Man with dyspraxia told he’d ‘never be an athlete’ earns award for Manchester 10K

A Manchester athlete living with dyspraxia has won an award for raising money to help others living with the condition.

James Pratt, 22, has been named the ‘Fundraising Star’ by the Dyspraxia Foundation.

The charity launched the ‘Nominate a Star’ initiative, which invited people to tell the team about someone living with dyspraxia who inspired them.

James raised £1,000 for the Dyspraxia Foundation this year by running in the BUPA Manchester 10k, making him a worthy recipient of the award.

“It feels a complete shock to win this award. I didn’t know I had been nominated,” James exclaimed.

“With the Dyspraxia Foundation being the modern day charity that supports dyspraxia, I chose them as my charity for the 10k run.

“My message to anyone with dyspraxia is to never give up and find someone who is willing to give you the time and support.

“It will be up and down, but take the blows and carry on.”

Once often referred to as ‘clumsy child’ syndrome, dyspraxia is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination, in both children and adults.

It can also affect articulation, speech, perception and thought.

NEVER GIVE UP: James was told he would never be an athlete

Dyspraxia refers to people who struggle planning, organising and carrying out movements in the right order in everyday situations.

James was diagnosed with dyspraxia at a young age and was told he would never be able to play sport or drive.

He has defied doctors’ claims however, becoming an athlete joining Stockport Harriers, competing in many local events and also passing his driving test.

His ‘Fundraising Star’ award is further testament to his perseverance – as is his completion of the 10km course in an impressive 45:48.

The announcement of the results of the ‘Nominate a Star’ initiative comes in the annual Dyspraxia Awareness Week (October 12-18), which is designed to raise the profile of the condition.

Sally Payne, Paediatric Occupational Therapist and Trustee of the Dyspraxia Foundation, believes greater awareness can help those living with the condition.

“If there is a lack of understanding and support within our education system, we have a real commitment to redress this balance.” Ms Payne said.

TEAM PLAYER: James competes in a number of local events

“At the Dyspraxia Foundation, we are increasingly hearing from teenagers and young adults who are achieving wonderful things, going onto university and embarking on fantastic careers, often in the arts.”

Florence Welch of art-pop group Florence and the Machine, for example, has been diagnosed with the condition, and was even nominated for a Dyspraxia Foundation award.

The charity recently conducted a survey of teenagers living with dyspraxia, as well as parents/carers, to research the problems posed by a new school term.

The survey found that almost three quarters (84%) said they had felt left out of a friendship group due to their ‘differences’ and more than a third (35%) said this was a constant problem.

Alarmingly, 70% said they had been victims of bullying, while 15% of parents said they felt their child was ‘always bullied’.

“What this survey has really reinforced to us is that it’s the emotional aspects that hit teenagers and young adults most hard,” said Ms Payne.

“This is especially the case when trying to navigate the already ‘tricky’ aspects of growing up, such as the transition to secondary school or college, friendships, potential bullying, leaving home and generally learning to fend for yourself.

“We truly believe nothing should hold a young person back from fulfilling their potential.”

Images courtesy of Facebook, with thanks.

Related Articles