Dyspraxia Foundation Adult Conference 2019

A place to talk about your experience of living with Dyspraxia

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Tom fod
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Dyspraxia Foundation Adult Conference 2019

Post by Tom fod » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:27 am

On Saturday 26 Oct, I attended my first Dyspraxia Foundation (DF) event in Birmingham.

I got up bright and early at 0630 on a Saturday (eek none of my usual malingering and hitting snooze!) I arrived at the railway station in good time, only to find my train had been cancelled (Bother and Fiddlesticks!) The staff at the station suggested an alternate route so I waited 20 mins or so before the first leg of my journey, a ten minute ride up the line to Nam (Cheltenham). After almost another hour of waiting there, I boarded the Glasgow train and found myself an inconvenient place to stand by a door so as to impede as many fellow train users as possible. I was able to read a bit of my book and muse about the film Clockwise in which John Cleese plays a Headmaster who has 'a bit of an adventure' trying to reach the Headmasters Conference.

The train arrived in Birmingham at 9.56 (I was hoping/had planned to have been there for 0845) and after a bit of fun finding the right exit I headed through the rain towards the Jurys Inn off Broad Street. I’m very fortunately, reasonably familiar with Birmingham so I found it quite easily (it is a big block and even I could see it from 500m away!) I made my way up to the conference suite and found a seat Luckily I’d only missed a small part of the introduction which touched on some of the findings from the survey of adults the DF carried out earlier this year.

The first main speaker was Emma Tremaine AKA the Dyspraxic Doctor who was really good and talked about Mental Health and introduced Spoon Theory.

After a break for coffee, Kerry Pace from Diverse Learners, talked about reasonable adjustments and learning strategy coaching at University. She also covers (or covered) Access to Work. She was a really passionate and entertaining too.

We then heard about Dyspraxia in the Workplace from Laurence Turner of the GMB Trade Union before breaking for lunch. Typically we were running a bit late due to traffic chaos and people arriving later than planned. I spoke to a gentleman from Disability Confident who work through Job Centre Plus. I then headed down to the restaurant where I had the Birmingham Balti. I completely forgot/had no time to think to look for dessert!

After Lunch I briefly spoke to the gentleman on the Birmingham Mind Stand and gave him a few slips of paper with the URL address for this forum. I’d produced some in haste on Friday evening and to be honest my hurried guillotining meant they looked way too amateurish for my liking, so I didn’t hand out as many as I perhaps could/should have. Note to self, I will have to get some printed cards for next time.

We then heard three Lived Experience talks from Janet Taylor (a former DF Adult Representative), Danielle (a Teacher and Martial Arts Instructor) and Mark Robinson (who was presented with a DF Ambassadorship) The last guest speaker of the day, Harriet Kemsley then took the stage. Harriet is a comedian and actress who has appeared on 8 out of 10 cats among other things. She didn’t hold back on the humour and given there were a small number of non-adults attending I wonder If there were follow-on awkward questions, though they could just google the term blow job! There are a number of avowed dyspraxic and/or neurodivergent comedians and I think some may perhaps choose to go into stand up as an ‘unusual’? coping strategy. Harriet appeared to agree with my awkwardly phrased point/question.

I then had a pint and a chat with a few people I know from Facebook groups I’m active in including Pete from Dyspraxia and Life, Janet Taylor and ‘Otis’ from the East of Scotland Group.

I then led a brave bunch (who trusted me to know the way!) back to Birmingham New St. After parting company for them to catch their trains, I wandered round aimlessly, grabbing some Greggs for tea before I caught my 7.30 train which actually left and arrived back in Gloucester on schedule. I was home before 9pm.

It was really nice to meet and chat to fellow Dyspraxics and I wished I’d been able to do it sooner. Previous events like the DF AGM have tended to awkwardly clash with other commitments or have involved travelling further + a night in a hotel. Next time I think I’ll travel up beforehand and stay overnight at the hotel for a chance to have more time to chat to others.

I was also able to pick up some useful literature and contacts I can use to help me try to answer questions and signpost people to potential sources of assistance and support.
Tom
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With a foot full of bullets I tried to run faster but I just hobbled on to the next disaster.
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Xenavire
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Re: Dyspraxia Foundation Adult Conference 2019

Post by Xenavire » Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:25 pm

Sounds like it was a good conference. I missed it by a few days (I am about to leave the UK in a couple of hours, arrived Monday), but I don't know if I would have made it anyway - your trains and underground take a bit of getting used to. Do you know if anyone else from the forums made it?

Tom fod
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Re: Dyspraxia Foundation Adult Conference 2019

Post by Tom fod » Sat Nov 02, 2019 5:58 am

I met a gentleman from Scotland who is a member on here and a handful people I know from Facebook groups I'm in.

Our public transport system is ok when it works and to be fair I still got there and wasn't too late or too stressed. I know a fair few people might not have coped as I did. Fortunately my pre-planning and familiarity with Birmingham stood me in good stead.
Tom
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With a foot full of bullets I tried to run faster but I just hobbled on to the next disaster.
(from Peter and the Test Tube Babies, Foot Full of Bullets)

pixiewithdocs
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Re: Dyspraxia Foundation Adult Conference 2019

Post by pixiewithdocs » Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:19 pm

Bit late with the congrats but wow well done for making it and so great to hear you had a good time when you got there. Sounds great and I'd love to attend next year.

I had a similar experience with a training session run by English UK on neuro divergence in the ESL classroom where I had to get to Bristol from London. I knew the area and was early so went to a favourite cafe... but had misremembered the time and was drinking a coffee round the corner when it started...
Anyways once I got there I couldn't find my glasses so waited till the break.... But I'd left them on the coach and when asked by the lovely academic why I was crying I just had to say 'I've left my glasses on the bus... I'm dyspraxic'.
Cannot even describe the difference in experience of owning up to something that happened due to dyspraxia to a person who actually understands! She's a professional in SSEN and has a dyspraxic husband.
Anne Margaret Smith is her name and she's a total badass.
Let's get a group together for the 2020 conference!
Aorta/tattoo the artery/with acute artistry

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