Will CBD oil help living with Dyspraxia?

Info graphic with benefits of CBD

Dyspraxia and CBD

What is CBD? What does it do? Will I get high? Will using CBD oil help living with dyspraxia?

These are just a few of the most commonly asked questions about CBD. Maybe not the last one but I personally have been using what is essentially a plant extract and a plant extract that helps a great deal in improving my concentration and reducing my anxiety levels.

I thought I’d take the opportunity to spread the word about what I think is a simple but wonderful thing and something that has impacted my life in a positive way.

What is CBD?

CBD is known a Cannabidiol and is one of 130+ cannabinoids that make up a cannabis plant. First off, it is not psycho-active which basically means that you will not get high. As of January 2017, it was recognized by the UK as a legal medicine and made widely available in health shops up and down the country. If you haven’t already started to notice it everywhere you turn, you will do soon.

What does CBD do?

Info graphic with benefits of CBD

Benefits of CBD

It has been reported that CBD has many medical benefits. It is known to, and I can provide a first-hand account of it, reducing sensitivity to light and pain, improving concentration and reducing anxiety. When I say reduce, managing anxiety is probably a better way of explaining it. There have been reports that it could help cure major diseases and go as far as to protect the liver from alcoholism and prevent seizures.

Will CBD oil help living with Dyspraxia?

I first noticed the difference after a sustained period of not taking the oil. After a number days without it, I noticed a spike in anxiety and a reduction in my ability to concentrate. I would recommend it to anyone and do so often, but I would encourage anyone with dyspraxia or any sort of spectrum-related condition to investigate the benefits of CBD.

Learn more, ask questions, give it a go.

Will I get high?

No. Not at all. And after consulting with a medical professional, there should be no reason why children, the elderly and even animals could not take it. I have honestly never come across anything that has impacted on my daily life as much as CBD. If you are wondering whether using CBD oil will help to live with dyspraxia, I think that it will.

How do you take CBD?

CBD is available in many forms, from tablet to oil/extract. I use the oil by dropping it directly under the tongue.

Does CBD oil help living with dyspraxia? I am not qualified to make any bold statements but It helps me a great deal and I feel as if I should apologize for not sharing that before now.

 

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Dyspraxia: Living as an Expat and Learning the Lingo!

Amsterdam houses - the dyspraxic chef - Living as an expat

It has been a while… and 2017 is nearing it’s inevitable demise. It has been a strange year living as an expat for the dyspraxic chef; and I have not been in the kitchen as much as I would have like to have been. I will return to the kitchen soon and hopefully the end product will be tastier than ever before.

For now…Living as an Expat

The topic I wanted to share was living as an expat and specifically learning a new language.  The lingo I am trying to get my tongue twisted around is Dutch. I have lived in the Netherlands a little over two years and baring the odd session on Duolingo or Lingohut, I have not really got on anywhere in terms of language building.

Living with dyspraxia and living as an expat throws up all manner of challenges. Coming from England most of the challenges you face living as an expat are made easy in the Netherlands. 99% of people speak English and are rightly proud of the fact they can. This is both positive and negative, it is easy to get by but it is almost too easy.

The best way to learn dutch Learning With DYSPRAXIA - the dyspraxic chef blog post Living as an Expat

A year ago or so, I applied for the free dutch classes that were available and waited for the course to start. Before the classes were to start, there was of course a process to go through. As is the case with most things when living as an expat.

Step 1.

Meeting to collect documents and take names: At this stage I mentioned Dyspraxia.

Step 2.

Learning test to decide which group I would go in (fast or slow).

I asked to go in the slow group but the test I completed misrepresented my learning ability and I was put in the faster learning group. This may sound stupid but this was the first test I wish I had done worse at; a short test is not representative of what would be a 3 hour lesson, twice a week.

I explained the dyspraxia situation and that a smaller group where the pace would be slower would be more suitable; but due to being University educated and a few good guesses on a test; it was the top group for me.

I was, however, determined to have a go so I took it in my stride and awaited the next step.

Step 3.

