Dyspraxia & The Military

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stormwell
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Dyspraxia & The Military

Post by stormwell »

DISCLAIMER: This is with regards to the British Armed Forces and written by somebody not officially diagnosed with Dyspraxia (but is waiting on an assessment).

General Overview

I'm currently serving as an ICT techie, but have strong indications of Dyspraxia that go back to early childhood.

This is a guide that covers my experiences so far and to provide information for those considering a military career, admittedly this is from the POV of the British Armed Forces. But it goes without saying that the military can be a physically demanding job, especially with certain trades/roles and so if you do have Dyspraxia expect it to be extremely difficult.

Trades/Roles & Service

There is the principle of "Soldier first, trade second" across all three Services of the British military, this is essentially being taught military skill-at-arms, etc first during basic training before going onto doing your trade training. This will continue throughout your career with annual refreshers/tests of your military skills.

By it's very nature the Army focuses more on the 'soldier' aspect with everyone expected to be a soldier and the same fitness requirements across the board. Even if you're a desk bound admin clerk, you'll be expected to hoof it out on some moor with the infantry if you're assigned to an infantry unit. Likewise, there'll be unit fitness (aka company runs, etc) and you'll likely often be out in the field for training/exercises.

Navy is more static (usually onboard a ship) but still has physically demands even if the overall fitness requirements are lower than the Army, plus they've recently dropped the requirement for needing to be able to swim. There is going to be more technical roles, but on the flip-side there is frequent drills onboard a ship for various contingencies.

And lastly the RAF, roughly similar fitness to the Navy but probably less physically demanding but also the chance of being out in the field dependent on the role. Like the Navy, the RAF has a fair number of technical roles especially round aircraft and increasingly round computers/cyber.

For a Dyspraxic, roles in the RAF and Navy might be better choices over the Army.

NEXT: The Joining Process
stormwell
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Joined: Tue May 28, 2024 1:43 pm

Re: Dyspraxia & The Military

Post by stormwell »

Joining Process

The process for joining is broadly similar, but there are differences between the Services and indeed other countries but here we will focus on the British military.

All three Services have moved most of their recruitment process online, beginning with the application and then presentation briefs, etc. The Army still has Assessment Centres where a 2 day process covers a full medical, fitness test and an aptitude test as well as a career discussion. Being successful at the assessment centre will lead to an offer of employment.

Both the Navy and RAF share similar recruitment process, beginning like an online application and then presentation brief much like the Army. They differ in that they don't have an assessment centre, rather they use local civilian gyms and a contracted private GP for medicals.

Aptitude Test

This is a series of tests, but knowledge expected is GCSE/high school level. Scores will give a guideline of what trades/roles might be best suited for you, but if you're not happy with your scores you can (with the RAF & Navy, not sure on Army) retake it after a period of time. There is usually practice tests available on the recruitment websites.

Medical & SpLDs

There is a range of conditions that will disqualify you from service, chief amongst these include conditions like autism, etc (sometimes covered on a case-by-case basis). You'll be expected to declare conditions on a medical questionnaire before being examined by a doctor, though you may be declared medically unfit as they investigate further but you can appeal this.

ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Dyscalculia are recognised as SpLDs by the military but the private doctors at the medical stage for RAF & Navy but declare you unfit only for service doctors to reverse this decision. This will probably be the most frustrating stage for alot of people as it's completely out of your hands.

Fitness Test

Pre-joining fitness test for each Service is different.

Army - Beep Test (20m shuttle runs), medicine ball throw and mid thigh pull.

Navy - 1.5 mile run.

RAF - 1.5 mile run, push-ups, sit-ups.

Navy seems to be the easiest with more time being given for the run compared to the RAF, though the beep test for the Army will be the more difficult for a dyspraxic given the start/stop nature of the test with the turns you're required to make rather than a straight forward run. All three Service have training plans you can follow, but it will be worth your time engaging a personal trainer at a gym long before you begin your application.

Pre-Recruit Training

You'll get exposure to Army as the Assessment Centre whilst the Navy has the Candidate Preparation Course, both require you to pass fitness test. The RAF used to have the Pre-Recruit Training Course but this seems to have stopped with covid and it's currently unclear whether it's being brought back in.

Interviews

You'll get at least two interviews, the first is like a job interview where you get asked about yourself, reason for joining and your knowledge of the Service, etc. Second interview tends to be more admin related, finalizing paperwork and confirming that you're still interested in joining. There may be an additional interview if going into a specialist trade.

Offer of Employment

Presuming you've been successful you'll be offered an initial service contract and given a start date for recruit training, though this date can change.

Best thing you can do here is maintain and improve your fitness if you can, the fitter you are the easier recruit training can be.

NEXT: Recruit Training
stormwell
New member - welcome them!
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue May 28, 2024 1:43 pm

Re: Dyspraxia & The Military

Post by stormwell »

Recruit Training

Recruit training is a physically and psychologically intensive process, designed to get you into the military mindset whilst building physical and mental resilience.

With regards to dyspraxia it is extremely challenging with a great deal of physical depends, long days and not alot of time to take a breather. There is going to be a great deal of physical fitness training and drill/marching, plus having to look after your kit (ironing, folding uniform, etc).

Welfare provision has improved, the instructors are there to get you through training and will help if there is any issues. There is some provision with regards to SpLDs, but it's more focused on dyslexia. With regards to dyspraxia it is kinda down to pot luck whether there is somebody there with knowledge of the condition, I had a corporal who was familiar with it and asked if I had dyspraxia when he noticed that I was struggling with alot of the drill moments.

If not previously diagnosed with dyspraxia there is some provision for an assessment, but during recruit training I was 'discouraged' from doing this. It was cited that I would likely be pulled out of training and put on holding until the assessment was done, a process likely to take quite a few months. Unless you have serious issues, best to try and get through the training than sit around doing nothing for 6+ months.

NEXT: Trade Training
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