Keene State College alumni Ryan Haddock has been working his whole life to be just like everybody else. If you ask him, he is just like everybody else.

He breathes the same air as everybody else, has friends like everybody else, laughs and cries like everybody else.

Haddock refuses to submit to the idea that he might be different because of the way he walks or talks or how he reads or writes. In fact, he prefers it not even come up in conversation.

That’s how it should be. Luckily for me, he told me a little about why some see him as different.

Haddock has a disorder called Motor Dysplasia, a condition which in many ways is much like my own. Motor dysplasia is a disorder caused by brain damage before, during or shortly after birth and can present itself in many ways depending on the severity. For Haddock, fine motor skill function and speech have always been a problem. Haddock has great difficulty writing and his speech is slow, stuttered and mumbled. He has trouble saying and spelling certain words and coordination walking issues.   

“In all honesty, I didn’t want many people to know about the disability. I felt like the people that knew would treat me differently and I did not want that. I just want people to treat me like they would anybody else,” Haddock said.

Kendall Pope/ Managing Executive Editor

Kendall Pope/ Managing Executive Editor

Haddock said he needed help with a lot of the things growing up, but that when he came to college at KSC he was excited to be more independent.

Still, Haddock utilized accommodations provided by the school such as note takers, extra time on an exams and tutors in order to get his classwork done. He graduated from KSC last year with a Bachelor’s degree in communications.

Haddock said that most people don’t know about his disability until he tell them about it, including most of his friends. Haddock said he once waited five years to tell one of his friends about his diagnosis. The reason why is both understandable and disheartening.

“You can’t be too sure when you first meet someone whether or not they’ll treat you badly because you’re different then someone else. That’s why I often keep things to myself,” Haddock said.

“I eat; I walk; I breathe – similar human things,” Haddock said.

What people don’t know is that Haddock’s condition is actually pretty common. Studies have shown that one in ten children are dealing with some level of Dysplasia. In fact, Daniel Radcliff (that’s right, the guy who plays Harry Potter in the movies) has a mild form of Dysplasia.           

Unfortunately for Haddock, there is no magic potion, spell or cure for this condition that affects so many in a number of ways. Instead, those who deal with Dysplasia, like Haddock, are forced to work hard to do what others might see as simple tasks like getting dressed, carrying objects and making food. Haddock said years of speech and occupational therapy have allowed him to do a lot more than he used to, and that he’s still learning.

Jacob Barrett can be contacted at jbarrett@kscequinox.com

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