At uni, newly diagnosed and panicking.

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beckym_92
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At uni, newly diagnosed and panicking.

Post by beckym_92 »

Hi :D

A bit about myself, I'm Becky, 21, in my final year of Durham University studying Psychology and English. And just before my 21st birthday in March, I was diagnosed as dyspraxic and dyslexic.

My first thought was anger - how had I gotten so far through the education system without someone saying - hang on a minute.... and offering some help? I suspect the main reason is that I went to quite a rough school, and kids that were passing were kind of just left to get on with it.

My second thought was confusion - hang on a minute.... how had I actually got so far through the education system?! Most of the people from my secondary school hadn't even gone onto take A-Levels, and literally less than about 10 (from my year of 250) had gone on to university. The assessment must be wrong, I mean, I'm studying English?! I read books extremely quickly (hyperlexia?!) so how can I be dyslexic?!

My third thought was sheer panic - OH MY GOD I'M DISABLED. As the assessment was done through the university (and cost me £350?!) I was automatically registered with the university Disability Service and helped to apply for Disabled Students Allowance. The most common response from my friends was "Do you get a disabled parking badge? Can I borrow it?! Cos, obviously, you can't drive..." The answer is no, no, and I'm bloody well going to start learning now to prove you wrong!! It felt like a massive burden had been placed on my shoulders. I was suddenly very different from other people - I always had been - but now it felt very marked, very strange, as though something was suddenly wrong with me.

My most recent thoughts on the matter are acceptance - it's a learning difference, not a disability, part of who I am, not something that stop me being the real me. Things started to make sense - I can't swim, drive and can *just* about ride a bike. I work in the bar at uni and am CONSTANTLY breaking glasses. But, I can play football, rugby and run pretty decently. I've realized that although I can read very (very) quickly, my spelling can be appalling and I often miss out words, get them in the wrong or write words phonetically similar to the words I'm thinking. I realized that I'd just previously learnt to cope by subconsciously proofreading things multiple times and teachers letting these small mistakes slide because of the "clever" content surrounding them. I get frustrated because my thoughts are faster than my writing and typing and now I finally get extra times in exams so for once I can finish them. My handwriting is kinda legible but I write very slowly and I genuinely don't know how I managed to get all A's in my A-Levels without finishing any of the exams!!! It also explained some other less study related things, why I'd grown up not eating fruit and vegetables as I couldn't bear the texture (don't worry folks I now have smoothies and soups so I don't get ill), why I'm very susceptible to hot/cold, why I don't like clubbing, why I go off on random tangents in conversation, why I can't structure essays or arguments, why I forget things very easily and why I have a propensity to exaggerate/mistell events, blurring the lines between reality, fantasy and my emotions and perception of what occurred. (Please note: I don't mention dragons or anything, just sometimes get confused as to who said what, the tone, what actually happened, what I think happened in social situations.)

The main reason for this post is mainly to say hi, introduce myself but also to ask for help! I'm due to receive some assistive software but not until later in the year - and term starts on Monday! I'm going into my final year and I've literally scraped through the last two, despite putting in a lot more effort than some of my classmates. Does anyone have any hints or tips for studying/university for dyspraxics? Particularly for concentration, revision, structure and memory? I always seem to go into an exam and as soon as I'm there promptly forget everything I've just spent months learning and relearning. Also, I'll be doing my dissertation... which means numbers people. It'll involve doing a psychology experiment and STATISTICAL ANALYSIS. This is all very logical and rigorous and mathematical and very linear ](*,) , which is not going to be easy because my brain sometimes thinks like an exploding firework.

Thanks loads for reading, and extra thanks for any help,
Becky :ghug:
Tom fod
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Re: At uni, newly diagnosed and panicking.

Post by Tom fod »

Hi Becky

Welcome to the forums (or fora)

Try not to panic about your 'diagnosis' It's far from an exact science. I suspect that due to your score in what ever tests they put you through the result in their scheme points to dyslexia even though you feel and seem a mile away from classic dyslexia as most people would understand it. Don't let yourself be defined by your own or other peoples ideas of what a dyslexic or dyspraxic can or cannot do. You have obviously developed your own coping strategies for getting by thus far without being recognised.

