A TEENAGER suffering from a misunderstood medical condition is on a mission to raise awareness of it.
Amy Moorhouse, of Lindley, has teamed up with national charity The Dyspraxia Foundation to talk about the condition, which leads to poor co-ordination and social skills and an inability to master everyday tasks.
The 17-year-old is keen to tell as many people as possible about living with the condition.
Although it affects thousands of children and adults, it is often misunderstood, with sufferers being unfairly labelled as stupid, naughty or disruptive.
To promote Dyspraxia Awareness Week, Amy contacted the Examiner to talk about her experience with the condition and the impact it has on her school life and friendships.
Dyspraxia can affect all areas of development, including intellectual, emotional, physical, language, social and sensory, and may impair a person’s normal process of learning.
Sometimes unkindly referred to as ‘clumsy child’ syndrome, it impairs the organisation of movement.
This can lead to problems with co-ordination and coping with simple day-to-day tasks, such as frequently falling over, difficulty walking up and down stairs, being poor at dressing, lack of spatial awareness, problems forming relationships and being prone to bullying.
Amy was diagnosed with dyspraxia when she was four, after having difficulty with everyday children’s tasks like reading and writing.
As she has grown up, she has learned to live with the condition, but she found it difficult to cope with when she was younger.
She said: “When I was younger it affected me a lot because I couldn’t do things that all the other children could do and I found it difficult to meet new friends because when I spoke to them they couldn’t always understand me.
“All of the children had never heard of dyspraxia and I had to explain it to them and how it affected me, but they still treated me differently because of it and that was hard for me.
“When I was younger there were lots of things I couldn’t do like other children. I couldn’t balance and I couldn’t read and write properly.
“There were lots of basic things that I couldn’t do. I couldn’t even tie my own shoelaces until I was 10.”
With the help of a physiotherapist and the support of her family and friends, Amy has got used to living with the condition.
The Huddersfield New College student said: “I still have trouble with writing and my balance and I can’t read a book – it also takes me a long time to do my coursework.
“I struggled doing my GCSEs, especially with maths and with English because I put my spellings the wrong way round. I also struggled with science, because I couldn’t do the experiments without someone helping me.
“I still have to have someone helping me with my work, but I am really enjoying college at the moment – I hope to work with children who have got special needs when I leave.”
Amy was inspired to raise awareness of her condition because her mum Kathy runs a support group for families affected by dyspraxia.
She said: “It’s not something that people have heard of because its not talked about, not like dyslexia which is talked about all the time, but it’s important that people do know about it because it affects a lot of people.
“I want to bring more awareness because there are more children out there who don’t know they have it.”