Thursday, October 1, 2009

wanted, info on fine motor coordination and low score on block design test, etc.

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.

Much thanks,

Jon Mitchell


bullet said...

Ok, going only by personal experience here, but you have a fair amount of similar comparisons to myself. Namely:

1: Poor co-ordination. Probably poor perceptual problems as well.
2: Poor non verbal skills. Like yoruself there's a substantial gap between verbal and non verbal abilities, with the latter being substantially lower than the former.
3: Substantial difficulties in being able to initiate talking and mild to moderate difficulties in being able to get my body to react to things like throwing an item, waving at somebody, looking round to something somebody has observed, to cite a few examples. Difficulties initiating talking, by the way, extends to not being able to tell someone if I need food, water or painkillers, or to express verbally how I feel about something most of the time, rather than just having a few social awkwardnesses. I do well if someone starts talking to me though, albeit with some minor difficulties.
4: Very poor handwriting and poor fine motor skills. Shoelaces still come undone frequently today.
5: Unless I am making a conscious effort to think about the other person (which if they aren't my children or sometimes my husband will not happen most of the time) I do not think about other people and I particularly do not think about what they are doing in relation to me. To give an example, when I was 13 I threw up in front of a group of people and when one of them asked if I was ok I could not work out why she had asked that question as I did not realise she would have seen me vomiting, even though I was well within her sight of vision. At the age of 17 I once walked five miles down country lanes as it did not occur to me to tell my employer I was going.
5: I had a mild speech delay in that I was saying a couple of words by the age of two, but not much apart from that and then started talking in sentences by the age of two years and three quarters. I pretty much only spoke to my mum until I started school, however.
6: Significant social difficulties, though now I have my very small sphere it doesn't bother me. I have never phoned up another person for a chat, had no friends at all during secondary school, can rarely maintain friends if they are not online and when working need to be in a small office or working alone and must have time on my own at breaktimes rather than mixing with others.
7: I have never flirted, chatted someone up, approached someone to say I was interested in them. No concept of peer pressure until my late twenties (and I don't care about it still) and no concept of manipulating people.
There are other aspects, but not sure how relevant they are. My diagnosis is Aspergers. I'm also female, very quiet and placid and react to matters that upset me by becoming very withdrawn. I presume you have greater difficulties than myself in the areas you describe. For the record I always thought that the (very arbitrary at times) distinction between Aspergers and Autism was if the person who is Aspergers had communicative phrases by the age of three years.

farmwifetwo said...

Hope this helps.

Difference btwn NLD and Asperger's is that Asperger's is that mini adult, NLD is the child that's "normal-ish" but has difficulty with the "non-verbal" aspects of autism.

My eldest's dx "officially" - a mild form of ASD (has to say ASD to get school services). Verbally NLD w/speech/language delay. We're pretty much done with the s/l part except for the fact that he has poor short term memory = poor recall = poor English grades. Long term memory is better than average.
His is mild, but I think that's b/c we've had a dx of autism since 2.5yrs of age. Many dx'd with NLD are 7+yrs old so we've had ahead start.

Books - all I've found so far.

From this site.
What is NLD? Nonverbal learning disorders (NLD) is a neurological syndrome consisting of specific assets and deficits. The assets include early speech and vocabulary development, remarkable rote memory skills, attention to detail, early reading skills development and excellent spelling skills. In addition, these individuals have the verbal ability to express themselves eloquently. Moreover, persons with NLD have strong auditory retention. Four major categories of deficits and dysfunction also present themselves:

•motoric (lack of coordination, severe balance problems, and difficulties with graphomotor skills).

•visual-spatial-organizational (lack of image, poor visual recall, faulty spatial perceptions, difficulties with executive function* and problems with spatial relations).

•social (lack of ability to comprehend nonverbal communication, difficulties adjusting to transitions and novel situations, and deficits in social judgment and social interaction).

•sensory (sensitivity in any of the sensory modes: visual, auditory, tactile, taste or olfactory)

*definition of executive function: Neuropsychological functions including, but perhaps not limited to, decision making, planning, initiative, assigning priority, sequencing, motor control, emotional regulation, inhibition, problem solving, planning, impulse control, establishing goals, monitoring results of action, self-correcting.

Vicky said...

My performance IQ on the Weschler tests is 63. My verbal IQ is 155. My diagnoses are Asperger's Syndrome and severe dyspraxia. The block design test was where I got my second-lowest score. (The lowest was processing speed.)