Diagnosis is still, as I put it, an inexact science though recognition seems to be becoming more common, They still have a way to go as far as tailoring support that is right for the individual, and we as the individuals struggle to know what we need. It seems the very nature of the beast. We tend to be a independently minded lot who like to be able to just get on with it, in our own way, without someone looking over our shoulder and commenting that we're not doing it in the right way.

I hate the world 'disabled', mostly because of other peoples lack of perception, attitudes and lack of understanding which leads them to try and pigeon hole people. (I guess we all do it though it is not nice to be on the receiving end). That said if you're offered help like extra time or a mentor, try not to be embarrassed about taking an advantage if it's offered because of your own fears about other peoples' perceptions/opinions.

Keep us up to date with how things go. I hope this site helps you to come to terms with your difference and provides you some comfort and an understanding place to vent your frustrations.

All the best
Tom
Moderator/Administrator

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)
emma94
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Re: At uni, newly diagnosed and panicking.

Post by emma94 »

Hey Becky,

Coincidentally I am actually at Durham University too! I'm a fresher, studying Anthropology (with modules in English and History) and I'm 19. I was literally just diagnosed with mild Dyspraxia (dyspraxic tendencies and slow processing problems) probably by the same assessor as you?! I actually already had an assessment done like 5 years ago to get me extra time, but it didn't come out with dyspraxia as it did this time.

So this probably won't help you much, but just so you're reassured that there is someone in the same boat as you, and we go to the same uni! I find that I have to work a LOT harder than others in order to get the same kind of results and that I never finished on time in my A level exams, despite my extra time. Like I would just never finish an essay because I could never be concise enough, but I still got good grades because of the content I did manage to get into it. I'm rubbish too with structuring and organising essays and notes! Literally I can relate to so much of what you're saying - I'm really over-sensitive to temperature and I get either super hot and confused or super cold, I HATE the texture of most fruit and veg and can't eat them, apart from like orange juice, and I'm really bad at articulating things that have happened. Genuinely I can relate.

I know I'm younger than you so probably can't help you much, but things that have helped me in the past to revise for A levels is writing some notes as concise and specific as I can manage (and trust me I'm rubbish at writing notes and being concise!), talking through what I've written with myself, then giving them to someone else who can then ask you to talk through whatever topic the notes are on. I find that talking through them with someone else in a casual way helps with memory because you associate the information with questions that person has asked/jokes they've made/their tone of voice. Like little triggers that can help you remember in the exam. If you're learning particular studies in psychology, and you're talking through them with a friend, you can make jokes about the name of the investigator and see if their name links to the findings of the study/what they did (eg, Recht et al. found that baseball players were RECHT from jet lag after travelling west to east). It won't work with everything but that helped me!

Sorry I couldn't help more but I hope you feel less on your own! Also, my friends also sometimes comment on how clumsy I am, and particularly how bad at driving I am! Driver In the end its just individual differences - not a disability, and its not like we're less clever than anyone else, just that we take longer to do things and organise our firework like brains!

I hope you're loving the arctic Durham weather right now, and that you haven't picked up freshers flu from us!
Emma :) x
JayHender
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Re: At uni, newly diagnosed and panicking.

Post by JayHender »

Hiya,
First off just want to say I too have dyslexia and dyspraxia and my school Primary and Secondary missed it as well. Which amazes me as I went to quite a good school. Don't think of your problems as a disability, our brains are just "wired" a different way. I do have bad balance as well (Due to dyspraxia) and I suffer from the usual stuff too such as being clumsy etc. While I was only recently diagnosed with this condition it has effected me so much without my knowing. I have broken 6 bones and done long lasting ligament damage all in the last 6years, this was all down to losing balance aka Dyspraxia. If you like your sports watch out for that as we are more lightly to lose out balance.

When it comes to studying there is no easy way. There is nothing I hate more than a day of studying but as I have learnt it has to be done. Try to have regular breaks between hard studying. Pick the thing you enjoy doing the most and do it during a 15-20 min break then start back again working. This is how I have managed:)

Good luck
screengreen
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Re: At uni, newly diagnosed and panicking.

Post by screengreen »

I don't know if this will help you guys but I have 2 degrees and a masters module, and I find that using subheadings to write all the bits of the essay, then editing out the subheadings helped as did mind maps and spider diagrams [these were especially good as I could write things as I thought of them not in the order thats logical to others] but sadly I too had to work harder than others but remember more in the long run!
jack200
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Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:13 pm

Re: At uni, newly diagnosed and panicking.

