Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) or Dyspraxia is something I’ve struggled with my whole life and there are still some days now where I still struggle.
The difference is, DCD defined my whole childhood and teenage years. Since my diagnosis, everything was put down to DCD. I struggled with co-ordination, social cues, and the way I learned new information, all traits of someone with DCD. Up until very recently, I carried these things with me in shame thinking that these traits would be how people saw me and that was that. Until with some encouragement from my father I realised despite these things I have a lot of things I could be good at and traits that are positive that can be associated with DCD. Not only that, but I learned that DCD is not who I am.
Since then I’ve accepted these things about myself good and bad, most importantly being upfront about them. My attitude is yes, I have these flaws but this is what I’m good at, passionate about and can bring to the table, especially when it’s come to employment which admittedly has been my biggest struggle. As well as accepting these things about myself I have put in a massive amount of work on rectifying or conducting damage control on the things which I am able to. This means working on my organisational skills, social skills, and all-around attitude both inward and outward. I try not to battle with myself and put myself down for things I know are part of DCD and try outwardly to not let the anxiety and social awkwardness that comes with it affect me as much.
Despite it still presenting itself in aspects of my life, my DCD has not defined who I am and is not getting me down like it used to. A well-known trait of Dyspraxic people is their resilience, it has taken a lot of time to get where I am and it can only get better from here. Neurodiversity Awareness Week is important because I hope that it can get better for a lot of people like me or anyone with any similar disorder who struggle with being understood.
A lot of companies are improving their understanding of DCD and similar disorders and championing inclusivity, awareness and are making reasonable adjustments for neurodiverse people in their employment. Luckily I’m employed by a company who doesn’t see my DCD, they see my creativity, imagination, hard work and determination. I just hope others with my condition can find the same.
Today it has been reported that under new plans by the government, migrants from the EU and beyond that are considered “unskilled” will not be entitled to visas into the UK. Employers are being encouraged to focus on keeping staff instead of hiring ‘cheap labour’ which from the view of job progression for UK citizens looks to be a plus. But will it create job security or leave employers wanting for staff leaving gaps in industries?
A tweet on the subject from this morning read “I have a postgrad qualification. I have a mum with dementia in a care home. I could not do the “low skilled work” the carers show my mum & others in the unit. They are amazing people with a unique set of skills I cannot equal”. And she’s quite right, what quantifies low skilled work? And without anyone in the care industries or indeed, construction or surveying industries from abroad, can the British population fill the gaps the absence of workers will create?
Just because we have 1.29 million unemployed (as of December 2019) does not mean the gaps will be filled easily or that people want to do ‘low skilled’ work which can be construed as low paid. The difference is our unemployed want a livable wage. For people from low economy areas in the EU and beyond, our minimum wage is more than they’d expect in their own country.
Rejecting migrant workers who work hard at jobs we in this country take for granted, for example, fruit pickers would be detrimental. Though the job can be seen as tiring, having an early start and long hours, it provides us with nutritious food and is carried out in a wide-open space with fresh air. Unlike migrant workers, many would not see the benefit of working in this environment. And this is where the problem lies.
Particular sectors are taken for granted in this country and low paid doesn’t always mean low skilled. Fruit pickers aside, what about those who process food, prepare the food, cook the food? None of these jobs are unskilled by any means. Let’s revisit that tweet mentioned previously. Would you know how to care for someone with Dementia or other cognitive disorders? Would you know how to cut an animal carcass to separate the best cuts of meat? Would you know how to sort the meat by its quality? By disqualifying people with these skills, surely money will be wasted on hiring the 1.29 million unemployed in these sectors and training them to have the skill of someone from the EU or otherwise with this knowledge already?
In any case, the new points system appears to leave a lot to be desired, considering 21% of EU migrants are in factory and construction industries despite there being a need for a £23,000 salary minimum to gain points.
It can be argued that industries that pay workers minimum wage but are in high demand will struggle unless they increase their wage. In comparison, the point system states that a PHD is needed in a relevant field to the job or related to STEM, despite 9% of EU migrants being STEM professionals and 7% being STEM associate professionals which will generally be higher paid jobs but in less demand.
