Dore: poor coordination can “spoil your life”

With their shiny redesigned website, Dore have added some discussion of the symptoms of various learning difficulties. Their discussion of the problems posed by poor coordination is especially…well, I’m struggling to think of a descriptor that’s suitable for a family blog.

Dore argue that:

When you’ve got problems with coordination and balance, some people might accuse you of not being ‘together’. You can understand that – you probably aren’t too good at catching, throwing or kicking a ball; you might not be able to ride a bike or drive a car and you’re all fingers and thumbs when it comes to performing everyday tasks. You might be clumsy too, tripping up, often knocking things over or breaking them.

That’s why Dore monitors your physical abilities carefully and gives you exercises that will improve the way you co-ordinate your movements. Over the course of the Programme, you will see a change, not immediately, but gradually, as those irritating ‘little things’ that blight your day no longer spoil your life.

This is an extremely unfortunate statement for Dore to make. I would emphasise that clumsiness need not spoil someone’s life. I’m dyspraxic myself and – while my lousy coordination means that I avoid writing work out by hand, and a career as a pro athlete was out* – I certainly would not say that this has spoiled my life. It’s sometimes annoying, but dyspraxic (and otherwise clumsy) people can live perfectly productive lives. Of course, everyone struggles to do certain things and one might argue, for example, that for example a tendency to carry out very bad research is a much more serious problem than poor coordination.

If there was a reliable, straightforward cure for dyspraxia – or poor coordination more generally – I would be slightly less annoyed about Dore’s position. However, many people will have to deal with these issues for their entire lives. It is therefore extremely important that people are encouraged to find good coping strategies – and to take advantage of the abilities they do have – rather than being told that issues with coordination will spoil their lives.

* Lack of commitment and a liking for pies may have played more significant roles, here.

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4 Comments

Filed under patrick holford

4 responses to “Dore: poor coordination can “spoil your life”

  1. brainduck

    Spending one’s childhood being put through a variety of time-consuming, annoying, boring, frustrating and ultimately pointless ‘cures’, which serve only to reinforce the idea that there’s something ‘wrong’ with you – well, that might tend to lead to a slightly less than well-balanced character, particularly when it comes to later tracking down those responsible.

    Still, I’m possibly only four standard deviations below population average on the crucial ‘throwing beanbags into shoeboxes with your non-dominant hand’ measure, rather than the six or so I might have otherwise been without years of practice. This has obviously made a vital difference to my quality of life.

  2. Yes – these ‘cures’ carry, at a minimum, an opportunity cost.

  3. It doesn’t seem very ethical to exaggerate a problem to sell a meaningful treatment, let alone a dubious one. The other worrying element, aluded to by brainduck, is the cost of growing up with something you are told is spoiling your life, but which refuses to improve. I can’t begin to imagine how frustrating that might be.

  4. It’s like a lesser version of the whole “autism is the worst thing in the world ever and an autistic child is basically as good as dead” message you get from the we-can-cure-autism people.

    Autistic people are not surprisingly a bit miffed at that.

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