Clinical psychology with a learning difficulty?

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Clinical psychology with a learning difficulty?

Post by Mathan »

Hi. First time posting here. I have recently been diagnosed with dyspraxia at the age of 32. This diagnosis has come about in the context of me training for another health care profession. One of my faculty members has basically said I won’t be able to do that job with dyspraxia and I have a feeling she is going to make life very difficult if I continue on with this degree. I have only a year left but she has been very vocal about people with dyslexia and autism not being suited to this profession. I am just wondering if there is anyone out there who has or knows someone with dyspraxia or dyslexia in CP. there is no equivalent forum for my profession and I did have half a mind to look at CP down the road. Feeling a bit dispirited at the moment. Could use some encouragement if there’s any to be had.
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Re: Clinical psychology with a learning difficulty?

Post by persephone56 »

I don't know much about dyspraxia, but I'm wondering why that person thinks it would affect your ability to do a job? My understanding is that it's primarily a movement disorder?

All I can say for sure is that there's at least 2 people on my cohort who have dyslexia, possibly 3, so dyslexia certainly doesn't disqualify a person from becoming a CP.
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Re: Clinical psychology with a learning difficulty?

Post by Dipa »

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Re: Clinical psychology with a learning difficulty?

Post by lingua_franca »

This sounds eerily familiar. Are you by any chance a student SaLT?

Before I get to my own story: if you were selected for the course, and you have made it to your final year whilst passing everything, then it's highly unlikely that you are unsuitable for whichever profession it is. Dyspraxia is a very broad term and people are affected by it in different ways, so no one should be judging your capabilities purely on the diagnosis alone.

I'm dyspraxic and on the autistic spectrum. I had a brief abortive attempt at studying speech and language therapy. At the beginning of term I had a fifteen-minute meeting with my academic adviser and her other advisees. Within half an hour of leaving the room I had an email from her stating that my eye contact had "given her cause for concern" and that "while we can be supportive, we can't lower entry standards for the profession." She asked me to meet her privately to discuss her concerns. Here I found that she had been sent a copy of my support plan from disabled student services before meeting me. I asked what the plan said, and she replied, "Oh, I didn't really notice. It doesn't say anything in particular. They're all very generic," and it clicked into place: she had read the words 'Asperger's Syndrome' and then seen what she expected to see. I still believe that if she hadn't known my diagnosis in advance, she wouldn't have registered any problem with my eye contact. As it happened, I had already been warned about her by a dyslexic student in the year above. During the meeting itself she spent a long time telling me about a visually impaired candidate whom she had persuaded not to apply...before adding, "She eventually qualified somewhere else. I wonder how she did it." I really had to bite my tongue at that one.

I left because by this point I had a PhD that had involved demanding work in a conflict zone with a clinical population, I'd been a SaLT assistant and mental health support worker in some very challenging contexts, and I really wasn't up for spending years proving myself to someone who tries to raise fitness to practise concerns after a fifteen-minute group meeting. When I brought up my SaLT work in inpatient units, the adviser said dismissively, "But that was an extreme setting. I wonder how you'd cope in an ordinary outpatient paeds clinic." When she said that I thought to myself, "And if I'd worked in outpatient paeds, I've no doubt you'd be wondering how I'd cope with more serious disabilities." I also have no doubt that I could have battled it out and won, but I pick my battles, and this wasn't one I wanted to expend valuable time and energy on.

It wouldn't at all surprise me if we're talking about the same person. Even if we're not, I'm happy to offer advice by PM. I know a dyspraxic and dyslexic clinical psychologist and another one who is on the spectrum, and my housemate (a CP herself) works with another autistic clinician, so if talking to any of these people would give you any reassurance I'm happy to put you in touch. In the meantime, persevere with your degree, and bear in mind that one faculty member's opinion won't make or break your job applications. Good luck.
"Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
"Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
- A.A. Milne.
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Re: Clinical psychology with a learning difficulty?

Post by Geishawife »

I have to say, this sounds downright prejudiced and discriminatory and the person concerned needs to be taken to task on it. I am disgusted by this person's attitude towards you (and by extension other people with a disability). You have reached the age of 32 before being diagnosed, so it seems to me whatever challenges your condition has thrown in your direction you have managed to overcome them because you have managed to obtain the necessary qualifications to get on to the course, get through the interview and make it this far through training! Did this person raise concerns about you prior to your diagnosis? If not, in my opinion, it adds further weight to the likelihood this is prejudice. If she has, clearly her concerns have been unfounded because you have made it through the first 2 years! Is there a student union rep or student support body you can talk to? I would urge you to find out and report this person, as her attitude seems appaling.

In answer to your question, I had one trainee in the past who was diagnosed with dyspraxia and it had no impact at all on her clinical practice. She is now qualified and doing very well. I have also come across trainees with visual impairment, hearing impairment, dyslexia and a history of mental health difficulties. NONE of these have prevented them getting on to training and doing well. Why should they? With the appropriate support and adaptations, disabilities do not need to be a barrier, which is why my blood boils when people such as you have described above make such prejudiced and discriminatory comments. So, I do not see that your diagnosis should matter. BUT, I would also say please do not give up on your current path because of this person's comments. If you feel the profession you are training for will suit you and you can do a good job please don't let one person's (outrageous) comments deter you. Of course, if it is not what you thought it would be and you think CP would be a better fit don't be put off that either!

I hope that didn't sound too much like a lecture/rant! I think you have been put in a totally invidious position and I hope there is good support for you out there to draw it to a positive conclusion. Good luck and my best wishes to you.
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