Post by jack200 »

Hi everybody.
I have just enrolled on a Social Science Degree with the Open University. On some of the internet forums
i post on, people have questioned how my literacy goes up and down from one post to another therefore
intimating that if i give a good or reasoned post, that i have either ( Cut and pasted it) or plagiarized
other peoples work. I have told them on that forum that i probably suffer from Dyspraxia and that from
time to time my standard of writing can go up or down. In fact one poster said , i know Dyspraxia because
my child suffers from it and her writing never changes. The poster suggested she would like to put my
work though Turnitin . She is an Oxbridge graduate so knows these things.

I was wondering if anyone experienced such unfounded insults and upset from this sort of thing.
I have been out of education for 20+ plus years because i found it very difficult., I don't need
someone telling me its not my work , and that my work is crap.
desertboy
Getting settled in
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Joined: Sat May 18, 2013 6:49 pm

Re: At uni, newly diagnosed and panicking.

Post by desertboy »

@jack200

Those accusations really must be devastating.

Could I clarify one thing? Is the person who wants to put your work through Turnitin a member of staff? If so, it might be to your advantage to allow her to do this. That is because when you are found to be innocent, she's going to look a bit of a fool and will have to make some profuse apologies. However, I can also understand your reluctance to undergo this kind of indignity.

Anyway, I thought the quality of everybody's writing (including that of the neurotypical) can change depending on their moods, levels of tiredness etc.
jack200
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Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:13 pm

Re: At uni, newly diagnosed and panicking.

Post by jack200 »

Thank you Desert Boy.

No the person is not a member of O.U staff or Turnitin , it is just upsetting to hear people
say things that are not true. Becky has described the problems (Despite getting all As in her A Levels)
that people who suffer from Dyspraxia have.

The post/work is not academic work so in that regard it is not important, it is just the statement that
was made that her Daughter's written work never changes. If i don't work at 100% all the time my
symptoms show, as people on this site have described sometimes we need to work three times as
hard as some other people.

Thanks for replying .... Your post has made me feel better.
desertboy
Getting settled in
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat May 18, 2013 6:49 pm

Re: At uni, newly diagnosed and panicking.

Post by desertboy »

Yes, of course. Our work does vary more than the neurotypical.

I'm astonished that someone who is not even a member of staff has the temerity to make such an accusation. Indeed, I would say that she sounds like an officious old sow. She obviously needs to remove her head from her rectum every now and then and take a good look around at the world.

Anyway, good luck with your course and resolving the issue.
freida74
Getting settled in
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2014 10:32 am

Re: At uni, newly diagnosed and panicking.

Post by freida74 »

screengreen wrote:I don't know if this will help you guys but I have 2 degrees and a masters module, and I find that using subheadings to write all the bits of the essay, then editing out the subheadings helped as did mind maps and spider diagrams [these were especially good as I could write things as I thought of them not in the order thats logical to others] but sadly I too had to work harder than others but remember more in the long run!

Thank you for these tips - I am struggling with a post graduate essay at the moment and it is the structure I m having the most problems with. i am going over and over it and rearranging the structure and then tying myself in knots because I haven't 'got it' but have not idea how to rectify it. I'm getting really frustrated.
freida74
Getting settled in
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed May 21, 2014 10:32 am

Re: At uni, newly diagnosed and panicking.

Post by freida74 »

beckym_92 wrote:Hi :D

A bit about myself, I'm Becky, 21, in my final year of Durham University studying Psychology and English. And just before my 21st birthday in March, I was diagnosed as dyspraxic and dyslexic.

My first thought was anger - how had I gotten so far through the education system without someone saying - hang on a minute.... and offering some help? I suspect the main reason is that I went to quite a rough school, and kids that were passing were kind of just left to get on with it.

My second thought was confusion - hang on a minute.... how had I actually got so far through the education system?! Most of the people from my secondary school hadn't even gone onto take A-Levels, and literally less than about 10 (from my year of 250) had gone on to university. The assessment must be wrong, I mean, I'm studying English?! I read books extremely quickly (hyperlexia?!) so how can I be dyslexic?!

