A – Z of Living with Dyspraxia M is For

A – Z of Living with Dyspraxia M is For          A - Z of Living with Dyspraxia M is For

M is for motor coordination

Did you see the dyspraxic catch the ball?

Probably not.

Well, I have to contradict myself there, I am quite good at catching, especially for a dyspraxic. I put that down to practice and anticipation because when it comes to throwing I am terrible.

What is motor coordination?

According to Wiki motor co-ordination is a combination of spatial movements and physical parameters, and motor coordination occurs when, for example, several body parts or limbs move simultaneously in an efficient and smooth manner towards an intended goal.

That is all good and well for the majority of the population but when living with dyspraxia, it is common for people to have poor motor coordination, resulting in ‘clumsiness’.

Walking in a straight line without tripping is an achievement some days and other days just a pipe dream. Please don’t underestimate how difficult it can be to stay upright and mobile as a person living with dyspraxia.

No complaints here, not many anyway.

I would like to make clear that this is not a complaint. I should put that as a disclaimer, because despite the challenges faced as an adult living with dyspraxia, with fine and gross motor skills; I am grateful to be healthy.

It is funny most of the time, there have been a few concussions that I would have preferred to avoid but on the whole, the bumps, trips and slips have been the source of a good laugh.

Playing darts is a laugh. Just ask my friends. I was accused of trying to break the board because I throwing the darts so hard.

Motor co-ordination can also cause issues in the kitchen, which I have documented. It is probably one of the hardest things about cooking with dyspraxia because the better your motor co-ordination is, the easier it will be for you to cut, peel and chop things in preparation.

M is for motor coordination because not everyone appreciates how much affect it has on our day to day Life, especially when it comes to people living with dyspraxia.

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A – Z of Living with Dyspraxia E is for

A – Z of Living with Dyspraxia E is for Emotions    

 

Increasingly, there is an encouragement for people to discuss their emotions and mental health, in particular men, but there is still a large stigma attached to emotional well-being.

It is common for dyspraxia to overlap with various mental health and neurological conditions. Which only makes things more complex when trying to find that healthy life balance.

Although you don’t have to be living with dyspraxia to be anxious or emotionally unwell, non – dyspraxic’s may have better inbuilt coping mechanisms with which to regain health.

Stress

Failure to deal with stress and anxiety can cause a sense of being overwhelmed. A feel which will be familiar for dyspraxic’s the world over due to sensory overload. Not being able to fully process an event when it is taking place leads to later process and quite often in my case, over thinking or over reflecting an event.

Dyspraxic tendencies

I feel that, when I have faced any periods of emotional or mental unwellness, my dyspraxic tendencies increase or at least appear at their worst.

I think, and it is just my opinion backed by no medical evidence but just through my own living, that sensory overload and an inability to process information, later becomes a burden on the mind. Pair that with over inward reflection and it leads to problems with the mental state and well-being.

E is for emotions because it is not about being happy all the time, it is about finding a balance.

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A – Z of Living with Dyspraxia D is for

A – Z of Living with Dyspraxia D is for

D – is for diet   

Eating a well-balanced diet is half the battle when it comes to staying healthy. Living with dyspraxia is no different. Many of the things that an adult living with dyspraxia might have issues with can be improved or aided by a well balanced healthy diet.

As stated many times over, the dyspraxic chef has a keen interest in a healthy diet. It was not by choice however, it was driven by allergies and intolerances.

Living with dyspraxia

Living with dyspraxia presents at least one obvious obstacle and that is the way food tastes and feels. I have a great deal of issues with texture and that is common amount adults living with dyspraxia due to many dyspraxics being very tactile.

That can make it hard when you consider some of the foods that this affects. For example, I was informed that dyspraxics suffer from a potassium deficiency, a great weapon against that are bananas but I can’t eat them. I can’t stand the texture, “so blend it into a smoothie”, yes but the texture of that is just as bad.

D is for diet because living with dyspraxia can present difficulty when trying to eat a balanced diet.

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A – Z of Living with Dyspraxia C is for

A – Z of Living with Dyspraxia C is for

 

C – is for cooking          

This one is an obvious choice for the dyspraxic chef but cooking plays a big part of life when living with dyspraxia. And that is whether or not as a person living with dyspraxia actually cooks.

According to a survey recently conducted by the dyspraxic chef, there is a relatively high number of dyspraxic’s that cook but they face a number of challenges. Many have the desire to cook but lack the support. I know that without the support of my sous chef the frog, I would struggle, she keeps me on track and on time.

