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Dyspraxia- “is It A Battle Of The Sexes?”

The team at Trinity PR is honoured to be working alongside the Dyspraxia Foundation for the launch of its awareness week for the third year running (although we first worked with this fantastic charity back in 2007!)

This year’s campaign has focused on gender divisions in diagnosis of the condition. A nationwide poll commissioned by the Dyspraxia Foundation, reported that over half (53%) of all female respondents said that their primary school teachers were unaware of their difficulties (compared to just 39% of the males questioned). 47% of teenage girls reported the same situation in secondary school, as opposed to 32% of males.

Experts from Foundation believe such findings may reflect teachers’ perceptions of dyspraxia as a largely “male” disorder, leaving girls often overlooked in the classroom. It may also be possible that girls with dyspraxia are simply better at masking their difficulties by putting in extra effort and recruiting the assistance of friends to help them cope.

Worryingly, this discrepancy is also leading health and education experts from the Dyspraxia Foundation to believe that many girls are clearly not being referred for diagnosis at a young age and are therefore unable to access the support they need in order to reach their potential.

Once cruelly and incorrectly referred to as ‘clumsy child’ syndrome, dyspraxia (or development co-ordination disorder, DCD) is a common disorder affecting fine and /or gross motor coordination, in both children and adults.

Many individuals may also experience difficulties with memory, perception and processing, along with poor planning, organisation and sequencing skills which can have a significant, negative impact on everyday activities. Dyspraxia can also affect articulation and speech.

Sally Payne, Paediatric Occupational Therapist and Trustee of the Dyspraxia Foundation told us; “This campaign has really underlined a pattern we’ve observed for some time and whilst the results do reinforce a concerning trend of many girls sliding under the radar of relevant healthcare professionals, it does allow us to push on with plans for developing specific materials, tools and resources for girls and adolescents as well as for their parents and teachers.”

These issues will be presented to a wide audience of supporters, MPs, education and healthcare experts and families affected by dyspraxia at the Foundation’s annual Parliamentary Reception, which be held at the House of Commons on Wednesday 14 October.  Amongst the guests will be two of the charity’s most loyal and high profile supporters, Emma Lewell-Buck MP and award winning singer, Jamie Lambert from the group, Collabro. Both Emma and Jamie have been diagnosed with dyspraxia but, as their personal success in their chosen careers shows, neither of them have let the condition hold them back or stopped them from achieving their dreams!

Although, interesting, Jamie was diagnosed at 14 and Emma at 27. Proof that the gender gap still needs to be addressed……?

PS – don’t forget to get funky this Friday (16th) with the Dyspraxia Foundation’s fab fundraising initiative, Funky Friday. For more details just go to:

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