Before I continue describing our adventures with the OT (!) I would like to focus a little on the book, she recommended to us.
'Dyspraxia - The Hidden Handicap.'
It took me a long time to get past that title, well actually the subtitle- The Hidden Handicap.
The word handicap is emotive and powerful. It conjures up all sorts of images, personal to each individual. But I am willing to wager a hefty bet, that it doesn't bring up an image of my Moglet #2, this seemly healthy, able bodied young man.
Does he have the right to that label?
I have had the privilege, and it is a privilege, to work with students who have the most challenging needs. I have seen families deal 24 / 7 with medical, physical and psychological issues that knock what we have on our plates into a cocked hat. They go through things on a daily basis that some of us can't image. They have incredible, moving and often difficult stories to tell.
That doesn't however mean that Moglet # 2's story is any less valid. It is our story and we have a right to tell it. Whenever we want. Wherever we want and however we want.
We decided to tell this story not to gain sympathy or attention, but to connect with others in the same situation. To prove to my bright , clever Moglet #2,who had suddenly hit a brick wall and hated this dyspraxia thing so much, that he could live with it and manage it. That it could be a positive.
The connections we have made, we are making and, hopefully, will continue to make are invaluable, so thank you.
My child has a right to be the best he can be and, if telling his story, and making his hidden handicap visible, is part of that process so be it. We are not belittling anyone's struggles, we are simply telling our story and maybe raising awareness too.
Moglet # 2 is much more than dyspraxia, just as his older brother is more than his dyslexia. But, it is an element of who he is and what makes him tick. How important an element depends on the day, the time, how much sleep he's had, stress levels- I could go on. If you were going to spend significant amount of time with Moglet #2 I would be telling you about his dyspraxia. It impacts on him and you need to know that. It's hidden, you see.
Dyspraxia is not used in our house to excuse any kind of behaviour. It may be a reason but never, ever an excuse.
Do we ever say, "That behaviour was ok because you have dyspraxia." ? Never.
But we might say, "I think that happened because of this. It maybe linked to your dyspraxia. How can we work together to stop it happening again?"
The hardest things about a hidden disability, is that you can't see it, obviously! That means you, the sufferer or the carer have to make a decision about whether or not to tell someone about it. There isn't a wheelchair or a white stick to broach the subject for you. It's down to you to mention and then explain, quite possibly to someone who has never heard of your condition, how it effects you. They might be skeptical, I mean you "look alright." They have to trust you and listen. They have to take you at your word.
Finding the right time and judging when and how to tell your story is a skill all on it's own. It requires maturity and it requires bravery. It's one we are working on. Forgive us if we don't always get it right!
I believe that since we bought that book the subtitle has been changed. 'The Hidden Handicap' has been changed to 'Developmental Co-ordination Disorder.'
I prefer the old version. Because Dyspraxia is about so much more than Co-ordination. And we should be working hard to make it visible.