Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Reviewed by Darshini Ramasubbu
Caged in chaos is an insightful, articulate account of a teenage girl named Victoria and the effect of dyspraxia on her life. The book was the winner of the 2005 NASEN/TES Special Educational Needs Children’s Book Award. Whilst factually informative, the humorous and engaging style of the author makes this book both an interesting and funny read for anyone wanting to learn from a first-hand perspective how the developmental disorder can cause ‘chaos,’ particularly during adolescence.
I will admit that prior to reading ‘Caged in Chaos,’ I had little knowledge about dyspraxia, vaguely knowing that it affected balance and had been described to me before by a patient ‘dyslexia for limbs’. The broad impact of the disorder and its effects on memory and coordination were explained through excellent and alternately amusing and poignant examples from the author herself, and from other children with dyspraxia, which gave real context to the effect it can have at a variety of ages.
Starting from diagnosis and covering issues such as bullying, academic struggles and dealing with social situations, Caged in chaos provides practical guidance for those with dyspraxia and their parents or teachers, particularly as regards strategies and methods to manage it best. The bullet point tips for topics like health and hygiene and studying are practical, succinct and easy to both read and digest. Even when discussing potentially awkward areas, the self-depreciating and honest style of the author makes all the subject matter entertaining.
The afterword—which describes the author’s motivation for writing the book, her further studies and career—is motivating and inspirational, and highlights how effective the advice contained in this book can be. Its positive message, the realistic and practical advice it offers, coupled with the honest and empathetic tone, make this book an essential read for anyone with or working with those who have dyspraxia.