I recently wrote an article on the current situation pertaining to migration, specifically the Windrush generation and how everybody has the basic human right to liberty and personal security. You would think this includes the right to legal representation. However, to read today that not only will people be deported for petty or historic crimes without access to representation, but these people have lived in this country a majority of their lives is horrifying. Considering the fallout from the Windrush scandal is still resonating with a lot of migrant communities in this country, you’d think lessons have been learned by now. Yet here we are, deporting people on tentative grounds again. The move was made despite a court order citing mobile phone outages prevented the potential deportees from gaining legal counsel. Between not knowing how many have been ejected and how many are even under legal circumstances, it is astounding that there is such a blatant disregard for the lives of immigrants especially those from the commonwealth. To quote famed actor Hugh Grant in the past week it’s “hate actually”. The quotes were made regarding the MailOnline stating a black woman was only hired in a high up position at John Lewis to appear diverse, and he’s not wrong. Hate seems to be a somehow unifying factor considering not so long ago we relied on the same people we are persecuting to fill jobs and contribute to our economy. So what changed? How did the values of the Tommy Robinsons and his EDL cohorts become part of legislation and laws?
When a woman is raped, why should it be the first instinct to question her sexual choices/preferences or even her actions on the night in question? Time and time again, even in the cases of women dying from abusive partners using the ‘rough sex’ defence it’s always the woman’s fault. The #metoo movement is not enough without substantial change from both genders. In the case of the alleged rape in Cyprus, the people who were supposed to protect her questioned her moral integrity, instead of doing the right thing and bringing the suspected perpetrators to justice.
Moreover, why were these suspected perpetrators not scrutinised? Especially when some sources state that they received a heroes welcome back to Israel and there was the chanting of “The British girl is a whore” at the airport on their collection. You don’t have to be partial to any party involved to recognise that as odd or inappropriate behaviour under the circumstances. It could be construed as remorseless, or even guilty regardless of which side you stand on.
What is most disturbing about this case is the way the authorities treated the girl as automatically guilty and it can be argued, attempted to protect their own interests ie. the four million tourists that pass through each year. Prosecutors saw the girl write and sign a document retracting her report. According to the victim, this was under duress and without the presence of a lawyer. Not only that but the presiding judge seemingly ignored video evidence that a video found on the alleged perpetrators’ phones no less, that showed people trying to enter the room while she was having consensual sex with one of the men and her asking them to leave. Again, whichever side you’re on this seems to be a smoking gun.
All of the evidence aside there needs to be a point where women are just outright believed. Women in these situations are generally reluctant to go to the police in a regular rape situation let alone when you’re in another country and international agencies are involved. The rape in itself and the ensuing medical examination should be enough. Yet women have to endure the hoopla of trying to convince police they have actually suffered. Not only that but in this case, the price of reporting to police has left herself charged and fined. In 2020, we need to create a space where women feel empowered and safe coming forward about rape with no fines, consequences or even media circus as this one has.
Article three of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everybody has a right to life, liberty and personal security. Migrants from all over Europe, Africa and Asia have put, and are putting themselves and their families through hell in order to grasp this ideal. As basic as this right should be for everybody, regardless of race, creed, or religion they clearly do not find it in their own countries otherwise, why would they go through all that trouble? People in these areas suffer from poverty, corruption, persecution, (genocide in some) or generally want a better life for themselves.
The Italians, Spaniards, Irishmen and other migrants to America got their “American dream” in the 1930s and ’40s. They lived relatively normal lives building their communities in pursuit of their dream of a better life. After all, people from all over had already been living in America since the 1800s. What are these modern migrants doing that are any different?
The Windrush generation came to this country to work on our railways, in our hospitals, drive our busses and more. They built lives here, married, had children – whole communities were built here by their generation. They wanted their part in the dream of a better life for themselves and their children and by the very definition of the act in the declaration, they absolutely have the right. Even if they are not being persecuted in their own country or their personal security is not at risk, they have a right to try and better their lives. Maybe there are no appropriate opportunities where they come from, maybe there is abject poverty, or they just want a better education for themselves and their children.
Those who do come here to train as nurses and doctors and other medical professionals not only better themselves and the living standards of any possible children they may have or will have, they improve the country and society.
