“Directionally Challenged”…that is a phrase that once was used to describe me. I grew up directionally challenged. “Wrong-way Keogh” was a nickname jokingly coined by one of my high school coaches after I shot at the wrong basket during an exciting game. The following spring, I threw the discus into the crowd at a track meet. As an adult, my friends, and even my husband grew used to my misuse of left-right. My husband used to say, “Is that your right, or my right?” To which I would get flustered and look down at my hands, just to confirm which right I truly meant. Although I would not have been considered uncoordinated, I was considered clumsy and perhaps careless and at times a “bull in a china cupboard.”
It wasn’t just my directions that seemed discombobulated, at times my communication followed suit. I generally had important or worthwhile thoughts, though, so my college friends would jokingly chide me with, “wait for it, wait for it…” as I tried to bring my thoughts around to the point I was trying to make. I would lose track of the correct word and, not wanting to say the wrong thing, I would wait for my thinking to catch up with my mouth. It is like driving around a “round-about” but missing your exit and having to drive around the circle again and again.
These aspects of my life didn’t define me; they were just a part of my “idiosyncrasies.” I don’t know that anyone else truly noticed, but deep down they added to some insecurities that had lingered in my head from childhood. And even if these “things” did not bother anyone else, they did bother me. Finally, while at my very first training in the Davis© Reading Correction Methods, I was able to put a name to this lurking giant in my life –DYSPRAXIA!
Here is how it happened: Part of learning how to provide the Davis© Correction Methods is experiencing them for oneself, and when it was time for me to establish my optimum orientation point, I was lost. I was frustrated and nervous that all of my short-comings were going to be laid out on the table and I would be sent home –having failed because I was being asked to be “balanced” I had to balance on one foot while having my mind in the place for perfect orientation.
Oh my goodness! I won’t go into all the gory details, but I was certain I would never be able to find my perfect orientation, let alone balance on one foot! I left the training that day feeling deflated and sure I would be expected to leave. I went back to my hotel room and sat, and thought, and thought, and thought and to make a long story short I found it – my optimum place of orientation – using the Davis© Methods.
The next morning, I was so excited to continue the training…until we had to make the alphabet, in clay! Give me a pencil…any day, but clay?? So I set off on my alphabet, and was just fine, until I got to my capital M. I made it, like the model in front of me, but it did not feel right. I continued making letters, and then came to the capital W. UGH! I couldn’t help myself, and said aloud, “I hate M’s and W’s.” Lorna, our specialist commented, “Of course you hate them, you are dyspraxic.”
What is Dyspraxia?
I was in disbelief—ME?? Dyspraxic?? How could she know, and know so definitively? So she took me aside and laid it all out…Oh my goodness. My idiosyncrasies had a name!!! My natural orientation was off-center. I had spent my life (43 years) experiencing things just a “little off.” When you perceive the world at an angle you may have intellectual knowledge of a diagonal, but no true experience of one. Being asked to walk a straight line can be painful to watch. Trying to keep one’s mind on track and following a sequence is extremely difficult. And telling right from left without a model is nearly impossible!
Now, that I was no longer off-center, things were different. During my training, and subsequent practicums I was expected to use my optimum orientation. I got into the daily habit of checking to make sure I was “on” and intentionally placing myself in that place before I moved on with my day. And a funny thing started to happen. I found that I wanted to use my optimum orientation. When I put myself there, the world was clear. People understood me and I got things accomplished. I had a new confidence about me–and people noticed.
The biggest change that I felt though, was one of direction! I clearly remember being on the phone (something that in the past was a chore to be avoided at all cost!) and I was being asked directions. Here was a situation where I was being asked to relay oral directions over the phone, with absolutely no visual cues or landmarks for the person to reference!! And I did not hesitate! I confidently relayed that he needed to go north on highway 95 until such and such street, and then turn left and travel west until he reached … when I got off the phone I was so filled with amazement I cried! Nowhere in my memory was there a time that I was confident that I had given correct directions (without referencing my hands for right/left)!
By consistently using my Davis tools for optimum orientation, I have “corrected” the circuits in my brain so that my perceptions equal reality. And being directionally challenged (and my other dyspraxic characteristics) is a thing of my past.
For a list of adult characteristics of dyspraxia, visit Adult Symptoms of Dyspraxia
For more information about Davis Correction Methods visit Davis Methods.