Side note: In order to build up a buffer, I’m writing posts several weeks in advance right now. This post will be at least a month old when it goes live. When I’m into the habit of writing and posting more regularly, I might get rid of the buffer and write stuff that posts immediately.
Laina Eartharcher wrote a piece called (My) Asperger’s / autism and clumsiness which made me laugh. It described my daily experience so perfectly!
When I went to be assessed for Autism the man seemed very interested in how clumsy I was (very) and whether there was any Dyspraxia in the family. Somehow, in all my research, I’d missed this aspect of Autism/Asperger’s.
Dyspraxia is a general term used to cover a range of difficulties affecting the initiation, organization and performance of movements.
I walk into things constantly. When I was a child my legs were pretty much solid bruise from the knee down. I drop things, I have this neat trick where in the middle of walking I somehow manage to put my foot down on it’s side, I lean forward and use my hands when going up stairs at home, and when I was a child my handwriting was so awful I was forced to take extra handwriting lessons.
One group of researchers examining these difficulties in detail has theorized that they are due to faulty propioception, that is, to a problem with the sensory system that provides information about where one’s body is in space and how one is moving.
Well that certainly would explain why I’m constantly walking into things. I don’t where my legs are in space! 😛
Propioception is literally being able to sense where your body is in space – think being able to close your eyes and touch your nose with your finger. You know where your finger is without looking, you know where your nose is without looking, and you bring the two together. That’s propioception.
So why is this such a symptom?
It’s one of those things that seems obvious once someone points it out: if your brain is overloaded by light or tactile or heat or sound (etc etc) there’s not enough processing power to figure out what your feet are doing or what they should be doing, is there?
Enough practice can help overcome minor difficulties. I practised my handwriting enough that I now have really neat handwriting (unless I get really tired). Learning to dance would probably improve my overall grace.
I doubt that ‘practice’ is a cure-all though.
Weirdly, I actually felt a little resentment when I put two and two together on this one. Most of my autistic traits I have wished gone at one point or another – don’t worry, I’m working on that – but my clumsiness had somehow worked its way into being part of my identity. Inconvenient at times, sure, but still somehow… Me.
Who would I be without my eternally bruised knees? Those little bumps and scrapes I laugh over but can’t remember how I got (because, honestly, I walk into something every twenty minutes or so – how is one occasion meant to stand out?)… They are an integral part of my life, in a weird kind of way.
They’re a sign that I’m actually here, that I’m (unsuccessfully) interacting with things, with people, even on the days when I’m so disassociated I’m not sure I really exist anymore.
Even if it takes literally walking into a wall to do it (I mean, it’s not like it’s small or anything, how did I not notice it?!)