While subbing for an elementary school’s P.E. coach’s sidekick, I was on the sidelines of watching students roller skate on the gym floor. The coach had his own pair of skates on as well as one of the teachers. Me? I was on the sidelines sitting on a stack of gym mats with some additional mat padding on the wall behind me. I wanted to have a soft landing if one of the skaters lost control and landed on me.
I don’t remember putting on a pair of skates when I was little. I think I must have tried it at least once and at some point decided my being a roller skater was only going to happen in my dreams. One of the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) traits is a struggle with motor skills. Motor skills do come in handy in keeping a skater on their feet rather than landing on their rump. I do remember trying ice skating once in my teen years on one of those rare times I was on a date. The sweet guy could skate well since he was repeatedly able to get me up off the floor without falling himself.
My diagnosis of Asperger’s changed my life. It has filled in the reason of why I did whatever, why I felt whatever, and why I couldn’t do whatever. Roller skating is just one thing on my list of “don’t do’s” that I suspect ASD is the culprit. There is another list of things I can do but were harder for me as a child to learn such as tying my shoes, blowing my nose. or unlocking a combination school locker.
A common struggle on the Autism Spectrum is with social interaction. Some days I do fine interacting with my fellow man; whereas, other days I get frustrated and wish I had the wings of a dove so I could fly away to a deserted island (with nice living accommodations, of course). I have no doubt that my never-married status is tied to ASD. There are plenty of people living on the spectrum who have married and some have done well and some haven’t. Just as those who don’t have ASD. But dating was awkward at best for me. I’m not ruling out marriage because I shouldn’t say never, but I’m not looking for a gentleman caller.
I missed some experiences that my peers have had such as roller skating or walking down the aisle or getting a valentine card from one’s grandchild. But ASD has given me compensation as it has others with ASD. A special talent of my own – writing. It’s something I don’t have to struggle with doing as I do with social interaction or any activity heavy on motor skills.
I don’t aim to be a Shakespeare or a Dickinson. Just write from my heart. It is a treasured gift that I don’t believe I’d have if I didn’t have my constant companion (ASD). If there was some magic bottle that could take ASD away, I don’t think I’d take it. Not if I had to give up my compensation.