It can be argued that although the number of nurses registered have remained about the same there is still not enough to cover the amount of people needing medical care. Stats have shown that in the past 10 years 17,000 hospital beds have been cut.
Myriam Cadinouche came to the UK to study for her PHD and was instead, wrongly accused of being in the country illegally. Her passport was seized along with her documents. This caused her health to decline meaning she did not have the means to carry on with her studies after the error was rectified. It seems that without just cause, vulnerable members of society are targeted and suffer ordeals which in some cases could lead to deportation.
These are the ones who come over here with a dream. What about the ones who come out of pure desperation, the ones who will suffer if they remain in their own country? These are the people most at risk. They would rather risk life and limb, cross cold choppy seas in rubber dinghies than suffer the consequences of being in their country of origin.
They would rather be trafficked in a shipping container and made to work long hours for less than this countries living wage. Think about that for a second. Think about a person in this country maybe yourself or someone you know who is on minimum wage. Now imagine getting half or less than half of that. Would you give everything up or risk everything to make a better life for yourself? This creates a situation where predatory gangs exploit these people’s desperation and make a profit from people’s lives. Recently, 39 Vietnamese people were found dead in a shipping container having just entered a port in Essex. The driver was found guilty of manslaughter, human trafficking and immigration offences. Justice was served for the poor victims families with his conviction however will this affect the gangs on the other end of the trafficking? They will surely keep sending people no matter how many lose their lives trying.
Employment isn’t easy for neurodiverse people for a number of reasons in general, the more so depending on the type of condition they have. Neurodiverse people can struggle with audio, for example loud noise, or discourse and being able to tell someone’s social cues and body language. Personally, I find it a miracle when I have a day where I can stand up without falling over myself or tripping over inanimate objects. Thankfully, since I’ve been in employment there has been a lot of conversation about aspects of neurodiversity such as Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and Dyspraxia
All of these fall under Autistic Spectrum Disorder (or ASD) this can mean one person can show symptoms from different disorders. For example, I myself have difficulty with eye contact and recognising facial expressions, tone and inflection of speech. These can be attributed to somebody with Aspergers syndrome, however I also do not like change in plans or routine or loud sudden noise which can be associated with Autism. These are the least of my worries! All of these difficulties can also be encompassed in a diagnosis of Dyspraxia.
As a child Dyspraxia for me meant my handwriting wasn’t as neat as it should have been, I was falling over constantly and had no idea when to put my hand up in class! As a teenager and young adult, it’s meant my organisational skills are nowhere near where they should be and I still struggle with social interactions. Despite all the talk and awareness going on while I was working from the age of 16 this seems to be lost on employers. I can see it from their point of view it’s a lot of hoops to jump through for one person who might then decide the job isn’t for them. However, let me emphasise the benefits of having a neurodiverse employee. Despite our flaws people with ASD tend to be passionate, creative, and resilient. I will go out on a limb and say that you will not find a person with more drive.
While working I’ve encountered miscommunications, being misunderstood by my employers leading to struggles to explain why these miscommunications happen and eventually having to leave employment due to anxiety this creates. It is a horrible thing to be constantly misunderstood and to be fair some employers tried to be helpful. While working in a call centre my manager saw how anxious and stressed I was getting when not being able to communicate well with clients and not being able to cope with a high pressure environment. He encouraged me to put the client on hold if I needed, ask a colleague or manager to take over and get some fresh air or a glass of water. Unfortunately, the difficulties Dyspraxia created for me were overwhelming and I had to leave that role. As much as they tried to help the best they could, based on the information on Dyspraxia I gave in my disclosure statement I give to every potential employer, there was still a disconnect when it came to upper management even as good as the floor managers were.
So, I was planning on giving up on employment entirely, my morale was lower than it had ever been (even more than when I moved 300 miles away from home) and then something changed. I’d managed to pull myself up enough to start job hunting again. I managed to secure an interview with a law firm, Morgan Wiseman Solicitors. I was surprised because it was on the off chance they’d even look at my CV twice let alone read my disclosure statement and not run a mile. So I received a call saying I’d got the job and I was excited mixed with apprehension from previous experiences but to my surprise I was completely wrong to be apprehensive. Since being at Morgan Wiseman Solicitors I’ve been listened to, understood, I finally feel like a cog in a machine and not a faceless drone. I have been made to feel like I matter, that my ideas and thoughts are valid and that I can ask for help without feeling like a nuisance. Between that and a lot of personal work on coping mechanisms throughout the year I feel like my Dyspraxia is no longer like a devil on my shoulder but just a part of me that I can accept and that Morgan Wiseman Solicitors accept about me. To me they have proved that it’s just a little understanding that goes a long way when it comes to employing a neurodiverse person.
