Learning Difficulties Awareness Week

Hello, 

Thought I’d drop in again. 

There are quite a few awareness weeks dotted around the calendar and this week is Learning Difficulties Awareness week. Before moving into this topic it is firstly worth noting not everyone is happy with the wording of this. I am happy with the wording learning difficulties, some people may prefer Learning Differences. 

Learning Differences/Difficulties are things which can have a massive impact on people’s lives. According to Mencap

‘There are many different types of learning difficulty, some of the more well known are dyslexia, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia and dyscalculia. A person can have one, or a combination.

As with learning disability, learning difficulties can also exist on a scale. A person might have a mild learning difficulty or a severe learning difficulty. The same is true of learning disabilities.’

Not everyone has the conditions to the same extent, as mentioned above they exist on a scale and this can have a varying impact on persons day to activities. This can lead to feeling of frustration or anxiety which should never be underestimated when discussing ways to help the person. 

Someone with Dyslexia may find it difficult when trying to follow directions. This is because they may struggle knowing the difference between left and right. 

looking down at my orange pumps.

People who have Dyscalculia may find themselves getting frustrated when dealing with splitting a bill when out at a restaurant. This is due to them finding numbers really complicated

The emotional impact of learning difficulties can be overwhelmingly tough. It can take lots more energy to perform simple tasks because  the person finds it difficult. This can lead to exhaustion. 

Not using physical cash and using a bank card really helps me. This means I don’t have to deal with counting cash I just use my card or ApplePay to make the Payment and then that’s it. Although setting budgets its very tough because my head just won’t do numbers. This does lead to exhaustion and frustration when it comes to even the simplest things. 

Making it easier for those with learning difficulties does not necessarily mean doing the task for them. It could be where you break the task down into smaller manageable chunks. Or make a change to something to adapt the task to suit the persons needs. 

An example might be sitting somewhere quiet to read, or if they are really struggling but still want to read, use an audiobook. 

For someone who has Dyspraxia they may find laces difficult. Try and put different laces in the shoes which are a little thicker so they can hold onto them. I did this with a pair of mine. It still takes me 5 minutes to do them, but I can do them.

One of the best pieces of advice for anyone who has a learning difficulty is to not be too hard on yourself. You’re trying your best and tats what matters. 

I’m off now as I am a bit tired. My back pain is flaring up. 

Thank you for reading.

Week Off

Featured

Hello again, 

This last week has been my week off. I don’t get a week off at Christmas because I have to work. So from last year I decided I would book a week off in January. It has been nice to relax, get stuff done and recharge. I also took the time this week to book  a week off in August for my Birthday. 

So I don’t feel like I have wasted my week off I have written down in my diary what I have done everyday. Even if it meant just writing ‘relaxed’. One thing I need to do more of is write down in my diary when I have a a day to just relax. Other things I have done this week have been to steam mop my floor, exciting I know. But it was on the to do list and now it has been done. Today I vacuumed the rugs….so clean and tidy. Gosh my life is exciting. Then there’s that pile of clothes which needed to be put away… it’s been put away. 

What else have I done? I joined two work meetings, which were very interesting. I know, dedicated. Even on my holiday. 

This week I have just taken it easy. I have taken some time away from my fundraising challenge as well. This is something I need to start up again. 

The nice thing about all of this has been I have had the chance to just listen to my audiobooks. I finished Steve Silberman’s NeuroTribes. This was a brilliant book, for anyone interested in Neurodiveristy I would recommend it. Something I will be looking to do in future is write more around Neurodiveristy.

After finishing this book I have started Face It by Debbie Harry. I love Blondie and it has been great to just sit and listen to her book. I remember once we had an own clothes day at school, I think I was in year 9 or 10 and I wore a Blondie t-shirt. None of the kids knew who Blondie were. I was quite offended by this to be honest. How can you not know? I am still disgusted even to this day… I loved that shirt it was brilliant. Makes mental note to buy new Blondie T-shirt. 

Another tick box for this week has been sending out some emails to just introduce myself to a newly published magazine- if you’re interested in learning more about Dyspraxia please sign up to Dyspraxia Mag. It’s important for us as Dyspraxics to talk about our Neurodiveristy and where we fit in amongst our Neurodiverse Cousins. 

The final tick box was emailing a journalist who wrote an article about their experience having a heart attack. I wanted to thank them for opening up about such an important topic which is very personal to myself. I don’t normally reach out and contact people, but this time I really felt the urge to contact them. 

Anyway, thats me. Until next time.

