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The experiences of foundation doctors with dyspraxia: a phenomenological study

Authors
  • Walker, Eleanor1
  • Shaw, Sebastian C. K.2
  • Reed, Malcolm2
  • Anderson, John L.2
  • 1 Frimley Park Hospital,
  • 2 University of Brighton,
Type
Published Article
Journal
Advances in Health Sciences Education
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Publication Date
Feb 09, 2021
Volume
26
Issue
3
Pages
959–974
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10459-021-10029-y
PMID: 33559779
PMCID: PMC8338860
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Article
License
Unknown

Abstract

Dyspraxia, otherwise known as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), is a specific learning difficulty (SpLD). Its main difficulties manifest as problems with motor coordination, organisation, academic and social difficulties. There are now more students arriving at university with SpLDs, and, therefore, a similar rise may be expected within medical education. There has been no previous research focusing on dyspraxia in doctors. An interpretive phenomenological approach was used. Six UK foundation schools disseminated the announcements. Three participants took part in loosely structured telephone interviews regarding their experiences of undertaking medical school and foundation school with dyspraxia. These were transcribed verbatim and then thematically analysed. The themes could be split into two main categories: “Weakness and Coping Strategies” and “Perspectives of Dyspraxia”. “Weakness” included: clumsiness, organisation and needing extra time. The participants focused on their “Coping Strategies” that included: Ensuring safety, adapted learning preferences and external support. “Perspectives of Dyspraxia” included: diagnosis, career choice, stigma, “normalisation” and the “difference view” or “medical deficit” view of dyspraxia. Doctors with dyspraxia often mask their difficulties through sophisticated coping strategies. These were determined and hardworking individuals who believe that their dyspraxia was a positive aspect of their identity, adopting a “difference view”. They felt further education is needed about dyspraxia to change the perceived stigma. There is now a need for further research in this area. Supplementary Information The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10459-021-10029-y.

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