Cooking has a big effect on life when living with dyspraxia, I face many challenges and one of my main drivers to cook is the fact that I blog about it.

The motivation to cook is often lacking along with the inspiration. Then there are the practicality’s of cooking, Chopping, washing, adding, stirring, issues with time management and concentration. Sometimes it is a wonder I have food on my plate once I have been in the kitchen.

I should add that I think there are positives to living with dyspraxia and cooking. I think dyspraxic logic is my secret kitchen weapon. On many occasions, I offer practical advice when in the kitchen with non-dyspraxic’s, that they have simply not thought of.

C is for cooking because love it or hate it we can’t avoid it and living with dyspraxia can make it harder than it needs to be.

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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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Delicious Dyspraxic Chicken Jalfrazi

Dyspraxic chicken jalfrazi, doesn’t that sound delicious?  I may have mentioned this before. One thing I miss about England is the food.  In particular, I love curry and pretty much any curry, but when my Dutch friend Imran invited me to his place for a chicken jalfrezi, I offered my services as dyspraxic sous chef services and he duly accepted.

Dyspraxic menu | dyspraxic chicken jalfrezi

Dyspraxic chicken jalfrezi is on the menu tonight and here is what you will need.Dyspraxic Chicken jalfrezi ingredients | the dyspraxic chef

  • jalfrezi spices/powder
  • half a cup of oil
  • rice
  • peppers and onions
  • yogurt
  • tomato puree
  •  Chicken or cheese

What to do | dyspraxic chicken jalfrezi

To make it easier to read, I will bullet point all the dyspraxic action it will take to make this delicious dyspraxic chicken jalfrazi.

  • Slice chicken and remove all fat (be patient and take plenty of time) * top tip – use sharp clean scissors
  • add the chicken to a bowl of water to clean
  • marinate the chicken in spices and yoghurt
  • Cook the chicken in a pan with half a cup of sunflower oil on medium high heat
  • prepare the rice to boil
  • Take the chicken and add the puree and add more spice if needed
  • chop and add the veg (be patient and take plenty of time) 
  • Leave the pan on a low heat for around 20 minutes.

As always, there is no need to stick to the recipe for dyspraxic chicken jalfrezi add and remove as you see fit. Leave to cook on low heat with the key to knowing it is cooked it when the chunks of onion have separated and are soft.

Dyspraxic sous chef

I got off lightly today with the cooking, I did some slicing, which involved all its usual issues. But, I did learn how to make a dyspraxic chicken jalfrezi, which I am sure I will be eating again very soon.

Too hungry to take a picture

I got that excited about eating, I forgot to take a picture. I know it seems to be the trend to picture food and not one I love, but this is a cooking blog.  A true dyspraxic moment. Here is a picture of an empty pan. Dyspraxic Chicken jalfrezi empty pan | the dyspraxic chef

It was delicious, though, so a big thank you to Imran for accommodating the dyspraxic chef.

Yours and Hungry,

the dyspraxic chef.

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Dyspraxic Lunch Time Snacks: Tasty Toasty’s

Dyspraxic lunch time snacks can be quick and easy to make. At different times everyday adults living with dyspraxia the world over sit and ponder the same thought. What shall I have for lunch? I have on more than one occasion gone without eating lunch because I either can’t muster the motivation to cook or I simply can’t decide what to pop in the pan.

Dyspraxic Lunch Time Snacks

This one is a tasty, tasty toasty and you can have it ready in very little time. And best of all, it takes very little effort to make. Dyspraxic’s can be over or under sensitive to taste and texture and I am no different. That’s why I love making this tasty dyspraxic lunch time snack. It is so refreshing, the ham and cheese give it the savoury edge and the pineapple explodes with a fruity juiciness that gives you the refreshing lift you need with a dyspraxic lunch time snack. And the best thing about

And the best thing about pineapple is, that it has many health benefits, including a healthy dose of potassium. As a child living with a dyspraxia, I was told dyspraxic’s have a potassium deficiency. Which makes pineapples a winner in my books.

How to do it

Dyspraxic lunch time snacks can be really quick and easy to make. Just take two slices of bread lightly toast them, then place a pineapple ring or chunks on each piece and then place enough cheese on the bread to cover it. Place them under a grill or pop them on a frying pan on a low heat and let it melt the cheese until you are happy.

