To be a dyspraxic chef you have to be a dyspraxic food shopper. Now, let it be known to Man, Woman and Beast that I like cooking, but I do not like to shop. Each time I set off to the supermarket I forget the anxiety that food shopping brings. The stress of all the sensory information in a supermarket is enough to cause an adult living with dyspraxia’s blood pressure to rise.
So, the next time you’re in the supermarket look for these five signs of a dyspraxic shopper.
1. The dyspraxic food shopper looking for a list:
You don’t have to be an adult living with dyspraxia to be guilty of this one. But it helps. As an adult living with dyspraxia, I find making a list helps to calm myself and organise the task ahead. More often than not a dyspraxic shopper will spend more than a few minutes looking for their shopping list, before realising it has been left on the kitchen counter. Considering the technology we all tend to have available, writing a paper list and then losing it, seems rather counterproductive. Once the shopping list has been lost so has all logic of the supermarket. The dyspraxic shopper without a list is prone to indecision on a level unknown to ordinary shoppers.
2. The dyspraxic food shopper wearing headphones
Again this is not an exclusive club for adults and children with dyspraxia or other neuro diverse conditions. But from personal experience and reflection, I have found that I am a lot less stressed by the whole process than I am without music blaring through the tiny head speakers. If I shop with a frog on the run then I tend not to have headphones, I then quickly become irritated and before long I am wondering the shop without a clue as to why I am there.
3. The dyspraxic food shopper is looking for what is in front of them:
The dyspraxic food shopper is still looking.
Did you hear about the one with the dyspraxic and the last item of their shopping list?
They are still looking for it.
Cue the applause: Clap Clap
On a serious note, though, sometimes living with dyspraxia can feel like not seeing what is right in front of you. And when an adult living with dyspraxia is in the supermarket, that can become quite literal. I have found myself on many occasions searching for one ingredient determined to find it, but too stubborn to ask, only to find it where I have been stood for 25 minutes or to finally ask and to be told it is out of stock.
4. The dyspraxic food shopper has a basket full, with more than is possible to carry:
Often, probably due to a sensory overload I find myself with a basket full and only two hands to carry it with. After a stressed out shop, if you follow an adult with dyspraxia (in a non-creepy way) you will see them struggle all the way home. People with dyspraxia tend to have weak muscle tone, making carrying a large amount of shopping any kind of distance tricky.
5. The dyspraxic food shopper will be making awkward small talk after immense fidgeting:
Look at the queue the next time you are in the supermarket and you might just see a dyspraxic shopper fidgeting in anticipation of the end of a shopping nightmare. I don’t think I can contribute my immense fidgeting to dyspraxia alone. An Occupational therapist suggested that I was also ADHD. After the fidgeting, awkward small talk may arise while indecision on whether to make eye contact with the cashier ravages the dyspraxic brain.
A child ‘acting up’ may have a neuro diverse condition
In a supermarket, you come across all walks of life, people from very different environments, with very different needs. Shopping can be a stressful experience for adults and children living with dyspraxia. The same can be said for many neuro diverse people, as they get older they will develop coping mechanisms but spare a thought for children who are yet to develop them. The next time you see a child ‘acting up’ or an adult behaving like an ‘ass’, there may be more to it than meets the eye.
For information about dyspraxia visit the dyspraxia foundation.
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