Thursday, 16 June 2016

Dyspraxia, anxiety and inclusion

Inclusion is something which has always been at the core of my awareness work and when writing these blogs, as nobody deserves to feel alone and isolated. Inclusion seems such a wide topic, but the little things to make someone feel included can mean the world to not just them but their loved ones too.

I see inclusion coming up time and time again when it comes to dyspraxia either feeling included or people knowing what dyspraxia is. Whether it be learning inside the classroom, P.E or sport or making friendships. The amount of tears of confusion which came from me to my mum growing up, questioning why I never got invited to any parties, why I was always last being chosen for P.E and why nobody wanted to sit next to me at lunchtime. I would always question if I must have done something wrong or if it was my fault. Which as a parent must have been awful for my mum to hear.

 I've always been a very quirky person socially. Growing up the social side of dyspraxia was always something I was very self concious of, but it's something there needs to be awareness of as dyspraxia doesn't just affect people physically.  I've been told I have a very quirky dress sense- my arms can often be found with many bracelets.I have a love of butterfly prints, bows or floral especially in dresses and my fingers can be found with (often badly painted) brightly coloured nail varnish. Social anxiety can often mean I find it takes me a while to come out of my shell and not go into hiding, especially in new and unpredictable situations, and anxiety in general make controlling my emotions tricky,but once I feel comfortable in a situation, I tend to find it easier to relax with those older or younger than me, I've been told I have a very quirky sense of humour (got my dad to thank for that- very easily amused.)

My quirkiness, is something which makes me a unique person,which I see as a strength, it's also made me have a natural empathy for those who may be struggling, but over the years took me a long time to accept, growing up I would do anything to fit in. It has also lead to exclusion, when I was university I remember being ran away from as I was perceived as a weirdo and a freak, I've also faced awful exclusion and bullying
in the workplace. I've spent a lot of my time growing up feeling lonely and by myself, wondering why people were to scared to get to know Rosie. 

 People simply become frightened of things which they don't understand. A lot of people still don't know or aren't aware of what dyspraxia is and how it affects people. It is less known than other neurodiverse differences and difficulties, or if people have heard of it they just see it as clumsiness.
But dyspraxia is something which the general public needs educated on, the more awareness is generated, hopefully in time there will be more understanding. Once you take the time to understand dyspraxia and how it affects someone, ask questions not assumptions, as with any other hidden difference or disability or mental health condition it becomes not so scary. You don't have to have a difference or disability yourself to to take the time to understand. One of the biggest misunderstandings about difference and disability is that people assume that if they invite someone to something. they'll have to spend the evening parenting them or looking after them, for the vast majority of people, far from the case. Sometimes when you struggle with anxiety you might have to cancel plans or leave early, but that understanding and inclusion can help someone take those tiny steps forward. This was something which is echoed in my wonderful friend Alice's most recent blog about inclusion. In it she talks about the the little things people can do and by not making assumptions can make a real difference, to someones mental well being, confidence and how they go about day to day life. Whether as a child, young person or adult.

Behind someone's struggles and of course their strengths, is a person, someone who has thoughts, views, interests and opinions, people with differences and disabilities have the right to have their voice heard and listened to. Sometimes you have to simply dig a little bit deeper when getting to know someone, give them time to come out of their shell, take the time to get to understand things which might be seen as different, and remember that everyone has a different perspective of seeing the world we live in. The world we live in is rich with technology which is incredible, but sometimes we have to put the phone down, the laptop or i pad away open our eyes and appreciate the diversity which is around us.

 As an adult dyspraxic I still find some social situations tricky and will never find it the easiest coming out of my shell. But I am lucky to know some wonderful people who include me for who I am and value having employers who have a lot of empathy towards my dyspraxia and anxiety. Through my work with the Dyspraxia Foundation, I've never felt so included, I've met obviously Alice and also the wonderful Natalie another fellow dyspraxic blogger who has agreed to walk round the British 10k with me next month. Now as someone who felt completely excluded in P.E lessons, came last at everything and has the running style of a dyspraxic duck about to take off  the thought of being surrounded by professional runners, is something which makes me clammy just typing this. Despite it being one massive challenge for me anxiety wise as well as physically, that inclusion and resilience is something which will be getting me round, hopefully raising awareness helping others with dyspraxia feel included too, as I would hate for anyone to go through what I have. Even though the last few months have been a real struggle for me anxiety wise, I hope it shows to others determination.

Myself and my mum have been asked to come to answer questions at Dyspraxia Westminster: Dyspraxia London event and answer any questions parents may have about growing up with dyspraxia, some of the coping strategies I've developed over the years. If you're interested in attending the link is: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dyspraxia-in-london-tickets-25406892700  I put a lot of my achievements over the last few years down partly to feeling included and I hope my inclusive nature for helping others. As I know from my own experiences that encouragement can give you the courage to ask for help and the strength to keep going when times are tough.

With nominations closing for the National Diversity awards closing on Wednesday. (It seems like this has been going on for ages.) Many of the wonderful people who advocate for dyspraxia awareness have been nominated, it would be wonderful for society to see the what dyspraxics can offer this world, please get behind them over the next few days.
I am grateful to everyone who has nominated me so far, for the kind comments, and the fact that this blog has helped others. If anything has helped at all and you still want to nominate me the link to do so is:  https://nominate.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/Nominate/Endorse/29669name=Rosie%20Edmondson



1 comment:


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