• Cory Morrison

Autism: Motor coordination quiz

Updated: Aug 26

My second quiz allows people to evaluate what their motor skills are like in their daily lives. Here are my answers below.


Fine motor skills


1. What was your handwriting like in school? It was poor. Especially during elementary school, people couldn't always read my writing well. Part of it was because forming letters was hard for me early on, while another part was that I couldn't hold a pencil properly. At one point, when I was in the third or fourth grade, I would use a pencil grip to make it easier. It wasn't until around the end of elementary school that my writing improved noticeably, though.


2. Do you consider yourself artistic? I was far from artistic. While concepts such as lines, space, and symmetry would come naturally to me in school, I didn't always have the fine motor planning and working memory to apply these concepts to my artwork. My colouring also wasn't always neat in the preschool and primary school years.


3. Was cutting with scissors easy for you as a young student? I recall I wouldn't struggle with using scissors because I would place my fingers in them correctly. However, cutting with lines wasn't always easy. When it came to activities where I would cut things out and glue them on paper, for example, too often, I would cut part of a black line out instead of cutting a whole line out or not cut it out at all. I had to ensure that I didn't cut out any part of a black line in most cases.


4. How well could you tie your shoes in the early years? I could not tie my shoelaces well at all. See my story on shoelaces for more details.


5. How easily could you independently put on winter clothes? In preschool and Kindergarten, I needed a lot of assistance in these areas. However, for the rest of elementary school, putting on winter clothes was never a huge issue for me, even though I was slower to put them on than my peers at times. In particular, I was almost snail-like when it came to putting on my boots. In general, I wasn't much different from my peers in this area, though.


6. Was bathing and showering well-developed for you? In my early elementary years, my parents would assist me with these activities, but I gradually got better at bathing and showering independently over time.


7. Was opening containers and packages easy for you? It was easy with packages with arrows or where they said something like "Open here". If there were no concrete singles on the packaging, however, I often needed adults or peers to help me open food packaging at lunch, for example. At my second elementary school, I recall that during the third grade, when my school started a milk program at lunch, I would frequently ask my peers to help me open my small milk carton.


8. Does cutting food with a knife come naturally to you? I've always been hesitant with cutting foods, especially when it comes to raw meat, because I do consider myself a germaphobe and fear food poisoning. Even with less risky foods such as peppers, I have a hard time cutting the foods straight to ensure they look natural in salads, for example.


9. Have you accidentally dropped food with tongs? It doesn't happen too often, but it has happened. It usually just lands on the counter. When foods have thick layers or aren't well-cut, such as spaghetti, it is hard for me not to pick up too much food at once with tongs. Unfortunately, if I have too much food in the tongs, it becomes harder to place it on my plate.

I play a Jackpot game at Dave & Buster's in Vaughan, Ont. in December 2007 (Photo credit: John Morrison).

10. When playing video games, especially multiplayer, how easily can you keep up with demands? It has always depended on how familiar I am with the game or how much I am into it. I would always have a hard time with game demands and competing with my game partner with new games. However, if I've played a game for at least a few months and am playing with somebody not as familiar with the game, it's a lot easier for me.


Gross motor skills


11. Did you learn to walk at an early age? I learned to walk at an average age. There was nothing about my walking at the time that would raise flags about my development.


12. Have you ever had issues with your gait? I didn't have gait issues in elementary school other than kicking stones when walking on gravel early on, which would annoy some people. However, early in high school, I experienced something almost traumatizing for me. I developed a bounce in my right leg and limped a little with it because of a bad pair of shoes I had. This situation caused me to be more isolated from my peers than I already was. Peers also bullied me a few times for it. Even today, my walking hasn't always been that normal. Sometimes I might limp slightly if I get anxious about it, but it's not a huge deal.


13. Are you a fast runner? I have never been a fast runner. For example, when running laps in gym class, I was frequently third to fifth last out of 25 to 30 kids in my classes. However, it's not like I've never been interested in running. In the eighth grade, I joined the Cross Country team. You may ask, how did I do there? Well, there was one run where I competed against four other peers from my school. I came in fourth place/second last. Then, about a week later, there was a bigger run with about 120 people from different schools. I think I ranked around 95th place. Therefore, my running speed has often been below average, but it's not a major weakness.


14. Are you a good swimmer? I was in Kindergarten when I took my first swimming lesson. Admittedly, at this time, I was a little over-excited and instantly jumped in the pool on my first lesson, but sank because I didn't yet develop floating or treading in the water. My dad, who wanted to watch my lessons, had to save me. I was mostly scared of swimming in deep water for at least a few years. However, with help from my parents and swimming instructors, I developed skills to become more comfortable in the water. I was still below average for my age, though. For example, when I was seven, I was placed in a swimming group of four to five-year-olds, and even then, I struggled with some skills, particularly with jumping and diving. However, my swimming evaluations slowly got better.


I swim in the Atlantic Ocean at St. Maarten in March 2017 (Photo credit: John Morrison).

15. When did you learn to ride your bike without training wheels? Because of my balance issues, this did not come naturally to me. I look back to a Simpsons quote from the episode, Stark Raving Dad, where Lisa Simpson and Michael Jackson sing that "The training wheels come off your bike" at eight. That certainly wasn't true for me. I was around 10 when I could finally bike around my neighbourhood without training wheels, and even then, I would occasionally fall to the ground. I wouldn't have this issue when biking today, however.


16. Can you rollerblade or skateboard? I have attempted to do so in the past, but I was never particularly interested in rollerblading or skateboarding. I was more into riding my bike. When I was a child, I would frequently see peers do skateboard tricks, and I would wonder, "How do they even do that?"


17. Can you do a hula hoop? If there were a reason to dread gym obstacle courses, using a hula hoop would be it. I couldn't do a hula hoop at all, no matter how much I tried to move my hips. I recall in elementary school, when I first learned that Hoops For Heart was a thing for older grades after Jump Rope For Heart, I was horrified because I thought Hoops For Heart meant using hula hoops when it meant playing basketball. Thankfully, I was relatively okay at basketball.


18. Did skipping with a jump rope come naturally in elementary school? If someone else were turning the rope, I would always do well, even early on. However, turning the rope myself meant more motor control with both my hands and feet. At first, I struggled badly with jumping while turning the rope, but by the time I was around seven, I could skip well on my own.


19. What was playing sports for you like in the early years? I was never into sports like my younger brother was. However, for about four years between when I was four and eight, I participated in a sports program at my neighbourhood's recreation centre almost every Saturday. I'll admit that while I wasn't the greatest at sports, especially when having to work as a team, my instructor did say that I was one of the best dribblers in the group when playing basketball. For a lot of elementary school, I was bad at sports but generally enjoyed gym class.


20. Have you ever played or tried out in any sports teams? When I was around six or seven, my younger brother took part in his first soccer team. My brother playing soccer inspired me to do the same because I wanted to be like my brother. However, when I tried to play soccer, it didn't go well for me. I couldn't understand all of the rules. Fast forward to seventh grade, I developed an increased interest in basketball and wanted to do more extracurricular activities. I tried out for my school's basketball team, and while my parents and teachers were proud of me for doing so, I did make a few mistakes, mostly because the tryouts gave me a lot of anxiety. My peers were annoyed with me during tryouts, and I didn't make the first cut.


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