My third thought was sheer panic - OH MY GOD I'M DISABLED. As the assessment was done through the university (and cost me £350?!) I was automatically registered with the university Disability Service and helped to apply for Disabled Students Allowance. The most common response from my friends was "Do you get a disabled parking badge? Can I borrow it?! Cos, obviously, you can't drive..." The answer is no, no, and I'm bloody well going to start learning now to prove you wrong!! It felt like a massive burden had been placed on my shoulders. I was suddenly very different from other people - I always had been - but now it felt very marked, very strange, as though something was suddenly wrong with me.

My most recent thoughts on the matter are acceptance - it's a learning difference, not a disability, part of who I am, not something that stop me being the real me. Things started to make sense - I can't swim, drive and can *just* about ride a bike. I work in the bar at uni and am CONSTANTLY breaking glasses. But, I can play football, rugby and run pretty decently. I've realized that although I can read very (very) quickly, my spelling can be appalling and I often miss out words, get them in the wrong or write words phonetically similar to the words I'm thinking. I realized that I'd just previously learnt to cope by subconsciously proofreading things multiple times and teachers letting these small mistakes slide because of the "clever" content surrounding them. I get frustrated because my thoughts are faster than my writing and typing and now I finally get extra times in exams so for once I can finish them. My handwriting is kinda legible but I write very slowly and I genuinely don't know how I managed to get all A's in my A-Levels without finishing any of the exams!!! It also explained some other less study related things, why I'd grown up not eating fruit and vegetables as I couldn't bear the texture (don't worry folks I now have smoothies and soups so I don't get ill), why I'm very susceptible to hot/cold, why I don't like clubbing, why I go off on random tangents in conversation, why I can't structure essays or arguments, why I forget things very easily and why I have a propensity to exaggerate/mistell events, blurring the lines between reality, fantasy and my emotions and perception of what occurred. (Please note: I don't mention dragons or anything, just sometimes get confused as to who said what, the tone, what actually happened, what I think happened in social situations.)

The main reason for this post is mainly to say hi, introduce myself but also to ask for help! I'm due to receive some assistive software but not until later in the year - and term starts on Monday! I'm going into my final year and I've literally scraped through the last two, despite putting in a lot more effort than some of my classmates. Does anyone have any hints or tips for studying/university for dyspraxics? Particularly for concentration, revision, structure and memory? I always seem to go into an exam and as soon as I'm there promptly forget everything I've just spent months learning and relearning. Also, I'll be doing my dissertation... which means numbers people. It'll involve doing a psychology experiment and STATISTICAL ANALYSIS. This is all very logical and rigorous and mathematical and very linear ](*,) , which is not going to be easy because my brain sometimes thinks like an exploding firework.

Thanks loads for reading, and extra thanks for any help,
Becky :ghug:

I can see this post is quite a few months old and just wondered how you are getting on?
The feelings you have of confusion, disbelief and yet at the same time relief that this 'explains it' sounds very similar to me. I have struggled always with procrastination, frustration, organisation but mainly structuring essays and expressing my argument. I did my degree 15 years ago and got a 2.2
I'm now back at uni, at 40 and trying to write a post graduate essay. It has taken me months! I was discussing my essay and my tutor showed me how my introduction went from one topic to another and then back again. I had 3 different points that i was going round in circles with. When she pointed it out it was so obvious but i couldnt see it at all before she had said. she helped me reconstruct the introduction but now i am looking at the rest of the 10,000 words i can not see the woods for the trees. i do not know what i am trying to say, i am confused and frustrated.

It was my uni tutor during these discussions and asking me about what i was like at school that led to her suggesting i might be dyspraxic. like you say its a shock and how did i get this far but on the other hand its like Oh - that's why it was so HARD to get this far and all these things make sense. i just thought it was who i am.
i have contacted my gp and my uni. my gp said 'it certainly sounds like you are dyspraxic from all that you have told me but you obviously seem to be coping well if you are doing an MA, come back if you feel you need a diagnosis and I will be happy to refer you' which I have come away and thought 'but thats just it - i am not coping - i am going to have a nervous breakdown!'

my uni have said i can have an appointment to get diagnosed. not sure what it involves but i have said yes please. Now I am worried that if I am NOT dyspraxic why do i have all these issues with organisation, memory, etc etc! think i need a diagnosis to get some kind of resolution. feel quite emotional about the whole thing.

due to go on and do pgce in sept and i'm really thinking - am i mad?!
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