Domestic Abuse is usually something that people find hard to talk about. This didn’t seem to be the case at the Cambridge City Council and Hertfordshire County Council events this week. The rooms at the Guildhall and the Offley Place Hotel respectively were packed to the rafters with professionals from all areas of business, local councils, private and public sector. The most powerful thing and possibly surprising to those who do not work in the domestic abuse sector is among the attendees were indeed men. After all 40% of men are affected by domestic abuse and it can be argued that domestic abuse cannot be completely eradicated without the support of men and women alike.
Lots of buzz in the room as we prepare for the #HertsDA19 conference today! Looking forward to sharing knowledge and expertise and hearing from some great speakers @JoanneBeverley6 @ACR_Trust pic.twitter.com/DQDLYmDQfO
— Hertfordshire County Council (@hertscc) November 27, 2019
Among those men attending the Cambridgeshire City Council event, four of them from different areas of business, were White Ribbon Ambassadors. Again this is hopefully a sign of the times that women will no longer be fighting the fight against domestic abuse alone. Also a surprising feature of the Hertfordshire County Council event is that a portion of the conference was dedicated to domestic abuse in the LGBT+ community. If domestic abuse is an area that not a lot of people talk about, a lot less is spent talking about abuse in LGBT+ relationships and it is encouraging that not only is it being included in the conference, it had its own workshop given by a representative from Galop, which is an LGBT+ anti violence charity.
Attending both conferences is a sure sign that not only is there more conversation about domestic abuse awareness and prevention, but that this conversation is reaching all corners of domestic abuse as a whole. There is more understanding of not only different types of abuse,
whether financial abuse, coercive control, or sexual abuse and who it affects, and how we can tailor support, guidance and legal help to them.
— Morgan Wiseman Solicitors (@MorganWisemanS1) 27 November 2019
Morgan Wiseman Solicitors and Café Zandra’s join forces for victims of domestic abuse
Local legal aficionados from the Domestic Abuse Alliance (DA Alliance) at Morgan Wiseman Solicitors (MWS) have banded together with a local coffee shop to provide support for victims of domestic abuse. The scheme allows the victims to come forward in a safe environment to discuss their concerns with a legal professional over a complimentary cup of coffee.
The idea comes through a bid to join and build on the dialogue around domestic abuse and to raise awareness of the plight. The scheme aims to support victims by offering free walk-in consultations in order to identify their best course of action. This also follows on from an article published by Bedfordshire Police highlighting the links between summer holidays and an increase in domestic abuse incidents.
Launching the scheme, Sahiel Shoeb, Head of Operations at MWS said: “Domestic abuse is an unacceptable fact. Beyond providing legal services we are always looking for new ways to encourage victims to come forward and talk. Zandra’s is our local coffee shop and the idea of a free consultation and a cup of coffee in relaxed surroundings, we hope will reassure victims.”
“The idea to use coffee to bring people together is a great way for victims to come forward without fear. I really hope that together we can change people’s lives by helping them to get out of a bad situation”, added John Duncan, owner of Café Zandra’s.
As a member of the Bedfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership (BDAP) the DA Alliance is committed to supporting the dialogue and raising awareness to fight domestic abuse.
BDAP is a partnership that brings together key agencies in Bedfordshire and works closely with local authorities to help provide services in and around the local areas to improve local response to domestic abuse.
Notes to editor
- Morgan Wiseman Solicitors is based at 66-68 Alma Street, Luton, LU1 2PL
- The total number of domestic-abuse related offences in the year ending March 31, 2018 across Bedfordshire stood at 5561
- Victims or agencies can contact the DA Alliance via:
- Walk-in: 66-68 Alma Street, Luton, LU1 2PL
- Telephone: 0800 1017 110
- Email: email@example.com
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