I’m on my first practical driving test, on a busy street, less than five minutes from the test centre.
I slow down behind a car that has stopped at a zebra crossing.
I am prepared to brake when I am directly behind the car in front, the tester slams his foot on the brake “too close!” he informs me.
A very common symptom of Dyspraxia, sometimes nicknamed as Clumsy Child Disorder, is exactly that, we can be ridiculously clumsy at times. We can’t help it, our minds just aren’t as finely tuned as people without the disorders. These symptoms become especially worse under stress.
One side of this clumsiness is difficulties with depth perception; when you can’t quite tell how far or close something is from you. Take for example, I am sitting at dinner with my family, whilst paying attention to what someone is saying I reach out for my glass of coke, except it’s not as far away as I think it is so I knock it down with the back of my hand.
It got to a point where, because of my stress mixed with my bad depth perception I didn’t feel safe to drive leading up to my third driving test. I was in such a bad mental place, I had to cancel it and give up driving. I couldn’t focus, I was in a constant state of fear, I couldn’t even walk past the area where the test centre was without becoming quickly out of breath.
Being stressed can aggravate the symptoms of Dyspraxia. So, I decided that in order to finally feel safe driving, I would need to work on my stress regulation and confidence first.
Times like these can make you feel that Dyspraxia makes you less of a normal person, if you can’t even do this task that billions of people can do around the world, then what is wrong with you?
The Dyspraxic brain is certainly wired differently but, though it can take longer, we do have the capabilities to catch up with the rest of the world. Regardless of the problems with depth perception on my driving tests – in the comfort of my lessons I was doing well, I had the maneuvers down. Although my depth perception can be bad, my long term memory is good, in particular my visual memory. In fact, I can still remember how exactly to carry out each of the test maneuvers.
Whilst it may take me a little while to feel confident enough to get back into that driving seat; I am sure that with lots of preparation I can get my stress levels back under control. Whilst Depth perception and stress were only two of the reasons how my dyspraxia was affecting my driving, they also have the most potential to be regulated.
There is hope for this Dyspraxic driver!
Disclaimer: I do not own the Image attached to this blog