Caged in Chaos
Release Date:01 Apr 2014

Caged in Chaos

A Dyspraxic Guide to Breaking Free Updated Edition

By Victoria Biggs; Foreword by Jo Todd
Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Written by a teenager with dyspraxia, this is a humorous and inspiring practical guide for young adults with dyspraxia and those around them trying to get to grips with the physical, social and psychological chaos caused by developmental co-ordination disorders (DCDs).

In her own conversational style, Victoria Biggs explains the primary effects of dyspraxia - disorganization, clumsiness and poor short-term memory - as well as other difficulties that dyspraxic teenagers encounter, such as bullying and low self-esteem. Peppered with personal stories from other teens, this award-winning book offers down-to-earth advice on a wide range of adolescent issues, from puberty, health and hygiene to family life and making friends. The new edition includes an update from the author on her university and work experiences and how dyspraxia affects her now as an adult. Her positive approach and profound empathy with others in her situation make this book a must-read.

RELATED TOPICS: Disability Studies, Reference
Written by a 16 year old with dyspraxia, this book provides a profound and humbling insight into an often misunderstood condition. It is packed with useful advice on how it feels to be dyspraxic and how to understand the physical, social, emotional and psychological aspects of developmental co-ordination disorder. The effects of short term memory, clumsiness and disorganisation are explored along with bullying, self-esteem and loneliness. The style is conversational, with examples and life experiences from a number of young dyspraxics. Chapters on a survival guide to school, making the grade, and coping with growing up are most useful. Dyspraxia has been described as lying in a parallel universe. This book explores a galaxy of ideas, thoughts, emotions and supportive actions for the classroom and beyond.

– The Teacher, magazine of the National Union of Teachers

Praise for the first edition:

'I am currently developing new academic programmes and I hoped by reading a personal account of dyspraxia that I would be able to develop some understanding and insight into the condition, which would ultimately inform my teaching. I was not disappointed. This is a book that leaves you with a very strong impression of the impact of dyspraxia on people's lives.'

– The Higher Education Academy

Written when Victoria was 16 years old, this book is her personal story and one that young people with dyspraxia will all relate to. Inside the book there are many wonderful quotes from people who have dyspraxia. It's fun, easy to read and creatively written, full of tips to help with home life and school.

– Jessica Starns, founder of Dyspraxic Me, a support group for young people with dyspraxia

Caged in Chaos puts into words what professionals have been unable to, articulating the voices of many of the young people I have had the privilege of working with. The book touches the frustration, pain, humour, and resilience that come with having a cognitive profile consistent with dyspraxia. Adult readers can hear the echoes of their own experience and the young are reassured they are not alone. The pick and mix solutions for day-to-day issues gives just the right level of practical advice.

– From the foreword by Jo Todd, CEO of Key 4 Learning

This very informative book, about a young adult who has dyspraxia, is a much needed addition to my library. Although I have worked with children of all ages who have dyspraxia, it is difficult to put yourself in their shoes. The very obvious physical difficulties can be understood, although the effect this has on their self-confidence and esteem is not so obvious. However, the author clearly describes how her life has evolved and the impact her poor organisational skills have had on every aspect of her life. She offers very practical "tips" which have helped her through the very difficult period of life known as adolescence... It is a book I will be recommending to parents and other professionals who work with young people and this disorder. It will be extremely useful for therapists (occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech and language) who are new to this field of paedriatrics. Additionally, I feel that young people who have dyspraxia will also use it as a resource to help them to validate their experiences and feel that someone has understood explicitly what they are experiencing. It is already a well-thumbed book!

– NAPOT (National Assessment of Paediatric Occupational Therapy)

The 16-year-old author writes with a spirited and humorous style, using a mature approach to a vast range of topics and revealing her personal strengths and weaknesses with quirky honesty... Ms Biggs' advice is rich and relevant but realistic and practical. I have rarely read a book which offers such a vast range of useful strategies... The author skilfully acknowledges the issues which family members might have while growing up with someone who has dyspraxia, and her recommendations to teachers span generic topics as well as specific curriculum subjects. Her empathy with and support for those who have dyspraxia oozes with apparent ease from everything she writes and I would be surprised if anyone fails to feel empowered and enriched by what she has to offer.

– Good Autism Practice

Caged in Chaos is a truly inspiring but humorous book written by a teenager which is aimed at helping other teenagers with dyspraxia. It is a true survivor's guide to how to succeed and follow your dreams regardless of the things which hold you back. I would recommend this book to all young people regardless of their backgrounds. Victoria is a great role model and bravely writes about subjects which most teenagers would keep silent about such as how to deal with periods, first romantic crushes and wardrobe malfunctions. It should be essential reading in all secondary school libraries.

– Maureen Boon, former Headteacher and author of Understanding Dyspraxia and Can I Tell You About Dyspraxia?

Caged in Chaos is peppered with illustrations and words written by children and young people with dyspraxia and other learning difficulties, and it is easy to understand how helpful Victoria's insights and explanations will be to other dyspraxics, their parents, teachers and other people involved in their lives. The advice Victoria gives is practical and down to earth; she deals with everyday issues such as social skills, body language, health and hygiene, puberty, relationships and family life.

– Dyspraxia News

Victoria Biggs was sixteen years old when she wrote Caged in Chaos. She went on to study English at the University of Cambridge. She has subsequently been a learning support worker for young people with moderate to severe learning disabilities and has taught creative writing to women experiencing trauma-related mental health problems. Now in her twenties, she is completing a doctorate at the University of Manchester, researching how storytelling can be used to support children living with war and violence.
Foreword. 1. A Recipe for Chaos. 2. The Hidden People at Home. 3. A Survival Guide to School. 4. Making the Grade. 5. Crossing the Chasm. 6. The Case of the Cooked Tomato. 7. Bullying. 8. Coping with Growing Up. 9. Understanding Your Diagnosis. 10. Dealing with Dyspraxia: What Can I Do Now? 11. Lying Diagonally in a Parallel Universe. Afterword: A Note from Now. Acknowledgements. Useful Addresses and Websites. References and Further Reading. Index.
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