One more day of reflecting on the tactical (touch) sense. Many children on the spectrum have poor tactile perception and discrimination. Just one more reason to love your Physical and/or Occupational Therapists! These folks can (and do) provide children with help in dealing with these difficulties.
It makes sense that Tucker has difficulty with fine motor tasks such as buttoning, zipping, and fastening clothes. Remember that he had difficulty writing, see Day #22 – Trust the Professionals. I’ve already spent some time writing about these tactical difficulties – but I’ll be spending more time in the future. His troubles are magnified by the size of his hands and body. Many children on the spectrum spend their lives in sweatpants, oversized t-shirts, and Velcro shoes (honestly, I’m a bit jealous).
While this may seem ‘normal’ – it’s not. Well, it is when they are young…but not when they are 12. Tucker has always had fine motor issues – and we are SO lucky to have people who love and care for him in the same way we do.
This fall while playing football he had perpetual pant issues. Those parents who watched Tucker know exactly what I am referring to. He could NOT keep his pants up. It was a constant battle – reminding him to ‘put away the crack.’ In all honesty, it was constant prayer that they wouldn’t fall down in the middle of a game. Then, I realized (okay…I didn’t realize this but my husband and his coach friends did), his pants were too small. So, we found him a bigger pair of pants and thought for sure the problem was solved.
Sort of…it was sort of solved…
But his pants continued to fall. I knew the pants were causing fairly major issues in his ability to REALLY play. He expressed that he was afraid to get into his ‘stance’ because he thought his pants may fall down, he was afraid to really tackle because the pants would fall and then he couldn’t get off the ground. Eventually, I found the root of the problem. He couldn’t get them tied.
Finally, during a game I asked two of these coach friends if they had any ideas. God bless them. They looked at me and said – we’ll take care of it at half-time. Half-time came and sure enough they walked over to the sideline and grabbed Tucker. They pulled him behind the rest of the team and fixed his pants. Consider the hilarity of the situation.
Two grown-men and Tucker – on the sidelines fixing his pants – pulling them, cinching them, tucking in the jersey. One of the on his knees in front of Tucker and the other behind making sure they were pulled up in the right spot. When they finished they gave him a smack on the back, a pat on the head, and sent him on his way. You know what that did? I captured this picture after they helped get the pants ‘right.’ I thought about sharing a ‘before’ picture – but I just don’t think he would think it’s okay to show a butt-crack picture. So, instead – here is an ‘after’ picture. A picture is worth 1,000 words? For sure…
My heart melted. When I went to express my sincerest thanks they giggled and said, “Not sure which is more embarrassing – pants falling down or having our hands all over him trying to get the pants in the right place.”
True…but what they didn’t know is that Tucker doesn’t notice what other people think – all he recognizes is that they helped him. They didn’t make fun of him. They didn’t mock him. They simply helped, because they knew it was the right thing to do.
We need more people in the world like them.
_x_ has difficulty with fine motor tasks such as buttoning, zipping, and fastening clothes
_x_ may not be able to identify which part of their body was touched if they were not looking
_x_ may be afraid of the dark
_x_ may be a messy dresser; looks disheveled, does not notice pants are twisted, shirt is half un tucked, shoes are untied, one pant leg is up and one is down, etc.
_x_ has difficulty using scissors, crayons, or silverware
_x_ continues to mouth objects to explore them even after age two
_x_ has difficulty figuring out physical characteristics of objects; shape, size, texture, temperature, weight, etc.
_x_ may not be able to identify objects by feel, uses vision to help; such as, reaching into backpack or desk to retrieve an item