May 01 2010

Joining the 4th estate

Category: UncategorizedMarcus @ 11:51 pm

In case people haven’t already seen it on Facebook, my letter about dyspraxia made today’s Guardian. So that’s what it’s like having an editor. I don’t usually bother writing to newspapers about anything but this was different. My own dyspraxia may not be particularly bad but I know what its effects are and I know a lot of people would like my combination of a good job and a very active life, even if they don’t have any kind of disability. I’ve done the crappy jobs in my time, including working in a mail room opening letters, night shifts packing shampoo bottles, sorting partly cured cow hides in a shoe factory, and sticking sanitary towels to leaflets for some kind of mail out for women to pour blue water over like in the adverts. Helps to keep you grounded knowing those kind of things exist but I’m in no hurry to do them again.

I suppose it takes a certain amount of confidence to write to a national newspaper and say you’ve got a disability. I noticed the introduction to my letter mentioned that they’d had a few other letters but they weren’t suitable for publication. Because of what I’ve been through and where I am now it feels a bit like I’ve got a responsibility to make people aware of dyspraxia and that having it doesn’t necessarily stop you from trying things. There’s a fair amount of information for kids with dyspraxia and for employees and employers at lower levels but not so much for higher level professional jobs such as mine. For example I wonder how many people realise that one good way of tracking tasks and remembering things is simply to use the features built into Microsoft Outlook. Most companies use it for email anyway so it’s not as if it’s difficult to get hold of.

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