First of all, I would like to thank all of those who read my previous post on why I think I have Asperger’s Syndrome and gave plenty of positive comments on my Facebook page. I was never fishing for sympathy or compliments but it was still very encouraging to read. Now, I go further into dangerous territory with this post on why I believe I have the condition known as D.A.M.P. I say dangerous because in the past, I have been called a hypochondriac and it may appear that I am trying to do so again. Especially as I remain mindful of the words of my counsellor in regards to reading a book on diseases and finding the reader possesses the symptoms of half of them.
In order to explain why I have D.A.M.P., it is probably best to give a crash course on what the condition entails. The acronym stands for Deficits in Attention, Motor Skills and Perception. Since the subject tends to have problems in all three fields, it often results in low academic attainment in school and problems with physical activities like playing sports. One reason why this condition goes largely unnoticed is because the person who has it appears “normal” and therefore is just branded slow or lazy and many people don’t see the real problem.
Those who know me are probably saying right now, “Aha, you can’t have it, you have a degree and at over 50, are still a half decent softball player. True, I don’t have it as severely as many people, including my youngest step son who has been officially diagnosed with having the condition. I could write a post or two about the battles my wife and I had with his primary school on account of it.
To present my case more clearly, I have decided to break it down into smaller pieces. First, I will start with the A- Attention. Throughout my entire school life and even sometimes in adulthood, I have been dinged for not paying attention. Paying attention was always a problem with me in school and in spite of some teacher’s views, I wasn’t doing it intentionally. My mind tends to race at 1000 miles a minute at times and thoughts from outside sources can easily distract me. Furthermore, those thoughts often tend to push out the subject that I am supposed to be focusing on and it takes conscious effort to get back on track. As I said earlier, this has often plagued me and it is only through conscious effort on my part that I have been able to achieve academically. The bottom line is, I have a deficiency in paying attention.
Now we will proceed to the M- Motor Skills. Basically, I know my hand to eye coordination sucks. This can partly be contributed to the fact that I only have 30% binocular vision but I know my fine motor skills are definitely lacking. The very first head I taught under slated me for being a poor example of handwriting to children. Of course, she was proven in the eyes of many to be unprofessional but I know my handwriting is terrible, especially if I rush it. I have to really slow down and form my letters with extreme precision to make what I write look half decent. Then there was my sports career in my youth where I missed many a ball because of my lack of motor skills leaving many a disgruntled teammate to conclude that I sucked. The condition seems to be reappearing more as I age because I seem to be dropping a lot of things. So, exhibit B concludes that I have at best, questionable motor skills.
The final area, the P- Perception, is a bit more tricky. After all, everybody is capable of seeing things in a different way and who is to say what is normal. People with DAMP perceive things in a totally different way. Maybe that’s why I voted for Jill Stein in 2012, hee hee. No, I can perceive things that so called normal people consider way out there. Furthermore, I have done things (and still do) that seem logical to me but illogical to many others. There was time I went back to the States for a visit and didn’t buy all my traveller’s cheques in dollars. I had some in sterling because in my mind, we might not spend it all and could easily cash it when we come back and if we needed to, easily cash them for dollars in the US. Well, my logic was considered foolish to many but the funny thing was that in spite of all our attempts to spend money, we came back with around the amount of money in dollars that I would have gotten in sterling. There were other times when my ideas or logic has been questioned or called stupid or retarded even if in my mind it seemed logical. Therefore, I present my final exhibit and say that my perception is different or deficient.
The main reason I wanted to post about DAMP was that I feel that precious little is known about it and therefore, more needs to be. I have seen the struggles of my stepson with it and remember the problems I had. Book link alert: It is the reason why I gave the condition to Mark in “He Was Weird.” I wanted to highlight it to make more people aware of it and at the same time break down some prejudices and negative attitudes so no one has to go through in real life what Mark had to go through in the story.
Next post: Bullying and It’s Effects on Academic Attainment