Aspergers and physical awkwardness.

This topic was prompted by a “selfie” photo that I uploaded yesterday to a Facebook group for adults with Aspergers Syndrome that I belong to. My photo was surprisingly complimented by several people on the group which was lovely. I was nervous when I first uploaded it but a lot of other group members were doing the same thing and I do like to match names to faces so I thought I’d give people the chance to match my face to my name.

I do not photograph well. When I know that someone is taking a picture of me, my pose ends up being awkward and I either grin without showing any teeth which makes me look a bit like a dolphin or I look far too serious. At least, with a “selfie”, I can readjust the camera several times to get a shot in which I look half decent. I am under no illusions-I know that I am physically awkward. I have small eyes that often look half closed in photographs. I often move around in an awkward manner too-like a lot of people with Aspergers, I have physical coordination problems which were originally diagnosed as dyspraxia so I have an awkward gait and run very awkwardly. I often struggle with tasks that require manual dexterity, fine motor skills and hand to eye coordination, often taking twice as long as most people to complete them. I have noticed that coordination problems appear to be a lot more significant in people with Aspergers Syndrome than people with severe autism. I am unsure of why this is the case but find it fascinating.

Of course, not every person with Aspergers has coordination problems but, from discussions I’ve participated in on online forums about this topic, I know that there are a high number of people with Aspergers out there who are viewed as “clumsy” and “physically awkward”. I believe that this is one of the causes of low self esteem in a lot of people with Aspergers. I have heard Aspergers described as “social and physical awkwardness all mixed in together” before and, to me personally, that definitely sums me up! I always feel like there’s nowhere in the world that I really fit in comfortably-the best I can do is observe how other people interact and try and imitate this. I have always felt awkward and ill at ease in the world. My physical awkwardness doesn’t help matters. I have poor posture and trying to correct this is painful for me. I have been told by a chiropractor that the two sides of my body don’t work in sync with each other and I have been told by an osteopath that my shoulders are hypermobile (although I can’t see any evidence of that in everyday life). My handwriting is illegible to a lot of people and those that can read it have to take a long time over it. I have heard all the jokes about people having to be drunk to read my handwriting as that’s the only way it makes sense to them! I usually laugh along with these jokes but I do think it’s unfair that people can write insightful pieces of work which are then discounted because their handwriting takes more time and effort to read than people are prepared to give. I mainly communicate via computer rather than through handwriting now but there are times when I have to use handwriting, particularly at work.

This blog post is not really educating anyone in a purposeful manner-it’s just me explaining a bit more about my physical coordination problems. However, I would like people to take from it that Aspergers involves a whole lot more than social awkwardness-in fact, I believe that the social and physical awkwardness I have is directly related to underlying neurological processes that affect the way I perceive and process information and act on messages that my brain is sending to me. If you know someone with Aspergers who struggles physically, please understand that it is likely to be related and be patient with them.