According to the NHS, dyslexia is a learning difficulty that can cause problems with a person’s reading, writing and spelling.

Dyspraxia, also known as developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD), is a disorder that affects a person’s movement and co-ordination. It does not affect intelligence, but it may make daily life more difficult.

Fermanagh native Kylie Noble (25) was diagnosed with both dyslexia and dyspraxia at the age of 21 whilst she was studying a masters in journalism at the University of Sheffield. Also working as a freelance journalist at the time, Kylie explained that her diagnoses came as a shock.

“It was quite shocking at first, especially the dyslexia because I was really good at English at school, I loved books.

“I found that quite weird to accept that I’m a journalist with dyslexia but it was very positive because when I got that report I got accommodations at university, I got extra time to do my assignments and to do exams. I don’t think I would have passed that degree without those accommodations so it made a massive difference,” shared Kylie.

Most people are diagnosed with these disorders during their primary or secondary school years, however it was only whilst she was in third level education that Kylie started to experience difficulties that affected her learning, which led to her being tested for dyslexia and dyspraxia as an adult.

“I had failed a module, but I’d never failed a module in my life before and I failed an essay so I had to repeat them and my degree was dependent on passing the repeats,” said Kylie.

She explained that she approached her university tutor because she was feeling so stressed. “I said, ‘I’m trying so hard, why am I not getting the grades when I’m working so hard’ and then he said, ‘I think you might be dyslexic’. I was like, ‘what, how can I have dyslexia, I’m a journalist’.”

After completing an online test, Kylie was told that she likely had both dyslexia and dyspraxia.

On these findings, the University of Sheffield paid for her to be formally assessed and the following report concluded that she was primarily dyslexic with dyspraxic traits.

“I had never heard of dyspraxia at this point, it’s not very well known but when I read about it, it made more sense.

“It resonated a lot more than the dyslexia because I have always been a clumsy person. I would fall a lot as a child, just the other day I walked into something and I have a big bruise,” she shared.

Explaining dyspraxia in her own terms, Kylie said: “So dyspraxia used to be known as ‘clumsy child syndrome’ which is an outdated term now.

“It was focused on children first of all but you can continue with it into adulthood but it would tend to present first as a child.”

She added: “The main symptom you would have with dyspraxia is co-ordination issues in the body. It’s interesting because it affects the mind and the body.”

Noting some traits that she can now relate to her dyspraxia, Kylie shared: “I don’t drive. I started lessons in Belfast but I found it quite overwhelming, that’s one thing people with dyspraxia struggle with.”

She continued: “Sport, struggling with balance and co-ordination and fine and gross motor skills.

Every sport I’ve tried I’ve been awful at, and dancing, I’m awful at dancing, I can’t remember the steps and I can’t keep the rhythm.”

She added that tying shoelaces was also difficult for her.

“Most children learn to tie their shoelaces when they are around six but I was 10 or 11, it took me a lot longer. I’d struggle to tie them and even now it would take me a few goes.”

When asked if being undiagnosed dyslexic and dyspraxic had impacted her mental health, Kylie commented: “If you have any undiagnosed condition, for a lot of people that will affect their mental health because they have this feeling of something being off but you don’t know why you are struggling and other people aren’t.”

She continued: “I thought I’d do well at university, because these were my best subjects.

My grades were so below my ability, they weren’t my full potential and that was hard at university. I didn’t understand why and you internalise a lot of it so you ask yourself, ‘am I actually stupid all this time?’. It was ridiculous so yeah, I would say it linked into depression at times.”

“I was very lucky that I found out that I do have the conditions because I can start to make sense of things and be less harsh on myself,” Kylie told The Impartial Reporter.