Sunday, 16 October 2011

Dyspraxia Assessment ... The Next Step

    I have been determined this year to explore my dyspraxia more - I've written about it in some depth - and also to seek a formal assessment of my condition, which is something I've never had.

    The first step in this diagnosis was back in June when I attended Oxford Brookes University to help in some research (see my post and I received a report from them certainly confirming what I already knew - that my motor coordination and attention-holding was below the expected levels for someone of my age. Whilst not a formal diagnosis by any means, it was great to have the opportunity to contribute to ongoing dyspraxia research at a respected university - and seen empirical evidence of my condition for the first time.

    The next step for me was to seek a formal diagnosis. For adults, this can be very difficult; it's not free for one thing. If you're a child or teenager, there are opportunities to get diagnosed through an Occupational Therapist or Clinical Psychologist at school - as an adult, you quickly discover that there's a cost attached to these, often around £500!


    I've started working closely with the Kent Dyspraxia Association (KeDA) and am honoured to be a part of their group; it's a truly passionate society dedicated to raising awareness and offering support. I'm attending my first proper meeting in a couple of weeks, and it'll be an interesting - and positive - experience, as I've still only met one other dyspraxic in person, the legend that is Barbara Neill and is now a very good friend of mine. I'm looking forward to meeting other dyspraxics in person - although that's no disparagement to the online dyspraxic friends I've made over the last few months. Having a support group in any form is vital, and I don't know if they appreciate how valuable I find them. So, to Jo, Tom, Spencer and all the others - you rock!

    I seem to have digressed slightly! I mentioned KeDA because when I met a few of the committee in Faversham for a drink, I fell into conversation with a qualified OT called Francis Beaumont. She's a lovely lady and we had a fascinating chat- especially when she mentioned that she was planning to train some OT's in formally diagnosing dyspraxia in adults ... and needed some test subjects. I volunteered so quick, it was almost a reflex action! I was glad when Frances accepted my offer - and it meant I would be able to get a formal diagnosis as well.

    The session is in Faversham in November, and in preparation I recently received two questionnaires to fill in. They were incredibly in depth questionnaires and I spent a long time making sure the answers I was giving were completely honest. It was interesting to codify a lot of my experiences in these surveys, even more so than I've written in my blogs so far. One was a Sensory Profile on everything from auditory and movement processing through to activity levels and a lot more besides; the second one was a wider survey on my life up to this point, and it gave me the opportunity to talk about the issues I've experienced in my life. I won't bore you with details here, but it helped bring the subject into sharp focus!

    My task for the coming week is to return the surveys to the OT who I'll be meeting on the day and then prepare myself for the actual meeting. To be formally assessed for a condition I've heard about all my life in relation to myself creates a strange mixture of emotions that I'm finding it difficult to analyse, but I'm taking it as a positive experience; I still don't know what I'll do with the diagnosis - maybe nothing except know that I've got it - but I know it's the right thing for me to do right now.

    I'll keep you updated!