I’m currently reading Tony Attwood’s book called “The Complete Guide To Asperger’s Syndrome” and I must say, despite its age (10 years now) and some of the semi-bothersome pathology-based terminology (the book is person-first, while I prefer identity-first), it’s a really decent book overall. As in, pretty excellent, actually.
Tony was ahead of his time, talking about Asperger’s/autism in a rather neutral light, while everyone else in the professional community was still Hooked On Pathologics.
In his book, he mentions clumsiness as a trait of Asperger’s. I don’t recall the current diagnostic criteria for the autism spectrum mentioning that, but it almost should, given the fact that I, like so many others, slam-dunk the criteria–and we also report being uncoordinated.
Here’s a typical day for me…
Trip over cat. Dammit Vanessa, you’re gonna kill us both!
Drop keys and SoBe water bottle. Thank goodness for the cap, tightly screwed on.
Drop phone. Thank goodness for the Otterbox cover.
Trip down the stairs. Almost eat it, but catch self. Cuss again.
Get to office; roller bag catches on multiple door frames. Dammit, I’m so clumsy.
In office, I don’t dare get up once I’ve sat down; I’ll trip on the protruding chair legs and stumble.
Papers fall out of files and off my desk. Headset falls off desk.
My floor is littered with post-its that have fallen off my table.
All day, every day is filled with dropping, falling, tripping, stumbling.
Thank goodness I can at least drive. I’m surprisingly coordinated at that.
Coming home from work, tripping up the stairs (who does that?? Well hell, I always have).
Staying out of the kitchen while my partner makes dinner. Having him dish up my dinner for me. Complete with a spoon, instead of a fork. We’ve both agreed that forks are not my friends.
Being clumsy, for me, means…
- Having to set everything that sits on the counter back at least a foot.
- Clearing the way so I don’t trip over things.
- Pushing in any chairs between me and the door at the library.
- Weighting stacks of paper down and clipping them together so that they don’t come cascading off my desk.
- Knowing how many stairs are in each staircase so that I can count them if I’m carrying something and can’t see them.
- Knocking things into the sink.
- Having everything I’ll need for a while close by so I don’t have to reach far.
- Scolding partner for leaving half-full cups of water in my way.
- Scolding partner for leaving anything else in my path.
- Getting my roller bag caught on every door frame.
- Having to consciously remember what I’m holding so I don’t drop it.
- Walking slowly.
- Doing dishes slowly so as not to get water all over the kitchen.
- Dishing up my dinner slowly.
- Doing everything slowly, and with deep concentration, staying focused on what I’m doing.
- Dealing with the sudden irritation of feeling my partner suddenly pull me out of the way when someone comes barreling down the grocery store aisle.
- The embarrassment of bumping into something or someone.
- Constantly untangling cords.
- Wishing I had panoramic vision.
Those are just a few examples. Most of them happen to me every day, multiple times a day.
Given what I’ve seen and read from others, I’m sure I’m not alone. When it’s happening to me in the moment, though, and not to anyone else around me that I can see at that moment, it can sure feel that way. 🙂