Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Life’s a blur

with 8 comments

Yes, I deliberately chose this photo

I made Pudding a dress this weekend. Yes, truly I am a domestic goddess. She of course wanted to wear it the instant it was finished, and I of course had to take a photograph of her in it. This is one of the hundreds, thousands even of photos I’ve taken of her that usually get instantly scrapped. Because unless you’re prepared for it, and have a tripod, and a decent flash, it is almost impossible to get a picture of her without the blur. She is in perpetual motion, almost never still. Our bundle of kinetic energy.

It has often been said that people with Asperger’s are emotionless automatons. It may be true that some individuals find it harder to express their feelings, the way they feel is not easily visible in their facial expressions. Then there are others on the spectrum, such as Pudding, who simply cannot contain how they feel. When she is happy or excited, she is champagne froth fizzing everywhere, and just as intoxicating. She bounces, she flaps, she runs around. You can see it. Of course, when she is angry or scared, you can see that too, much as you might not want to.  She feels everything with every one of her senses.

Then there are times when she just can’t be still. I call those mealtimes. She is in and out of her chair, under the table, onto the couch, galloping around and around. There are days when I question her calorific intake. She can’t possibly take in more than she expends. And yet, she continues to grow. Even when the food is something she really enjoys, and she tries to sit down for it, she can’t do it. She will fall out of the chair, at least once a day. Have you ever fallen out of a chair? Not while leaning back, but when all four feet are on the ground? It is almost impossible to do. Mealtimes are like watching a slapstick comedy. This is not deliberate though, and it stopped being funny a long time ago. This is a faulty proprioceptive sense. It is just one of the many (way more than five, whoever taught me that!) senses that are a little off in our girl.

Proprioception is how the nervous system maps out where the body is in space, and controls the use of limbs. For most of us fortunate souls, this works so automatically that we don’t know it is at work. I don’t have to look down at my fingers to know they are on the keyboard (I just have to look down because I can’t touch-type). I know I’m sitting on a chair because I can feel it. Pudding’s brain doesn’t get the feedback from her body that it needs, which leads to both fine and gross motor skills problems. It is one of the reasons why we need to see an occupational therapist. If you can’t figure out what your fingers are doing, you’ll find it impossible to hold a pen correctly, and then you’ll struggle to learn how to write. On a side note: what is the occupation of a 3 year-old? Playing. Yes, it is weird that play requires therapy, but after a while on our world, the weird makes sense. It is the normal that we question these days.

Pudding craves this sense in a way that is impossible for me to understand. I’ve read several books on sensory processing dysfunction, and talked to her occupational therapists, but I just might never get it. I imagine it as the feeling that an astronaut in space for a considerable amount of time might get just missing gravity. We know that deep pressure feels good to her. She likes sitting in her bean bag chair, and hates the smoothness of our dining table chairs.

Yesterday I finally got around to ordering a special seat pad, which provides tactile feedback that just might help her stay in the chair throughout an entire meal…

…And long enough for me to take a better picture, of course.

8 Responses

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  1. That is a wonderful post!
    We have a lot of trouble getting our ASD boys to sit still most of the time and especially at meal times like you 🙂
    I understand why this is but my husband has trouble getting his head around it and ends up getting cross at them for moving about all the time.
    I’m going to show him this post because it’s a prefect explanation!
    And he’s much more likely to accept it when it doesn’t come from “me” LOL
    Would it be ok if i put a link on my blog to this post so people can come over here and read it?
    It’s so so good!


    August 10, 2010 at 11:27 pm

  2. Hi Fiona,
    Yes, feel free to put a link on! I must admit, even I get exasperated with this sometimes, and I know the explanation for it. I’m hopeful for the tactile cushion, but I don’t think it will solve the issue altogether. I’ll be sure to post an update if it does though!


    August 11, 2010 at 6:01 am

  3. […] THIS is a fabulous post written by “spectrummy mummy” and explains my boys and their need to move perfectly.   […]

  4. Hi, I had the same trouble as a child. Now I’m 41 it is my brain that just can’t sit still. I’m actually embarrassed to say that some days when my brain is obsessing about something I forget to eat. It is only when my stomach starts to growl at me that I remember, oh yes I need to eat.
    I always have to sit up the corner of a sofa and have a cushion to lean on to feel comfortable, even now. Otherwise my concerntration will wonder and then I start to think of other things to do. When I was a child I remember being constantly told to sit still, and “CAN’T YOU JUST KEEP STILL FOR ONE MINUTE!!!!!” There was even one GP that refused to see me because I was such a hand full.
    Thanks for posting this, It has helped me to understand a little bit more of my past. Yet another piece of the jigsaw of my life to add.

    Love and hugs from England. x


    August 13, 2010 at 3:49 am

    • Hello and welcome! Have you tried a weighted blanket or lap pad? I don’t have problems with proprioception like Pudding, but it still feels pretty nice I must admit! Definitely worth a try if it might make you feel more comfortable.


      August 14, 2010 at 3:55 pm

      • Hi I’m back to say thanks for this post. It inspired me to write a poem last night. From a fidgets perspective, of course. x


        August 15, 2010 at 2:59 am

  5. […] was inspired by THIS post I read recently. It helped me remember a little more of my childhood. So as usual I wrote a […]

  6. Sounds so much like our house! 2 boys with autism/adhd to go with 2 sisters. I used to call it success if my older son was in ANY WAY touching the chair LOL! And then there are all the “creative” ways he got the food to his mouth…usually involving toes LOL! Thanks for the memories, which are now very funny although at the time we were a bit stressed out 🙂

    Merri Lewis

    October 17, 2011 at 4:24 pm

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