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He was also experiencing problems at work and in organising his daily life.Two years ago, having finally passed his test at the fifth attempt, he was diagnosed with a condition known as dyspraxia.
They don’t use it as an excuse.” Laurence still has problems with a sense of direction: he uses a satnav even to get to familiar places and he avoids parking in very small gaps, saying he prefers a larger space “in order to bliss myself out and zone into it”.Laurence Roberts always had an inkling he wasn’t an average learner driver.During his first lesson, his instructor was surprised to see him trying to squeeze out of the car door, never having realised it could be opened wider.Yet driving is a key area of dyspraxic adult difficulty.It can cause problems with handling and manoeuvring the car as well as the ability to judge speed and distance. Many dyspraxics who are diagnosed as adults identify their disability through difficulty or reluctance in learning to drive, while others, like Laurence, are affected without knowing it.But the ability to drive gives him independence and improves his job prospects.
He believes greater awareness of the condition in general is key.
One dyspraxic teenager who was diagnosed young describes learning to drive off the road from the age of 13, knowing it would take her longer to master. I don’t think anyone else would have persevered,” Laurence says. Internet forums for dyspraxics have dedicated threads for drivers and learner drivers, many of whom have gone through multiple instructors before finding one sympathetic enough to teach them effectively.
Laurence, a former IT worker from Essex, says passing his test was due to the support of his driving instructor, whom he describes as a consummate professional who willed him on despite their mutual frustration. One woman’s instructor asked her bluntly: “Can you actually see?
There are a lot of “Daddy’s Girls” out there, but I am not one of them.
To define our relationship like that would misconstrue it; we were simpatico. I’d say it was bad experiences throughout school which probably made me much more accepting.
* For more information about dyspraxia, the diagnosis and treatments available and support for individuals and families, as well as advice for professionals, contact the Dyspraxia Foundation website or call its helpline on 01462 454986.