Problems following directions

Cooking, finances, shopping and any regular tasks that are challenging

Moderator: Moderator Team

Post Reply
New member - welcome them!
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:07 pm

Problems following directions

Post by LucySnowe24 »

Hi guys,

I just discovered this forum and I'm really glad there's a place for dyspraxic adults!

I had a really crappy experience this morning - I got up early because I was planning to go for a walk in the countryside near my city, which is something I've planned to do and done successfully before, on a different route. I'm dyspraxic and autistic and one part of it for me is that I can't follow directions at all. I can't read maps. If I have a set of written directions I can get where I'm going in the end, but I'm guaranteed to go the wrong way at some point. I just can't see how the instructions correspond to the physical world when it's in front of me. When I went on the walk before, I got lost three times, but each time I managed to correct my route fairly quickly and go around the route.

On this walk, I found the starting point, and then there were a number of different routes I could follow. I had some directions I'd printed from the National Trust website but I found them very confusing and like they didn't really describe what I was looking at. I tried following the route I thought was right, walked it for a while, realised I was going in the wrong direction, so turned around and went back to the starting place. I then tried another route but I was pretty sure this was wrong as well. By then I'd been walking for over an hour and literally hadn't got anywhere. Even if I managed to find the right route and stick to it with no mistakes, it was still a fairly long and ambitious walk and I was already beginning to run out of energy. So I decided to just give up and go home again.

Ugh. I feel really angry at myself and embarrassed. I seem like a competent and successful person in a lot of ways and I'd be really ashamed to have anyone in my life know I literally gave up on a walk because I couldn't follow the directions. It's such a basic part of being an independent adult and I'm failing at it. Any advice on how I can get better in the future? Or whether I can stop feeling ashamed about this?

Tom fod
Posts: 2294
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 9:05 pm
Location: SW UK

Re: Problems following directions

Post by Tom fod »

Hi Lucy and welcome

I think this is one of the biggest issues with dyspraxia in that it makes us feel and look less than competent. I've been horribly lost on numerous occasions which has been enough to foul up my day. Route descriptions can be very subjective and what seems obvious to the person writing the route description may not be apparent to the person subsequently trying to follow it at a later date. Equally paths can be diverted or become overgrown and indistinct/or someone has put up a No Trespassing sign

I've done it too on numerous occasions. I got horribly lost in Bristol trying to find Ikea and then horribly lost again trying to find my way back. I even asked for assistance from passers by, and I'm a bloke! When I lived in the Forest Of Dean I'd often go on an extended wander and getting lost was all part of the experience even got lost following a route I knew but had veered off of in the dark.

I very much suspect if I'd had the same directions you'd had, I may well have been lost too.

Even following directions using a smartphone/device is not always something that is easy or reliable and batteries too often rundown at the most inconvenient of times. I got lost in Canada too once (2012 iirc and No phone) I was looking for a waterfall and there were steps and signage I completely missed. I swear any local bears were probably too overcome with laughter at my route finding to bother mauling me!

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)

Post Reply