What you will need

  • Two slices of bread
  • Ham or topping of your choice

    Ingredients for tosti | the dyspraxic chef | Dyspraxic Lunch Time snacks

    Dyspraxic lunch time snacks

  • Two or three slices of cheese
  • Tinned pineapple slices (you can use fresh but for dyspraxic’s you might be there a while)

Oven gloves are your friend

Remember if you are using the grill, oven gloves are your friend and treat them as such to avoid any nasty burns.

Once the cheese has melted enough for your preference, grab the oven gloves and carefully pull the grill and place them on a plate.

Then tuck in.

Ham, cheese and pineapple tosti | the dyspraxic chef

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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Dyspraxic Jacket Spud with cheese and beans

Dyspraxic Jacket Spud

Dyspraxic cooking presents the dyspraxic chef with two big problems and they are 1. finding the motivation to cook (hunger is not enough) 2. finding practical things to cook. (My imagination can run wild.)

The motivation for this one was home sickness more than anything. Although living away from home, you miss friends and family but I think its the food I pine for the most.

On the menu | Dyspraxic cooking

Living with dyspraxia can make it difficult when it comes to dyspraxic cooking, so my advice is, where possible keep it simple. And this Lancashire staple does just that. Jacket potatoes with cheese and beans is a quick and simple way for an adult living with dyspraxia to cook a lovely warm meal on a cold winters afternoon.

What will you need

  • Beans in tomato sauce
  • Potatoes
  • Cheese
  • Salt and pepper

How to do it

When it comes to dyspraxic cooking, nothing is simple. The creation of this one is straightforward enough, it is just a case of boiling things. It is the quantity that I get wrong with the simple ones.  I was serving myself and the frog. I cooked enough spuds but not enough beans for two.

One pan is needed for the spuds. Wash the spuds to make sure they are clean, you will leave the skin on them for this one (No need for that pesky peeling). Fill your pan with water and spuds, put it on a low heat and leave to boil. In a second pan place a tin of beans but wait before cooking as they will only take a few minutes.

When you can cut through the spud like you can cut through butter with a warm knife then you know it is time to warm up those beans.

What’s on that plate?

Tasty, tasty food, that’s what. A fairly quick and simple dish that should stave off the snacking until tea time. There was no stress with this dyspraxic cooking, just food. Dyspraxic Jacket Spud | the dyspraxic chef | dyspraxic cooking

Yours and Hungry,

The dyspraxic chef 

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Dyspraxic Thai Curry | dyspraxic cooking

Mixing ingredients | dyspraxic cooking | the dyspraxic chef

On the menu, is the dyspraxic chef’s attempt at a green Thai curry. I say attempt because it is dyspraxic cooking and I did not stick to a traditional recipe and was simply using what was on the shelf.  What did I use I hear you yell at your screen?

The dyspraxic chef’s recipe for green Thai curry

There are many ways in which you can make Thai curry, so please don’t ring the Thai curry police, because I am just making my tea. And after all it is the world of dyspraxic cooking.

What to do: Peel your respective veg and slice your peppers and then get your chickpeas cooking. Boil a pan of water before cooking your veg for 5 minutes. This is where it might get tricky for an adult with dyspraxia, put a frying pan with a little oil and chopped garlic to heat before added the green curry paste and coconut milk. Let that bubble a bit before adding the veg and then let it fry for 5 -10 minutes on a low heat. It might need a bit long but just check that as you go.

Boil the rice noodles and then add those to the pan. mix it all together and let it sit for a minute or two.

The dyspraxic chef Thai curry ingredients: 

  • green curry paste
  • Chickpeas
  • A red and a green pepper
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Rice noodles
  • coconut milk
  • a small piece of garlic

Dyspraxic cooking result: 

I’ve made this one before and I should have taken pictures then, haha. As an adult living with dyspraxia, as long as I enjoy cooking and people think it is tasty, then I can sacrifice presentation. It was spicier that expected, my coconut milk to curry paste ratio may have been a bit off, but overall, I was happy with this effort.

Challenges for the dyspraxic chef

For adults living with dyspraxia the hardest bit about cooking can be the timing. There are other practical issues due to fine motor skills but keeping an eye on the time is hard work. It is also a crucial part of cooking. There are other practical issues due to fine motor skills but keeping an eye on the time is hard work. It is also a crucial part of cooking. The peeling is getting easier with practice but I still find it highly stressful to manage all the things at once. I pulled it off this time, just about but it was a fairly simple dish to make. Just a bit of boiling and frying essentially, just had to get the timings right.

I still need to work on presentation, though.

Your’s and hungry,

the dyspraxic chef.

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