I look like a normal, ordinary teenager. I do not look like I have a disability, but I do. I have motor apraxia, which means I have trouble coordinating my fine and gross motor movements. Everyday things are harder for me than an average person. I am more likely to drop things, have messy handwriting, or miss a baseball. Outwardly, I appear as clumsy or as lacking effort. The misconceptions that people have about me have helped me realize that people are too often judged by how they appear. I believe that it is possible for people to be treated with respect, regardless of their outward appearances.
Throughout my life, my difficulties have been misinterpreted as a lack of skill or effort. When I was setting the table at a friend’s house, I was criticized when I clinked glasses together and when I spilled the contents of a saltshaker. In grade school, I was given a low grade in the handwriting section on my report card. It is true that most people do not know I have motor apraxia, and probably have never heard of it, but I believe that people should not be treated unfairly because of how they appear.
No one wants to be told that he or she is not good enough or is not trying hard enough. I do my best to not judge those around me harshly, and instead accept them for who they are. In my Boy Scout troop, for example, I had trouble learning my knots, because memorizing and tying the knots were difficult. Because of this past experience, I understand how a scout feels when he is having difficulty learning a skill. As a leader in the troop, I help scouts learn skills that have been causing them difficulty, and I try to be as helpful and friendly as possible. I do not want others to feel confused or self-conscious as I did when I was asked why I did not know my knots.
Although my motor difficulties make life difficult, I consider myself lucky. I am thankful that my disorder affects my body instead of my mind. One has to look at the positive aspects of a situation instead of the negative ones.
Life would be simpler without motor apraxia, but I think that my daily struggles have benefited me. I believe that I am more empathetic to others than I would have been without it. It would be fantastic if everyone could understand how others are feeling. One has to recognize that everyone has difficulties, and that everyone should be treated with respect.
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