According to Interactive Autism Network’s website, although poor motor skills and clumsiness are not currently part of official DSM-IV diagnostic criteria, such deficits figure heavily in clinical accounts and assessments. Individuals with Asperger’s often display an odd or uneven gait when walking or running, trouble with ball skills, difficulty with balance, poor handwriting skills, and difficulty imitating or mirroring others’ postures, gestures, or movements.
Poor motor skills and clumsiness are two of my challenges of living on the Spectrum. When I started writing this blog, I was nursing the left side of my face with an ice pack. When one’s face goes head-to-head with a brick wall, it is never the wall that cracks up.
Another common trait is restricted interests (obsessions) which are for me calming and assist in reducing my anxiety. One of my interests is electric scooters/bikes. As you might imagine, this “motor” interest can collide with my not being so fine with fine motor skills.
My newest bike at this writing was a Swagtron EB-5. It arrived on a Sunday and was almost fully assembled except for the seat. And, wouldn’t you know, it was the seat that would be the thorn in my side, a burr in my saddle, and a pain in my neck. My problem was the clamp that was not doing its job of adjusting/tightening the bike seat. Seats are pretty important in order to have a safe, and comfy ride; well, not big on comfy since I haven’t yet ridden on a bike seat that was rear-friendly.
I did try riding Swagtron inspite of riding it with its seat all the way DOWN. The e-bike ZOOMED off like a rocket when I pedaled. My reaction time is much less than the bike’s. “Swag” and I took a tumble. I was relieved my new bike wasn’t hurt but “Swag” fell on my left foot. No broken foot but I had a swollen one within an hour or so.
My grand-nephew claims his Grandpa and my brother can repair anything. Well, it didn’t take Grandpa long to put “Swag’s” seat in its place. I was amazed watching my brother’s fix-it work. He didn’t even need to glance at the instructions. Repair and assembly work is not under my list of talents; although, I give it a good try when it is one amidst my herd of half-dozen bikes/scooters. I lack in fine motor skills as well as gross motor skills. In other words, my brother can handle screws, nuts, and bolts for better than I can.
When a bike and a brick wall meet head-on, it isn’t the wall that is worse for wear. The same bike, Swagtron, that I fell off of a week prior hurting my foot was the bike I ran into a wall the following Friday. At least, my foot had healed by then.
I was riding on the local city bike/walking trail. All was well until I approached the area where there is a water fountain pit stop. It’s a shaded area where there are places to sit and a narrow, round sidewalk with four or so brick wall posts. I should have stayed on the main trail where the sidewalk is wide, but I ventured off on the narrow sidewalk going in a circle. Unlike my two other bikes, “Swag” only goes one speed, 15 mph, when I’m pedaling. It will go slower if I just use the throttle and forget all about the pedals. I lost balance as I was going around the circle. I could see for a few seconds I was running into the brick wall but I wasn’t quick enough to turn my handlebar or use the handbrake.
I put the blame squarely on Billy (my nickname for Asperger’s/Autism). One of Billy’s traits is lack of motor skills and balanced. I’m both socially and physically awkward. Or, as I often say, I’m not quick on my feet with communicating with my fellow man, driving behind the wheel, and with my bikes’ handlebars. Thus, bruises and scratches are almost as common to me as moles .
My balance and motor skills have not improved with almost 2 years of riding practice. I’m not so bruised that I am putting my two-wheelers to rest though. Just the cost of them alone is persuasive enough to keep pedaling. The best I can do is to learn from each accident. Hours after I had medicated and bandaged the scratches on the left side of my face, I took “Swag” for another ride. This time at another place where I stayed riding on a BROAD sidewalk that didn’t go in a circle. How did it go? Billy and I had a blast!