Sign a contract.

Step 4.

Start the classes: I tried my best to explain dyspraxia and the issues I, like many other dyspraxic’s, face when it comes to learning something new; even providing documentation provided by the Dyspraxia Foundation. There are two teachers and both were understanding about it, in fact, one of them spoke of how his brother had been considered as having  processing/sensory issues that sounded a lot like dyspraxia.

Back to school: Dutch Lessons Study- the dyspraxic chef blog post Living as an Expat

I try to attend each class with a positive outlook but that dissipates fairly quickly. The first few classes I managed to sort of keep up, but by the second half of the class, if not the second half of the first half; I was done.

Despite this, the classes are full of people who have varying levels of ability and they take place   twice a week for three hours a time. A part of me screams ‘what where you thinking?’ but a much larger part screams ‘it’s no reason not to give it a go’.

The matter has and is causing anxiety. I have missed a few classes due to working away which admittedly did not help the situation. Where I stand now is trying to catch up in my own time, which has its own challenges, and attempting to communicate with the school about the best way I can learn dutch moving forward.

The current set up is not productive at all. I fail to see how it can be for anybody else in the room either. The classrooms are outdated with bright lights and we spend most of the time nose deep into a text book. It is an understatement to say I have an issue with learning things, but there is a right and wrong way of learning. The teacher lamented that in his other classes, the students have access to computers. We are almost in the third decade of the 21st century and there is still so much we can learn about learning. I know that text books and bad lighting is not the way to go; I’d have just as much chance learning from slate.

More to say

I could go on about various aspects of the lessons. The stress, anxiety and general morale crushing process that it has at times felt like, but if you have any experience of learning with dyspraxia or of being around those that have, you will be able to fill in the blanks.

It is not all bad though, I occasionally understand what is happening in the class, and that makes all the difference, for that moment,.It makes me want to carry on. Like when golfers say they can spend hours swinging to hit barely anything but then they hit one sweet shot, that makes chase that thrill time again.

Don’t give in

I do not want to put fellow dyspraxic’s off learning a language. There are other neurological conditions at play for one; which is often the case with dyspraxia. I will not be giving up learning the lingo any time soon. If anything it has made me more determined to learn and to continue to ask questions about dyspraxia.

 

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The dyspraxic chef’s Top Tips For Food Hygiene

The dyspraxic chef's Top Tips For Food HygieneIt is one of the most important if not the most important part of cooking. Food hygiene. So here are The dyspraxic chef’s top tips for food hygiene and they will hopefully, make you more knowledgeable in the kitchen.

The dyspraxic chef’s Top Tips For Food Hygiene

  1. Use bactericidal soap to wash your hands

By having bactericidal in the soap you use to wash your hands with, it will kill the bacteria on your hands and enable you to keep the two most important utensils (your hands) clean. Take a little bit of soap and lather it in the palm of one hand, one it is sufficiently soapy, make a claw shape with the other hand and begin to gently scrub your fingernails in the palm of the soapy hand. Repeat this for the other hand.

  2. Cover cuts

Cover any cuts you may have on your fingers or hands with a waterproof plaster. This will prevent disgruntled dinners from finding blood and having bacteria in their food.

  3. Stay away if you’ve been sick

It might sound obvious but it can be extremely dangerous to everyone involved if someone has been cooking when recently ill. It is advised to stay away from food prep for 48 hours after the illness has passed if you have either sickness or diarrhea. Stay out of the kitchen and by a bucket and drink plenty of water.

  4. Pay attention to the temperature

Temperature plays a big part in food hygiene if food is kept at the wrong temperature it can cause all sorts of health problems.  For example, frozen food will go bad if not stored at -18c or lower and if meat or poultry are kept at 37c they become a breeding ground for pathogens and bacteria.

   5. Make sure it is cooked

Undercooked food can cause serious illness. Always make sure you pre-heat your oven or pan to the desired cooking temperature before cooking.  Follow cooking instructions carefully.Enough said on one.

