is it a "proper" disability?

A place to talk about your experience of living with Dyspraxia

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is it a "proper" disability?

Post by jme » Fri Jul 21, 2006 8:24 am

ah ha! controversial title hey!?

Well, my irrational self sometimes feels like I somehow have an "illegitimate disability”. Like those people who say that they’re an Eskimo, when their great great grandmother was an Eskimo. (so they are like 1/16th Eskimo or something...).

I feel like I'm on the periphery of disability... almost there but not quite. Sort of “quasi disabled". When I feel exhausted, I feel bad to admit even to myself that my disability plays a part – because I have this feeling that my problems are “very mild”... like I should be able to do everything just like everyone else because its not a “real” handicap. I sometimes feel stupid if people don’t understand me, or if I do something really clumsy. That somehow it’s all just ME. However, when I see people with more severe disabilities who aren’t all that clear or who can’t move properly I am very understanding and never blame the person!

All of this is a bit of a rambling. It’s a gut feeling more than a rational thought. Unfortunately this irrational part of me sometimes overrides my normally “boringly sensible” self! Do you ever feel like dyspraxia isn’t a “real” or "proper" disability?

ps...i know we shouldnt use lables and we are all unique and its about what you are good at.. and in the scheme of things who cares?...bla... bla... but hey!
"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."

"Normal refers to someone who hasn’t had enough tests!"

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Post by Greg » Fri Jul 21, 2006 11:29 am

First thing, we all know that it's a proper disability. There really is no contesting that point.

That's not what you asked though and as someone who's not a politician I figure I'd better answer the question that was asked :P Yes, despite what I know and the evidence and what most people I know say, I do sometimes *feel* that it's not a proper disability. It's an utterly irrational response, maladaptive in many ways and everyone (including me) would be better off if I didn't feel that way.

I think the problem is that I had an explaination for everything. I got used to being clumsy, with a bad memory and a tendancy to have trouble articulating myself (ekcetera) and those definitions got fairly embedded into my self-image. Finding that there is another term describing all of that feels very superficial. It didn't feel like an explaination, saying why I was all of these things. It seemed more like taking all of the things that I was and putting a word to them. As such it's always felt like a very arbitary label and I have had a hard time letting things be a part of it and getting on with life.

I must say since coming to this forum, where a lot of people take it seriously (I, on the other hand, am pathalogically unable to take anything seriously :P), I've improved a great deal. I'm happier to put being unable to articulate something down to dyspraxia and use some coping mechanism or move onto some other problem and (most importantly) not curse myself for it.

This leaves me with plenty of time to curse the dayball, who's influence has made life very difficult over the past few days. I wanna go back to Scottland.

Anyway, it is a proper disability. People smarter than me or you who probably were carrying clipboards at the time say so and that's that.

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Post by Daniel » Fri Jul 21, 2006 2:54 pm

I do wonder whether the common usage of the word 'disabled' or 'disability' makes us question this about dyspraxia more than we should. Certainly in all of us it affects our ability to do things and therefore to whatever mild extent it may be it does have a disabling influence on our lives. However in society generally the whole label of being 'disabled' seems to persist in the main which those particularly visually obvious physical disabilities. However just because a person in a wheelchair is the standard disabled symbol shouldn't let it devalue our own situations.

This said, there is also the extent to which everyone has their own indiosyncracies and it can be easy sometimes to think that we're making a great fuss over nothing in the problems that we're having and that what we are facing isn't really any greater than that of any other person. Certainly life does deal out a pretty random set of cards to most people I often see people with their own difficulties, very different from my own admittedly, but it can make me wonder what I go on about when I talk about dyspraxia. However there are also a great many people who do very many things that I would just avoid due directly to my dyspraxia. I've met a great many people while travelling who are climbing mountains, riding bikes, going out clubbing with the locals. While I could in theory attempt all of these, experience has taught me that I'd put myself in difficult if not dangerous situations if I did. And so, while everyone has their foibles (and what a fine word it is I might add) I'm happy to stick to my guns and say I have a disability. I haven't got to the stage yet where I say to others that I'm disabled, perhaps due to the problems associated with the traditional usage of the term which I addressed earlier, but in myself it helps a great deal in terms of confidence and doing what I am happy doing.

