In just 40 days (10th July) I will be walking the Vitality British 10k in London to help raise funds and awareness for the Dyspraxia Foundation. My Just Giving page can be found here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Natalie-Williams24.
As those of you who read my blog will know, I have dyspraxia and mild cerebral palsy. Whilst cerebral palsy is something that the majority of people have heard of before, dyspraxia isn’t – despite the fact that dyspraxia is more than twice as common! Dyspraxia is estimated to affect between 1 in 10 to 1 in 20 people.
I was diagnosed with dyspraxia at the age of three and in those 15 years I have come across a lot of misunderstandings about dyspraxia! 9 times out of 10 when I tell someone I have dyspraxia they look at me with a blank look on their face. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was something relatively simple to explain, but attempting to explain dyspraxia to someone who has never heard of it before isn’t easy!
That’s because it affects such a variety of aspects of day to day life: having difficulty getting the right grip on the pen when you’re writing; having trouble judging the distance of the cars when crossing the road (I’m the one who’s stood there for ages, having missed 10 opportunities to cross!); trying to drink without spilling it down yourself (I’ve resorted to using a straw, much easier – although I still find a way to spill it!); forgetting things (I was literally just about to write something else, but forgot – it’s safe to say short term memory isn’t a strength of mine!); literal thinking (for people who know me it’s not so bad, but it can make situations awkward sometimes especially with unfamiliar people); trying to keep up with a conversation amongst a group of people (this is made difficult by having difficulty with thought processing, often by the time I’ve thought of something to say they’ve all moved on to the next point!) That’s just a few of the ways dyspraxia affects me. Not everyone is the same though, some dyspraxics will be over-sensitive to certain noises, whereas I’m not. On the other hand, some people won’t have the same difficulties in social situations that I do. As you can see, it affects people in so many different ways. I’ve gone into more detail in my other blog posts if you would like to find out more.
I’m not saying all this to make you feel bad. Being dyspraxic also means there’s plenty to laugh about and one advantage is that our long term memory often makes up for the fact that our short term memory is awful! But having this view on dyspraxia doesn’t just happen on it’s own. It comes from the support of the Dyspraxia Foundation – getting to know others with dyspraxia on their Facebook group for people aged 13-25 with dyspraxia, looking through the factsheets they’ve created for tips to make things that little bit easier and knowing that their helpline is there to answer any dyspraxia related queries. It’s the same for so many others too. The Dyspraxia Foundation are the only charity in the UK who are dedicated to raising awareness of dyspraxia (and coincidentally they’re local to me too!) They do a huge amount in helping to raise awareness of dyspraxia – distributing leaflets and books about dyspraxia to local schools. They hold conferences for parents, teachers or adults with dyspraxia – full of information and the opportunity to get to know others with dyspraxia. They have a vital helpline service, supporting adults and parents of children with dyspraxia. They run local support groups, making sure no one with dyspraxia feels like they’re alone. Despite the fact that there still isn’t enough awareness, it really has come a long way so far with the help of the Dyspraxia Foundation and they’re constantly doing what they can to raise awareness even further through talks and through their social media accounts.
The Dyspraxia Foundation do not receive any government funding, and consist of a large number of volunteers with just a few members of paid staff. They cannot continue their work without vital funds, so that is why I am walking 10k in London to raise money for them. One way in which dyspraxia affects me is getting tired more easily. When I was younger I would use a buggy for longer distances, even up until the age of six/seven. So walking 10k will be a challenge, but I’m looking forward to raising money and much needed awareness for dyspraxia!
Please donate – it really would mean a lot if you could! As little or as much as you like, it all makes a difference!
I will be walking the 10k with Rosie, who is also dyspraxic, and her boyfriend Matt will be running the 10k. It would be great if you could take a look at their Just Giving page too.
You can either donate via my Just Giving page or there is also the option to donate by text if you would prefer. Just text “NWDF90” followed by the amount you wish to donate to “70070”.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. Please donate if you can!