The Difficulty Of Obtaining A Diagnosis And Support Across The World
Receiving support for dyspraxia can be difficult, and depending on where you are in the world can make that more challenging. It often feels like luck to receive an ample amount of support, like being in the right place at the right time.
We spoke with Karin who shared with us her lived experiences of finding support for her son while living in Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden and Austria.
Karin shared "Our son was diagnosed at the age of 8 with Dyspraxia DCD [While living in Singapore]." Karin first sought support for her son when "He started 1st grade when he was 6 and in the 2nd grade his teacher suspected ADHD and recommended us to get him checked."
The time it takes to receive a diagnosis varies, depending on case by case basis for a number of variable reasons. Unfortunately, there are no known statistics for this, however, Karin was able to share with us that it did take several months. "She had meetings with our son, attended lessons in school, talked to us parents individually and hade our son to do several tests. The psychologist saw immediately that our son needed fine motoric therapy and recommended a special Developmental Clinic."
When asked if she'd come across any obstacles that affected their ability to achieve a diagnosis or to have access to one; for example, did they have to speak to many different professionals, request second opinions and have to fight for schools to listen Karin said:
"We had no problem regarding the diagnosis nor the years of therapy that followed. We were most likely very lucky that we came to the correct persons right from the start."
"However, we had huge problems with the school. We informed the (new) 3rd grade teacher about the diagnose right from the start of the autumn term. The pupils had no homework during that time but should finish several tasks on their own during homework lessons in school. Only after the first term results, we found out during the parent-teacher conference, that our son never was able to finish his weekly tasks."
The teacher even stamped the task sheet with a “sad smiley face”-stamp with the text “Messy”. The term result was pass for almost all subjects (during the assessment, he took an IQ test which indicated IQ 135!). We had no luck talking to the teacher so we changed school to an IB School where the teacher knew about dyspraxia and was able to assist our son and he found school joyful again."
Services for young people can always be improved on, it's clear that support and awareness for neurodiversity's are vital and desperately needed.
"We got no support from his former school as the teacher did not want to see any problem with our son. I hope that the teachers in school are better educated on how to deal with kids with special needs."
We can confidently say many parents will relate with Karin's experiences when she said "I have also the feeling that Dyspraxia is not well known in the everyday society. When I started to explain the problems our son had, I got the feeling the people (teachers, doctors etc.) I spoke to thought I was “the Mother Hen”.
Watching your child struggle to navigate a world that isn't adapting to their needs can be extremely difficult. Constantly having to fight and advocate for them while trying to not let them see how difficult it is for you is hard. The last thing a parent wants is for their child to start questioning themselves. Especially when teachers don't seem to want to understand, they don't see how much it break them to see "messy" next to their work with sad faces while their peers get happy stickers and "excellent" next to theirs.
Karin shares some great words of encouragement to other parents "Don't give up! I found comfort in talking to other moms with children with similar issues. This was 10 years ago so I had to find the information through articles and books as Facebook groups did not exist."
Now there are many groups on FaceBook that can offer support, groups that we know of that welcome parents include: