Dyspraxia has good points - Florence


BEFORE GOING on stage at Phoenix Park last night, singer Florence Welch visited young people with dyspraxia and cancer.

Welch, chanteuse with Florence and Machine, said she was “very proud to be dyspraxic” and said the condition did not get as much attention as it should.

About 40 children, young people and their parents were at the brief event in Dublin organised by the Dyspraxia Association and CanTeen, a support organisation for young people with cancer.

Dyspraxia is a chronic neurological disorder in which brain messages are not sent accurately to the body. It can affect movement and co-ordination.

Welch said that she was diagnosed with the condition as a child and that it had not caused her too much trouble “so far”.

“The fact that I work in a creative industry probably helps. In fact I think in some ways it has helped. We dyspraxics think in a different way.”

Dressed in burgundy jeans, a cream blouse, floral, velvet jacket and high, brown ankle-boots, she was an elegant, willowy presence, who appeared shy at first but was warm with all the young people, who gave her bunches of flowers, chocolates and cards.

She spent about 10 minutes having her photograph taken with the children and teenagers, before she and her entourage left to prepare for the concert.

Marianne Dankers, said it meant “really everything” to her and her son Conor (11) that Welch visited the Carmichael Centre.

“It has been very difficult for Conor over the years. He has been excluded from events and sports . . . and it is so exciting for him to be able to say to friends that Florence has dyspraxia and that it hasn’t held her back.”

Alice O’Leary, mother of Seán (eight), said it was wonderful for children with dyspraxia to see it was not a barrier to achieving in adulthood.