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A photo of Matthew sitting at a tableThis week is Neurodiversity Celebration Week. Our colleague Matthew shares his experience of living with dyspraxia.

Some people may know I have dyspraxia and I wanted to share a little about how it has affected me, both positively and negatively.

Starting with the "negatives", the most notable ones for me are:

  • My handwriting is abysmal and others struggle to read it. I also struggle when taking full, detailed notes
  • Poor coordination - I struggle to catch and throw objects and will at times randomly drop what I'm holding
  • I can't swim
  • I struggle with ties (the main reason I choose not to wear them) and couldn't tie shoe laces until I was about 7 or 8
  • Sometimes I struggle to find the right words to express what I want to say and will muddle up my words
  • If I try to do too many tasks at once, I can become mentally overwhelmed and lose motivation

There are probably a lot more symptoms like this that I just don't notice anymore, having dealt with them for 30 years.

Matthew running in the Stockton Duathlon to raise money for the Dyspraxia Foundation

However, on the flip side, there are positives as well:

  • I paraphrase in my notes to make them quicker to write and my handwriting is that difficult for others to read it's GDPR-safe!
  •  I might not be able to catch, throw or swim but I can run and cycle pretty quickly
  • I break tasks down and prioritise them doing one or maybe a couple of jobs at a time
  • I problem-solve differently and determine my own processes that work for me
  • I'm very organised digitally, you won't see my desktop cluttered with random documents, they will all be in different folders
  • I can hyper-focus on tasks which (alongside video games!) has helped me to think strategically and improve my hand-eye coordination

I have been quite lucky during employment that the majority of my managers have asked what they could do to support my dyspraxia and not made it an isolating factor. But now at Sopra Steria, I work for a company that wants to help its neurodiverse employees as much as possible and encourages them to talk about what can be improved. I'm able to get involved in the D&I focus groups to raise awareness, help inspire change and make processes more accessible for neurodiverse candidates, which is really important to me!

Sopra Steria really is a great place to work that cares about its employees. So if you are looking for a great workplace then check out our careers site:

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