11:28 am, Monday, 11th October 2021

Dyspraxia Awareness Week 2021

This week is Dyspraxia Awareness Week 2021.

This years awareness campaign is themed Primary and Secondary Education.

We are kicking off the week with dyspraxia tips and tricks for teens.

This advice has been shared by teenagers with dyspraxia, their parents and some of the professionals who work with them.

As each person with dyspraxia has a unique profile of strengths and challenges, the strategies that work will vary from individual to individual. We hope you find some new ideas here.

Read these ideas on getting dressed, personal hygiene, and organisation for school, college, and work.

There’s more to come so check back for teen tips on organisation at home, and in the kitchen, as well as hobbies and leisure activities, and writing and typing.

We will also be posting first hand accounts from local parents and children, and resources from the Specialist Advisory Service.

Getting dressed

  • Spills are less noticeable on patterned fabrics. Camouflage patterns are particularly good.
  • Avoid clothes with tight neck-holes as these are difficult to get on and off.
  • Choose trousers with deep, zipped pockets. Always keep the same things in the same pockets so you can check easily if you have everything you need.
  • Use a carabiner to attach important items (such as your keys) to your belt loops.
  • When tying shoe laces, use a ‘double wrap’ for the first knot. This is less likely to slip so that tying a bow is easier. There are lots of YouTube videos demonstrating different ways to tie laces – find the one that suits you best.

Washing and bathing

  • Use an ‘all in one’ shampoo/body wash to save getting confused by all the different bottles in the bathroom.
  • If you have a tendency to ‘daydream’ in the shower or bath, set a noisy timer to remind you to get out (or to move on to the next part of the task, such as rinsing your hair)
  • Putting on a towelling dressing robe when you get out of the bath/shower will help to dry parts of your body that are more difficult to reach. Sit down to finish off the other bits with a smaller towel as large bath-sheets are more difficult to handle.

Brushing teeth and grooming

  • A pump-action toothpaste dispenser may be easier to handle than a standard tube of toothpaste.
  • If you are fussy about the taste of toothpaste you may prefer a non-foaming non-flavoured variety, such as OraNurse.
  • If your balance isn’t great you may find it easier to sit down whilst brushing your teeth and hair.
  • An electric toothbrush may be useful. Just hold it on each tooth and work around your mouth for a great clean. Use a disclosing tablet once a week just to make sure you are cleaning them well.
  • Using a de-tangler hair conditioner or spray should make it easier to brush your hair after washing.
  • For lads, having some stubble is quite acceptable. Beard trimmers can be easier to use than a razor. For young ladies, an electric ‘lady shaver’ is good for legs and under arms.

Organisation for school, college and work

  • Get into the habit of making your lunch, organising your bag and checking your timetable the night before.
  • If you have to take something special with you to school/college/work, attach a brightly coloured sticky-note to the front door the night before to remind you.
  • Laminate and colour-code a small timetable and keep this to hand in your bag or jacket so that you can check it often. Matching the colours on your timetable to the colour of the exercise books used for that lesson will also help with your organisation.
  • Choose a bag that has external pockets. Always keep the same things in these pockets so that you can quickly check that you have the important things that you need, for example your planner and pens.
  • ‘Rucksack’ style bags that go over both shoulders are better for your posture and easier to manage than those that go over one shoulder and across your body. If you choose a bag with a quick-release strap, you could keep one shoulder strap done up and secure the second strap once the bag is on your back.

Join in with the conversation on social media with #dyspraxia21.

This content was originally published by Dyspraxia Foundation – 30th Anniversary | Dyspraxia/DCD Awareness.