something I feel self concious of and has caused me a lot of anxiety over the years it's something I've just had to accept in what is the highs, the lows, the chaos and creativity of living with dypraxia and just makes me see the word in a different way.