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Post by nick » Fri Jul 21, 2006 10:43 pm

an interesting topic.

personaly i find the term disability a very disabling term. when ever i think of myself as having a disability or being more challenged than others, i become more clumsy and inarticulate, as if i have to start to imitate that label. on the other hand, if i refrain from that type of labeling, and acknoweldge that i am different from the norm and therefore have to approach things from a different percpective, i start to feel special and gifted. to recap, for me reffering to myself as being disabled for any other reason other than to get some entitlement (benefits such as a DSA) puts me into a negative frame of mind that can produce some very disabling behaviour.

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Post by jme » Sat Jul 22, 2006 7:58 am

hehe, I really like this board. I can put up and irrationaly thought and people can understand what im getting at, and then they articulate my thoughts in a clear and concise manner. :) in other words i really liked all your replies.

Yeah, i guess sometimes it can feel a bit arbitrary and superficial. I like how Greg uses dyspraxia and all it stands for as a time saver.. now thats practical!!

Dan hit the nail on the head when he said this
travelling Dan wrote:This said, there is also the extent to which everyone has their own indiosyncracies and it can be easy sometimes to think that we're making a great fuss over nothing in the problems that we're having and that what we are facing isn't really any greater than that of any other person.
That is how it can feel sometime.

And i can relate to Nick's description of the trap that labelling can create. it sometimes just isnt necessary.

Thanks guys, you are all really smart! =P~
"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."

"Normal refers to someone who hasn’t had enough tests!"


Post by robyn » Sun Jul 23, 2006 9:08 pm

Heya, Im a newbie here, I dont consider any of my nd conditions disablities. I just think they are conditions that create areas of difficulty, but I also think that many of my positives come from these, like being creative, sensitive and an excellent problem solver. Its all just part of what makes me an individual. I do think the labels are useful though, for getting assistance with uni etc.

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Post by Rosel » Mon Jul 24, 2006 4:28 pm

Dypraxia is an area where that terribly politically correct sounding phrase *differently able* does actually apply. After all we are capable, we just do things differently.

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Post by gemuse_soup » Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:15 pm

What a great discussion! I just recently learned about dyspraxia. I didn't know until about a month ago that I was, as Rosel so accurately states, "differently abled." I'm still working on getting a proper diagnosis. Some days I like recognizing that there are problems related to this, but other days (like today), I feel like I should be able to "do better." I'm glad to know others feel this way as well.

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Post by helenahelen » Sun Oct 29, 2006 9:04 pm

I go back and forth on this one. I think it has to depend upon whether labelled or defining oneself as "dyspraxic" or "disabled" helps.

For me, it is mostly unhelpful, except in two areas
1) finding likeminded individuals who understand what it's like not to be able to change lightbulbs or drive: that's why I signed up here last night
2) getting financial help: being "officially" dyspraxic funded my way through uni with DLA and DSA... I'd not have been able to afford the degree otherwise

Actually, I've just thought of a third. When I'm tired I often get mistaken for being drunk through generally not walking very well and if it's only 9am I can get some fairly snotty comments from nosy passers-by. A bit a rapid-fire medical terminology usually renders them sincerely apologetic..!

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Post by Shadwell » Sat Jan 06, 2007 7:06 pm

it is a disability, but it is only as much a disability that you let it be,

yes most things apply to me, or in some degree or another, but the one thing I can say no to is not being able to drive a car,

I dunno whether it is sheer determination, and wanting, and learning, or what! even though I was also nagging my parents every night to take me out in the car.

I did feel like the car was part of me all the way through drivng lessons, but I can't say that for wagon lessons, as I have failed twice on silly things,

and I know that the dyspraxia didn't help there, because I don't like driving in Cardiff at the best of times, so I tend to avoid it at all cost, which my 2nd driving lesson was in Cardiff, so I was that much more aware of the fact, I didn't know where the junctions are, so getting into lane isn't easy, then I had the problems of left, and right, and ended up making a dogs dinner of it!

and also his words were I would like you to take the 7th exit off this round-about! ok so he pointed out which exit it was with a car, but I had the round-about to contend with, with a 35 foot vehicle, traffic, watching for the size of a gap to feed into, and watching for idiots to cut the round-about! but then he did help by counting the exits as well!!

the first one was a better area, as the examiner from the 2nd test was on holiday, I just ended up thinking too much like this is a dream, and nothing can stop me!

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