For more information on food hygiene, there are lots of useful sites.  And if you live in the UK you can take an online qualification. The dyspraxic chef's Top Tips For Food Hygiene

Yours and hungry, 

the dyspraxic chef. 

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Dyspraxic cooking survey

First off, thank you from the dyspraxic chef to everyone that participated in the dyspraxic cooking survey and secondly. well done to all those dyspraxic’s who delve into the kitchen other than to drop an empty pizza box. Don’t worry if that’s you, with a bit of encouragement, anyone can cook.

The survey was put out there to try and find out about other adults living with dyspraxia and their kitchen adventures.

Dyspraxic cooking survey: The questions

It was not a scientific survey but I think the findings are insightful. The Dyspraxic chef wanted to know about the cooking habits and cooking ambitions of Dyspraxic people. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many get into the kitchen and how many actually enjoy doing so.

Dyspraxic cooking survey: The findings

Just over 55% of dyspraxic’s cook multiple times a week. The survey didn’t ask what kind of cooking is done, but that is an exceptionally high number for a group that have high tendencies to struggle with fine motor skills.

At the reverse end of the scale, just under 10% of those surveyed, never venture into the kitchen. 20% managed to rumble up some grub at least once a week.

The dyspraxic struggles

When asked what is the biggest challenge faced as a Dyspraxic in the kitchen, participants responded with very similar answers. The biggest challenge seems to be time management but motivation and inspiration rank highly, multi-tasking and organisation present obstacles as well for adults living with dyspraxia.

The survey highlighted that a lack of very basic fine motor skills is preventing a proportion of adults living with dyspraxia from cooking. Or at least preventing them from trying. I know first hand that at times cooking can be completely overwhelming, when it comes to dropping things and fire, (which ranked highly on the comments) so long as nobody is seriously hurt, you just have to laugh.

Encouraging Dyspraxic signs

Almost 66% of respondents wish they either could or would like to cook more often. 51% said that they would cook more often if they were provided with the support to do so. A statistic that could start a debate all of its own about the UK government’s stance on disability benefit.

Dyspraxic cooking survey: More questions need more answers

As with many answers come more questions. How many of the participants live alone? Do they have support? If 51%those surveyed would cook more often if they were provided with support maybe the 49% would be more inclined to do so if there was a clear idea of what support could be.

The big question for me is, what effect does a lack of cooking skills and support have on their wider health?

Dyspraxic cooking survey: Washing up

Asked on a scale of 1 – 10 how much dyspraxic’s hated the washing up, dyspraxic people gave surprisingly varied answers. But 30% say rated it between 7 – 9 out of 10 and 30% rated it ten. Much like myself on that one.

I always end up wet through one way or another.

Wet sock from washing the dishes | the dyspraxic chef

Yours and hungry.

The dyspraxic chef

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What is verbal dyspraxia and do I have it?

Why blog about verbal dyspraxia?

We all know the feeling, the word you’re trying to find is on the very tip of your tongue. For people living with verbal dyspraxia, it is a feeling they know only too well.

I decided to write this post because I didn’t know a lot, if anything, about verbal dyspraxia. So, I reached out to Mikey of Mikey’s Wish, who very kindly provided plenty of information about verbal dyspraxia. And that made me realise, I tick quite a few symptoms off the verbal dyspraxia symptoms checklist.

What is verbal dyspraxia and do I have it?

What is verbal dyspraxia and do I have it?

uhhhhhhhh?

First off, it is known by different names. In the UK, it is known as articulatory dyspraxia or developmental verbal dyspraxia. In the USA it is commonly known as apraxia of speech.

But to answer the question. What is verbal dyspraxia and do I have it? Verbal dyspraxia is a Neurological condition that prevents the forming of clear speech. And can often, but not always, overlap with types of global dyspraxia, making me think, maybe I do have it?

Verbal dyspraxia is a Neurological condition that prevents the forming of clear speech.

Does verbal dyspraxia affect food?

