Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Dr-David-Banner

Limited Manual Skills

Recommended Posts

Dr-David-Banner

A quote from an old Soviet psychology document:

"Принято считать, что эти дети являются представителями «крайнего варианта мужского характера» (A. van Krevelen, 1962 и др.). В то же время некоторые их особенности, выявляющиеся при наблюдении (раннее речевое развитие и высокий уровень речи в последующем, тонкая ручная умелость при общемоторной неловкости и др.), описываются как характерные отличительные признаки психофизиологического развития девочек по сравнению с мальчиками."

"It is considered that these children are representatives of the “extreme variant of a male character” (A. van Krevelen, 1962, etc.). At the same time, some of their features that come to light upon observation (early speech development and a high level of speech later, limited manual skill with common motor impairment, etc.) are described as distinctive features of the psycho-physiological development of girls compared to boys."  

An unusual but striking observation - well worth exploring. All my female friends are limited in the sphere of manual work, to a lesser or greater extent. I will often be asked to fix a stuck lock or any basic mechanical difficulty that arises. I should point out too that I'm not the prime candidate myself for fixing things. The above quote relates to me as well. Over time, I've improved my DIY skills and learned some basic woodwork or how to use power drills and tools but, compared to typical DIYers, I am not really so great at practical tasks. I also feel like I have 4 thumbs and 2 fingers so tend to get very worked-up and irritable when, say, fixing a bike. Or I may struggle to figure out some mechanical fitting.

It's interesting the psychiatrists above suggests later on that "limited manual dexterity" only is highlighted as a problem in relation to boys because at school it's just assumed boys will be far better with at stuff like woodwork and metalwork than girls. In fact, at my school, when the boys did woodwork class, girls would be sent off to baking and cooking classes. It's another topic entirely to discuss whether these differences are predominantly cultural. Personally, I feel pretty sure I could teach any female to fix a broken bike or use power tools. I know the odd female who can weld and we all know some women have been known to make great mechanics (even if percentage-wise they are few).

When I read testimonies by males with A.S., very often they refer to problems at school with manual skills:

"I was excellent at all subjects except for music, gymnastics, drawing, and manual 6 training." (Paul Cooijman)

My own take on this? It is true Asperger himself compared HFA to an extreme masculine identity (in thought processing) but I myself have noted girls with A.S. often tend to be tomboyish and I think many of the males are actually less masculine in personality. The point is anyway the Russian psychiatrist compares Asperger males to neurotypical females in the area that's limited to manual dexterity.

Personally I just accepted I am not particularly brilliant with applied, practical work and tend to be more theoretical. I tend to streamline my activity accordingly and just do my best when trying to work with my hands.


 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HalfFull

I do have manual 'ability' but I don't have many manual skills, so for example, if someone asked me to drill a hole in a wall, I'd be able to physically hold the drill and point it towards roughly where the hole should go, but theres a very good chance that I'd get it completely wrong and make a funny shaped hole in the wall. Think Mr Bean, although not quite that bad lol.

I had to take my small fire extinguisher to just outside my flat door yesterday and pulled a muscle doing so. The fact that I had just recovered from a sore arm after a minor bike accident won't have helped but I think it could have occurred anyway. When I started work with a previous employer, we were given Fire safety training and all 20 of us had to have a go with a fire extinguisher and spray out a tiny part of its contents. Because it was so heavy, I was the one person unable to do so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sanctuary

My manual skills are also poor but I think to some degree they haven't been properly tested and the problem may be more of a psychological one than actual manual ability. I struggled at all the creative manual subjects at school such as Art, Woodwork, Metalwork and Technical Drawing and with the latter three I gave up and adopted a very negative attitude which further hindered my progress while the teachers seemed to make little effort to get me on the right track. Anxiety about practical tasks such as cooking and DIY has been there throughout my adult life and I either avoid doing them or do them in a very limited, unambitious way. However it's possible that if I made more effort to learn them and / or got support I could be more successful. Learning these things is on my "to do" list but has been there for decades and is likely to be there for decades more!

Driving involves manual and spatial skills among other things and I found it very difficult to learn but was eventually successful. It does seem that a higher than average number of people with ASD have struggled with driving which can point to wider problems with practical skills. However some of those who've found driving difficult might be very good at other practical skills or vice versa which might indicate different skill sets.

