Emma Lewell-Buck became the first MP to speak publicly about their experiences with the developmental condition dyspraxia, in an article in last weekend’s Sunday Telegraph.
In the article she spoke about the difficulties she experienced at school, and the frustrating perception some have of the condition as being mere clumsiness. Lack of awareness is a problem, and even Emma’s own parents had not heard of the condition when it was diagnosed. As she admits in the article: “It is not something that is commonly talked about.”
As part of Dyspraxia Awareness Week in two weeks’ time, Emma will encourage people who suspect they may have the condition to be tested, and will urge schools to do more to identify and support dyspraxic children.
Around five per cent of the population are thought to have dyspraxia, with around two per cent of people are severely affected. Those who have the condition often have problems with co-ordination and spatial awareness, although the symptoms vary and can include language difficulties or poor concentration.
Last month Emma met with representatives from the Dyspraxia Foundation, a national organisation that works to raise awareness about the condition. The Foundation’s annual Dyspraxia Awareness Week begins on 13 October, and the focus this year is on dyspraxia in 4-11 year olds. Two children in every classroom have the condition, and failure to identify their needs can result in them falling behind their peers, as well as developing poor self-esteem.
Emma will speak at the Dyspraxia Awareness Week reception in London on Monday 14 October. Other events happening during the week include a Dress Down for Dyspraxia fundraiser on Friday 18 October.
Emma said: “Dyspraxia is a condition that is often misunderstood or dismissed, even though it affects as many as one in ten of us. As an MP I want to use my position to help raise awareness of the condition, and I look forward to working closely with the Dyspraxia Foundation during Dyspraxia Awareness Week to make sure schools and parents understand the challenges young children with dyspraxia face.”
If you are interested in finding out more about Dyspraxia or the Foundation’s work, please visit their website at http://www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/.