I was diagnosed at a young age and went through the special education system in public schools. Family is incredibly important to me as I grew up in a large supportive family. I enjoy being outside in nature and arts and crafts.View all posts
Autism in Motion
My friends love to go hiking in the woods. They are really good at hiking and it’s pretty easy for them. The fact that they’re able to hike and carry on a conversation at the same time amazes me. It could be that they are in much better shape than me so it’s not as hard for them.However, I believe it’s because of the way my autism affects the way my body moves. I don’t have the best depth perception and my sense of balance isn’t the best. I also have trouble with motor planning which is important for being able to move smoothly and safely, for example while hiking. I’m pretty sure there is a delay between my brain and muscles which makes me slower and somewhat clumsy. All of this makes physical activity much harder for me than for most of my peers. The difficulty with my body also affects my ability to drive a car. Right now I can think of two reasons how it affects my driving. My reaction speed is slower, meaning it takes me longer to respond to traffic. In response, I tend to keep more space between me and the next car. My depth perception isn’t the best so I tend to be more cautious with my car and the space that I try to keep around it since I never know how really close I am. I am more confident now and and have been doing a lot better than when I was first learning how to drive. Learning how to drive was not fun. Another thing that makes me nervous is my peripheral vision doesn’t seem to work that well so I have to make sure that I pay more attention and have less distractions when I’m driving. Practically speaking, this means that I keep my eyes moving a lot more and I check my blind spots more than I think other drivers do. As you can probably tell, I don’t really like driving on a regular basis. If I was rich, I would hire a personal driver and never drive again. I don’t think that’s going to be happening any time soon (which is a total bummer). Lots of large muscle skills are difficult for me as well, such as using my legs and my arms at the same time. Cross motor activities like reaching across and touching my left foot with my right hand can be tough for me. Also, my walking gait is awkward so I tend to be slower and it takes more energy for me to walk. As a result, activities like swimming, running, hiking, and team sports were and are not things that I volunteer readily to engage in. After all, these activities can be scary for me; also, I know I’m not that good and I don’t relish being the worst at these kind of activities. All of this makes me more hesitant about exercising because it’s embarrassing, it’s awkward, and it’s really difficult for me physically. Moving on to a smaller scale, my fine motor movements aren’t the best either so using my hands to write is really hard and tiring. My handwriting is horrible; I always try my best to avoid writing. I’m also not the best at arts and crafts since I often find it to be difficult and confusing. However, oddly enough I love to crochet but it took me the longest time to learn how to do it. These are some of the ways that autism affects my physical body and my abilities to physically move. All of this combined makes me not want to exercise which of course inhibits my physical health. I am not really in good shape unfortunately but I do understand how important physical fitness is. However, it’s hard to get past my embarrassment, frustration, and anxiety concerning physical activity. It’s so much easier to ignore it and choose to deal with it later. “Later” is now as I’m getting older and it’s important that I start exercising as soon as possible. This means that I need to hit the internet, and ask my support staff and my friends for help to get physically healthier. I’m hoping to start slowly and gradually build up because that’s the safer way to get in better physical shape. As always, this blog describes my personal experiences with my body. It may or may not be similar to your experiences. I hope the blog was useful or interesting to you. May all your endeavors be successful.