To Anyone It May Concern:
I am a person with a neurologic impairment that presents with autistic symptoms, such as self-stimulatory behaviors and impairments in the social sphere who has a fine motor coordination impairment and perceptual motor impairment. This greatly impairs my ability to handwrite and put together puzzles and do other types of motor activities. I also had trouble learning how to tie my shoes which I was not able to do at all until I was about 8 years old. To this day, I still have trouble tying a knot very tightly and the laces in my tennis shoes often become loose and have to be retied. Also, my gross motor coordination is probably below average in that I have never been very athletic, but it is not as bad as my fine motor coordination.
On psychological testing, I score approximately 40 points higher on my verbal Wechsler IQ than on my performance IQ. On two of the subtests of the Wechsler performance, the object assembly and block design tests, I score in the severely retarded range. This is contrary to the findings of Uta Frith and other autism researchers who have found that a number of persons diagnosed with autism score in the superior range in the block design test.
I also have an abnormal score on the Bender-Gestalt test, making many more errors than a non-handicapped person. At one time, this test was considered definitive evidence that I have a brain dysfunction.
Alan Lincoln, a psychologist who used to work with Eric Courchesne, suggested this meant that I had Asperger's syndrome rather than classic autism as persons with Asperger's have been noted to be clumsy. One problem with this is that I had a speech delay at about age 2-1/2 (or perhaps younger), and Asperger's and regular autism are usually differentiated from each other by lack of speech delay in the former.
I think a good number of persons with autism have good manual dexterity and have no trouble putting together puzzles. In fact some persons diagnosed with autism have extraordinary talents for drawing. Two examples of this are Stephen Wiltshire and the lesser known Stephanie Lynn Keil.
At one time I have been classified as "fine motor coordination problem". I was also told that I have a perceptual problem. In my readings (which may be limited) I have never really come across a diagnosis like this, except occasionally for case reports of persons with Tourette's syndrome or ADHD who had problems with handwriting or fine motor coordination.
I have also heard of something called nonverbal learning disability. I am not sure if this applies to my symptoms or not.
In my readings of perceptual problems, they have always seemed to apply to persons with dyslexia or perhaps other types of reading difficulties. I have never read about perceptual problems applying to fine motor coordination skills or abilities to put puzzles together or do block designs correctly.
I was wondering if anyone knows about autistics with fine motor coordination problems or problems with block design test, if there is anything in the academic literature that has been published about this or if anyone can tell me more about perceptual problems that don't affect reading ability but affect the ability to put together puzzles etc.
If anyone has some information about this I would appreciate it if they could post a comment here or send me email.