I have always had an issue with the texture of food. I still do, but my pallet for different texture is growing as I get older. But given that verbal dyspraxia affects the functioning of the month and tongue it must surely affect the way that the senses receive the texture and taste of food. I can’t help but reflect and think that the prison-like school dinners of the 1990’s did not help my relationship with the texture of food.

What is verbal dyspraxia and do I have it?school

The dyspraxic chef ask’s Mikey’s Wish

I asked Mikey (Mikey’s Wish raises awareness about verbal dyspraxia) about his relationship with food and he said he had no sensory issues with food and would try anything once. With me, it has to smell right and look right before I dip my fork into anything.

During our conversation, Mikey raised some important points about verbal dyspraxia. He highlighted the importance that our society puts on people’s ability to speak correctly and that people living with verbal dyspraxia in some cases require extensive speech therapy. Verbal dyspraxia shares some overlapping symptoms with other kinds of dyspraxia. These include but are not exclusive to, planning, processing speed, word finding, sequencing and it can affect the ability to read and write. This fast paced world we live in doesn’t always consider people that might need a little more time to process what is around them.

What is verbal dyspraxia and do I have it? Yes, I think so.

Through my research for this post, I have realised that I have had and still have some verbal dyspraxic tendencies. They are not what they were, but it certainly puts things in perspective considering I studied performing arts and broadcast radio. But it made me feel better about the times I struggle with speech. But as with the cooking, my learning about dyspraxia goes on.

A big thank you to Mikey’s Wish for helping with this post. Keep up the good work.

Yours and Hungry,

The dyspraxic chef.

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5 Top tips to get children with dyspraxia in the kitchen

For parents of children with dyspraxia deciding what to cook for them can be a challenge. And getting them to do the cooking, an even bigger one. Due to poor fine motor skills, children with dyspraxia might struggle in the kitchen. However, with practice, like most things, children with dyspraxia can getter better in the kitchen.

Here are the dyspraxic’s chefs top tips to get dyspraxic kid’s into the kitchen.

1.Get children with dyspraxia involved right from the off!

Let your dyspraxic child pick what they want to cook. Encourage them to start simple to build confidence and before long, they might be presenting you with a three-course menu. It might be easier for you to pick the menu at first. If your dyspraxic chef gets too excited you might end up with them picking something tricky. At first, try to keep it simple but exciting for your dyspraxic chef. Making a pizza is a fun and simple dish if you use a supermarket base.

2. Make a ‘special’ trip to the supermarket for children with dyspraxia

A trip to the supermarket can be a real challenge for adults and children living with dyspraxia.

If practical, make a list with only the ingredients for what you are trying to get your dyspraxic child to cook. Then make a special trip to the supermarket to get what you need from the list. This will take away the stress and boredom aspect normally associated with shopping by dyspraxics.

The Simpsons season 2 bart simpson lisa simpson episode 20 | Children with dyspraxia

As you shop, explain to them how you will cook the ingredients together and why you have chosen them. If they know why something is being bought, they are more likely to stay engaged.

3. Prepare the kitchen

Make a dedicated space for your dyspraxic chef. If the counter they use is clear and clean, they will engage when having to do the basic preparation. They might be some peeling and chopping to be done so make sure there is a clear space for that to be done in. Your dyspraxic chef will have to take their time with the preparation but it is good practice for the fine motor skills.

Children with dyspraxia might struggle with fine motor skills | the dyspraxic chef

4.Make it rewarding

If you dyspraxic chef in waiting is not excited by the prospect of cooking, offer a reward in exchange for some kitchen time. Before long cooking or baking will become the reward itself.

5.Encourage your children with dyspraxia

Use positive language throughout the cooking process. The slightest bit of negativity could have your dyspraxic chef back on the sofa demanding a frozen pizza. It can be frustrating for those around dyspraxics in the kitchen so please try to be patient with your dyspraxic chef and not take over the dish. Even if things are moving along slowly.

If you have managed to follow all these tips and you have your dyspraxic child in the kitchen then you have scored top points.

*And bonus points if you can get them to do the washing up afterwards.

