When viewers tuned in to the international premiere of “Doctor Who” last week, the hit science fiction show introduced several new characters, including one with dyspraxia.
In the episode, the audience meets 19-year-old Ryan Sinclair, who admits he’s frustrated about not knowing how to ride a bike at his age. Ryan is revealed to have the developmental coordination disorder dyspraxia, which prevented him from mastering this skill as child. Even though his grandmother and step-grandfather try to help him, Ryan continues to struggle and fall off his bike.
In reality, the actor playing Ryan (Tosin Cole) does not have dyspraxia, but creators of this season worked closely with the Dyspraxia Foundation of the UK to depict the condition accurately. The inclusion of Ryan as a character with dyspraxia was personal for new showrunner Chris Chibnall, whose nephew has the disorder.
“We did a lot of research into that. We worked with the Dyspraxia Foundation … it was important, because people live with these things … It’s a relatively common thing among kids, so I think it’s important to see that heroes come in all shapes and sizes. That’s the most important thing about ‘Doctor Who’ and you will see that [idea] happen a lot across this year,” Chibnall said to press at the premiere.
“Dyspraxia or DCD (developmental coordination disorder) is a poorly understood condition and a life-long condition affecting gross and fine motor coordination, organisation, perception, language and thought,” according to a statement from the Dyspraxia Foundation to Metro.co.uk. “To have the condition featured on one of the longest-running TV shows is truly groundbreaking and to be celebrated in our 30th anniversary year.”
Jillian Kornak is a writer/editor for the ASHA Leader. firstname.lastname@example.org.