Dyspraxia

Hello All, 

This week is Dyspraxia Awareness Week. When I started blogging, over ten years ago now, I started because I wanted to talk about Dyspraxia. Twitter allowed me to meet some people who were also Dyspraxic, which was brilliant. As time went on I started to blog more about Dyspraxia and Dyscalculia and then onto my visual impairment. 

For those of you who do not know Dyspraxia is a Developmental Co Ordination Disorder. It means I find movement and co ordination of movement very hard. I also find it difficult to co ordinate my thoughts so I can appear uncomfortable or not very confident. But I am. 

It took me until I was about nine years old to learn to ride a bike, I still struggle to tie my shoe laces. Buttons are a real difficulty. When shopping for clothes I have to make sure the buttons are doable. Doing everyday tasks when you have Dyspraxia is very hard. 

The best way I can describe it to you is this: imagine you’re just doing a normal thing, like making a list. 

Now say someone comes in and starts talking to you.

Then they start tapping you on the shoulder as well. 

Now someone else has come in and is also talking to you. 

They decide to start tapping away on the table. 

Then you get a phone call. 

Now one of those other two people has asked you to read them something. No reason. 

You have just remembered you are cold and want to put a jumper on so you start to do that. 

You’re on the phone, writing your list, trying to put your jumper on and those people are still talking and trying to get your attention while tapping away.  

It’s very hard to multitask. Being Dyspraxic is like multitasking all the time. You never get a break because everything takes so much effort and it is exhausting. 

Some things that can help those of us who are Dyspraxic are: 

Making a lists. 

Visual Reminders. 

Breaking information down into small chunks. 

Allow us extra time. 

When thinking about how you can help a person with Dyspraxia remember to be kind to them. Don’t over whelm them. When we get overwhelmed we become very stressed out. Help us to become better at organising our time. This can really make  difference to us. When we feel we are on top of things we are a lot more confident and can succeed. 

We may take a little longer at doing something, but thats OK because we have a very different mindset to everyone else. We are quite creative and you will see that is evident in our work. 

Don’t dismiss us because we appear to be all over the place. W jesuit struggle with organisation at times. But when we do get organised and sort out what needs doing and we plan. We are very efficient because we know what we’re doing when. 

Dyspraxia Awareness Week is every year 5-11th October. Celebrate our Differences and lets work to build a Dyspraxia Friendly World. 

Dyspraxia Awareness

Hello, 

I am currently very busy as I have a lot to do. So today I got up and sorted out the washing, then did the washing up. Mum went to Tesco and did the shopping for us, some family members and neighbours. We have been very  busy. I have decided to take a page from my friends book and booked a whole day in my calendar to do nothing. This is something I need to do to recharge. Otherwise I will get very overwhelmed which can happen very easy. 

I am currently in the process of fundraising for The British Heart Foundation and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, based in the Leeds General Infirmary. Check out my fundraising page here and donate.

My organisation has become better but I could defiantly improve. I am a big user of the notes app on my phone. In the past few days I have decided to create a calendar on my phone specifically for my fundraising. Now everything to do with that, goal dates, phone calls, setting up events, can all go into there. I feel like this has helped to calm down a little because everything is not all up in the air. If it is written down then it is manageable. 

One other thing I did and continue to do is to keep on top of my inbox. A while ago a friend decided to organise his inbox and he posted a picture of an empty inbox on Twitter. I was jelous so decided to do the same. He was right, it is a very therapeutic. Keeping on top of this is something I quite enjoy because you can unsubscribe from all the nonsense you thought was good idea the time. It is also very satisfying haha. 

I think one of the reasons I have decided to write this blog is there has been a lot of talk on Twitter lately about Dyspraxia. One of the reasons I got into blogging was that I wanted to help raise awareness of Dyspraxia and to find other Dyspraxics, which is what I did. It can be hard living with Dyspraxia as it is not just about the lack of coordination which people always assume it is. It can be about coordinating your thoughts, time and energy. I often have a lot of ideas in my head but struggle to get them down. So I do rely on others to help me with this. 

The calendar app and the notes app are brilliant, you just have to remember to look at the notification when it pops up. Otherwise it is quite pointless. Organising my inbox was like decluttering inside my head. Making space for the important stuff and getting rid of the old stuff. Plus making way for anything new. 

Dyspraxia Awareness week is the 6-10th of October this year. I would recommend checking out the Dyspraxia Foundation. Also just search for other Dsypraxics on Twitter. We’re out there and we’re willing to talk to about Dysrpaxia so we can help you help us. 

Til next time, 

Philippa B. 

Twitter: @PhilippaB

Instagram: @VisuallyImpairedPip 

Remember to always be kind and give people the time they need. The world is a hectic place and its important to just take 10 minutes everyday to sit and just have a cup of tea. Nothing else. Just be in the moment.