Getting There

A special education instructor who works with children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), who is a parent of one with ASD, and a sibling to another, gave me a wonderful gift — understanding. She stated: “You have a bigger perspective of ASD than I do because it’s your life.” I don’t think I could count the ways ASD impacts my business of everyday living.

Such as if I like something, I go overboard with it. It’s just that simple. Some of my gadgets are toy gadgets that I doubt many 59-year-olds have. Such as a robotic sphere ball operated by a smartphone app. My grandniece and nephew like to visit their Great Aunt. Besides my charming personality, they are attracted to my gadget family. When they are older and can understand what ASD is, they’ll have the explanation of why their Great Aunt’s bedroom was their playground away from home.

I have since taken my “gadgetitis” to the yard. I recently acquired an electric blower/vac/mulcher. I was so excited when it arrived via UPS that I took it out for a ride in the backyard immediately. I spent more time figuring out how to attach the attachments than I did blowing, vacuuming, and mulching leaves. My lack of fine motor skills gets in the way of putting something together in a jiffy. In fact, some mornings it is a piece of work putting me together (such as battling pierced earrings).

When I turned it on and started going over the yard vacuuming up leaves, it would be light to carry. I noticed it wouldn’t be long before it was heavy to tote around. Common sense would have dictated it was because the bag was filling up with leaves. It took at least a month before I figured that out. I was under the illusion I could vac until the yard wasn’t covered in leaves without emptying the bag. It was a good thing I finally figured that out before the bag busted from being overfed.

After every session, it was a pain to separate the bag from the tool’s main body. How bad was it? I didn’t care if I ever saw my yard gadget again. Then, one night a light bulb went off in my mind. I didn’t need to take the bag off to unload the mulch. All I needed to do was to unzip the bag and unload where I wanted the mulch to fall. Then, zip the bag up and keep going or put the tool away.

I wish I had figured this all out from day one of using this yard gadget, but the wires in my brain don’t operate that way. It is a zig-zag train track I have in my brain. Getting to know my yard tool, like so many things, is not a straight shot from point A to B. I do get there but it takes me a while.



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