The Simpsons bart simpson episode 17 season 20 kitchen

Yours and Hungry,

The dyspraxic chef

 

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5 signs of a dyspraxic food shopper

5 signs of a dyspraxic food shopper | the dyspraxic chef

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 | the dyspraxic chef

The dyspraxic food shopper is still looking.

Did you hear about the one with the dyspraxic and the last item of their shopping list?

No?

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 | the dyspraxic chef

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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Learning about Dyspraxia: Dyspraxia diagnosis

the dyspraxia test | the dyspraxic chef

I have read a lot recently about people’s individual experiences of growing up with dyspraxia and some about people finding out about their dyspraxia diagnosis later in life.

Mainly about their dyspraxia diagnoses and how it changed their lives. People from all walks of life have dyspraxia and the challenges they have faced are unique for the most part. I am currently reading the book Dyspraxic adults surviving in a Non-dyspraxic world. I would highly recommend it. Through reading it though, I have reflected on my experience, more so than usual, and I thought I would write about it.

Dyspraxia in childhood

As a child, I displayed many physical attributes of a child with dyspraxia. I in-toed dramatically, before that I didn’t crawl, I was poorly co-ordinated, with very little spatial awareness. My point is, if you had a checklist for dyspraxia symptoms, I’d have ticked the majority of the boxes. So it was pretty clear there was something ‘different’ about me.

Luckily, my parents were proactive about the situation and began the fight to have, whatever it was I had, acknowledged when I was young. That is another story; this one is about the ‘medical’ process I underwent to be diagnosed with dyspraxia.

Diagnosed with Dyspraxia

I was diagnosed after a lengthy process of scans, injections, samples, operations, more scans and even more scans. I was prodded and poked until I bled or cried. I will detail that at a later date.

The actual moment I was told by a medical professional I was dyspraxic was when I was maybe 8 or 9, I could have been older but not much.

So that would have been the mid 90’s, memba the 90’s? Memba The Spice girls, Oasis, Chicken drummers and a nation still reeling from a Thatcherite mentality? I memba. Member Berries GIF - Memberberries Member GIFs

I sat on the edge of a well-made bed in what I remember as an empty room, on a hospital ward. What I think was a young medic, maybe a doctor (at the time they seemed old, as all people over school age do to a child), they crouched before me to tell me that I have dyspraxia.

For someone of that age to be told such thing didn’t really make sense. I can’t be sure but I think I asked what that meant and how it would affect me. I remember the answer quite clearly.

“You’ll never ride a bike, tie your shoes, run, and jump, kick a ball or play like the other kids”.The Simpsons season 3 talking episode 17 3x17

Maybe not word for word, but that was the general sentiment of it. At that point I had endured quite a bit of physical pain to find out why I was ‘different’, but those words struck a worse blow than any of the tests I had undergone.

I wanted to cry, but I didn’t.

To reach that point, I had gone through a lengthy procedure. After a quick call to my Mum, it was confirmed that I was first taken to the Doctor at the age of 4 because I in-toed so badly my knees made contact. From then I was passed from pillar to post. From the physio to having moulds made for my feet, using some misguided notion that they help in any way what so ever. I had various brain scans, a muscle biopsy but what topped the lot was the test for nerve damage.

Now, people with dyspraxia may be under sensitive to touch. This could lead to people with dyspraxia to have a high pain threshold. The test for nerve damage is what they use to test for MS. I was nine when that happened. I recall the doctor saying “it’s ok to cry, must adults cannot cope with this.”

Dyspraxia Now

Living as an adult with dyspraxia, I don’t think I would change any of the things I experienced through my diagnosis. I can only speculate what my life would be like if I hadn’t been diagnosed as a child with dyspraxia.

For those who have gone and continue to go undiagnosed, I have tremendous empathy. Because life is no stroll in the park, the more information we have about ourselves, the better equipped we are for the world.

And for those that were diagnosed from a young age or at some point through formative education, I know only too well what struggles you may have encountered.

But ultimately, each dyspraxic’s experience is different and that should be celebrated. happy excited celebration minions cheer

Yours and Hungry,

the dyspraxic chef

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