More recent diagnoses criteria for autism don't refer to problems with practical activities / coordination although they tend to note a tendency for there to be a link. The practical / spatial / coordination difficulties may these days be diagnosed as dyspraxia which often goes along autism but is also found among neurotypicals. Some autistic individuals may have excellent practical skills and certainly a large number seem to have a talent and interest in Art and other crafts so the links may not be as strong as sometimes seems. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HalfFull

My cycling ability is fine despite some slight co-ordination problems akin I guess to having mild dyspraxia, although I couldn't say if it is dyspraxia. The bike accident was as a result of my helmet coming loose (luckily I'd turned into a quiet street). With cycling however there are some testing moments where I can't judge a road users intention and rather than make a quick assessment will get off the road, and no I don't ride on the pavement. As a driver this wouldn't be an option and I'd be worried about not thinking quick enough, although I suppose since cars are more powerful and faster than cars I'd have more thinking space. Chances are I could learn to drive (notwithstanding my age) with great difficulty, but would be terrified of very busy roads and busy interchanges.

I've been taught how to prepare more foods for myself but my attempts to make new things on my own are invariably painful and problematic. Even if I successfully make it, I may struggle getting the mess off the pans etc. I'm fine with basic washing up, but not with complex washing up. So even when I try, frustrating results of some part of the process fuel my anxiety, so the thought of trying again makes me feel unwell.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dr-David-Banner

According to Tesla, human beings basically exist as biological robots. If you observe people everwhere you go, you should notice they perform tasks every day. The body as it stands allows us to perform all level of tasks but the downside is physical deterioration accelerates after 40. These days I have a wider perspective on what is taken for granted - healthy people are supposed to be physically functional. My point here is only a tiny percent of human beings perform activity that is really high level performance. Most people go to work and carry out far more basic tasks. Yesterday the girls at the shop asked me to tidy up the drinks fridge so I lent a hand. Every day I have to do other things like tidy up or clean or ride my bike to get about. Even so, I consider my most productive time to be when I just think in quiet. The best time to think is during zero physical activity. I even found sleep helps me to solve problems. Despite my lower performance in physical task performance I think it's safe to state there has always been a gulf between the academic world and the real one. I've known the odd dizzy academic who can't mend a broken plug. Likewise females I find to be overall better at communication and more expressive, although they seem unable to hammer a nail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nesf

I love doing practical tasks, and as a child I loved wood and metal work, and science experiments. I was bought a meccano set by my dad who noticed that I had aptitude for mechanical things and wante to emcourage me.

Girls can't do woodwork, can't have good mechanical skills? That's nonsense. It's nurture rather than nature. There is absolutely no reason why girls should have inferior mechanical skills to boys, or why boys should have inferior verbal skills, as is often supposed. Neurotypical children, and adults, will adapt their behaviour to fit in, they will claim not to be able to do things not because they can't, but because they want to project a feminine public persona which conforms to gender norms and society's expectations of what females should or shouldn't do. Girls with ASD are often tomboys simply because they don't feel the need to follow the gender norms that society tries to dictate to them. Children with ASD are more likely to follow their passion and do what comes naturally to them, rather than follow a gender role.

Edited by Nesf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dr-David-Banner
6 hours ago, Nesf said:

I love doing practical tasks, and as a child I loved wood and metal work, and science experiments. I was bought a meccano set by my dad who noticed that I had aptitude for mechanical things and wante to emcourage me.

Girls can't do woodwork, can't have good mechanical skills? That's nonsense. It's nurture rather than nature. There is absolutely no reason why girls should have inferior mechanical skills to boys, or why boys should have inferior verbal skills, as is often supposed. Neurotypical children, and adults, will adapt their behaviour to fit in, they will claim not to be able to do things not because they can't, but because they want to project a feminine public persona which conforms to gender norms and society's expectations of what females should or shouldn't do. Girls with ASD are often tomboys simply because they don't feel the need to follow the gender norms that society tries to dictate to them. Children with ASD are more likely to follow their passion and do what comes naturally to them, rather than follow a gender role.

I agree partly but even though I can get by doing mechanical tasks, it is not my strong point. Sure I could teach girls to fix bikes or engines but it would be hard for them. Genes tend to be present by being passed down. I mean Soviet weightlifters tended to run along a family line where the need for strength is passed on. Women in Sparta could box and fight but that too was likely genetic in the culture. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nesf
On 4/26/2019 at 12:41 AM, Dr-David-Banner said:

Sure I could teach girls to fix bikes or engines but it would be hard for them.

Some girls would find it hard, others wouldn't. Some boys would find it hard too, some wouldn't. It's a cultural phenomenon, not a genetic one. If girls are brought up in a culture that is telling them that they can't do things, then they won't try, won't learn and develop that skill. It has nothing to do with innate ability, or lack of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.