Excuse me, Miss, your Asperger’s is showing…

I am a person full of contradictions. I am the vegetarian who doesn’t eat vegetables and the atheist who goes to church. But today I realized possibly the oddest contradiction of all: I am the virtuoso pianist with a fine motor skill deficiency. This is something I realize (unfortunately) much too often, usually through situations that make me look like a fool. Today I realized it when I spilled Sprite all over my father because I missed the glass when I tried to grab it. I have realized it before when I needed a preschooler’s help to show her how to tie shoes, or when I eat my rice with a fork in Chinese restaurants because the chopsticks slip through my fingers. I realized it a lot in the first grade when my teacher constantly yelled at me for not holding my pencil “correctly.” But how is it that I encounter such frequent roadblocks with my hands in everyday life when piano comes so easily to me?

Playing the piano requires incredibly refined fine motor skills. It is for this reason that most young children struggle with the piano. Their brains have not yet developed enough to form automatic connections between the individual fingers and the signals from the brain. Once they have been playing for a while, though, the connections form naturally and the instrument becomes much easier. For somebody with natural deficiencies in the area of fine motor skills, though, it takes much longer for these connections to form, if they form at all.

So why is it that I prosper in some areas of fine motor skills, such as piano-playing and crocheting, while I can’t easily perform basic functions? I don’t have the slightest clue. This is probably just another strange phenomena that occurs with ASD, similar to those people with Tourette’s whose twitches cease to exist while the person is, say, singing (more on James Durbin later).

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2 responses to “Excuse me, Miss, your Asperger’s is showing…

  1. Exactly what I wonder all the time! My son really has to work to write, often knocks over his milk, and we had to pay for OT intervention to help him tie his shoes. So, despite his perfect pitch, when we started his piano lessons we just wanted him to have fun. But he does great! He’s not a prodigy, but he plays as well or better than the “average” kid. His diagnosis is PDD-NOS and he’s a date calculator as well as musical. Any ideas on how to channel all this? He’s currently obsessed with when Muslim and Jewish holidays happened in the past. Thanks for your lovely and fascinating blog!

    • If your son shows talent in the area of music, I would definitely suggest that you always make sure he is being adequately challenged by his piano teacher but that his teacher also understands his boundaries so that piano still remains enjoyable and not something that causes anxiety. Thank you for reading and commenting!

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