A young Leeds man whose schooldays were blighted by a condition that affects his co-ordination is the star of a new video made to raise awareness of the disorder.
Joe Ruane, now 23, has dyspraxia, which meant he struggled with classroom tasks such as copying notes, carrying out presentations and taking part in games while a pupil at Cardinal Heehan Catholic High School.
Joe, from Weetwood, was diagnosed at the age of 15, and has now teamed up with young people’s charity Fixers to shoot a Youtube video which illustrates classic dyspraxic traits. He hopes the project will help to educate teachers and parents about the condition.
The short film was shot at the Grammar School at Leeds in Alwoodley.
“I wanted to raise awareness of dyspraxia, but because it’s such a broad condition I felt I needed to narrow it down. Looking back through my life I realised it had affected me the most at school, so my film focuses on that,” said Joe, who is now an office manager.
“Keeping up in class could be a struggle for me. When I needed to copy down notes I felt like everyone else was light years ahead of me. I was scared to ask the teacher for help in case it made me look stupid in front of the class.
“I wasn’t very good at PE and struggled getting ready for those lessons - things like getting dressed and tying my shoelaces can take forever.
“I needed more help with my exams and coursework – I was given extended deadlines and extra time during my GCSE exams.”
Joe was labelled ‘clumsy’ by people who did not understand dyspraxia, and often found his condition was confused with dyslexia.
“My dyspraxia has helped me think outside the box in certain situations and I’m pretty good with computers and technology, which helps me in my current job.”
“I hope that teachers will see it so they can help students who have symptoms of dyspraxia and I hope the film will help young people with the condition as well.
“I know that myself and many other people with dyspraxia can excel in life with just a little help and accommodation.’
Fixers works with young people aged 16-25 across the UK by providing them with resources to help them campaign on issues they feel strongly about.