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).