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lostmom
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22 May 2015, 7:53 am

My 30 yr old Aspie is mowing the lawn for me because he wanted some money for a new processor for his computer and we didn't want to just han over $300. So he is mowing and he does a really crappy job: misses big patches and doesn't notice unless I point it out to him. Then goes back and still misses part of the patch I pointed out. My question is: is this his Asperger's? or does he just not care about it so he does a sloppy job. I asked him and got his usual shoulder shrug and no verbal response. If it is his Aspie's, how do I teach him to do this job correctly?



bearded1
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22 May 2015, 8:20 am

I kind of do that same thing but I am not lazy it is just that I hurry to get things done and overlook things. However he could just be lazy.



umfum
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22 May 2015, 8:56 am

Lol, I think that sounds like laziness, also like he doesn't care about doing it right as the task itself is not important to him. That said, I've never had to mow a lawn (I do not have a garden), so I do not know for sure...



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22 May 2015, 8:57 am

That said, I would advise showing him how to do it, if he has not mowed a lawn before. Perhaps he does not know how to do it right. I need people to show me how to do things like that.



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22 May 2015, 9:33 am

It could be laziness, yes.

It also could be the autism though.

Could be a bit like me; I'm just really spacey all the time. Dont mean to be, but I am. So I end up being absentminded and not entirely "there" when doing a mundane task (and even sometimes when it's something interesting instead of mundane) and will start to just miss stuff over and over even when it's in plain sight.

That being said, maybe talk to him about it a bit. See what his mood is and if the task is frustrating him at all (which can really mess things up).



CuddleHug
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22 May 2015, 9:50 am

That would take a much more detailed analysis of his autistic traits to determine his capability with performing such tasks. However given that his response is not frustration based it is unlikely to be because he cannot accomplish the task but rather that it is absolutely meaningless to him. I am a perfectionist so I have the exact opposite problem I have to be told to stop because apparently I’m spending too much time trying to get one little thing perfect and as a result the whole effort is suffering. I can also lack context so I’m not sure what to do and thus due to perfectionism I do everything. I need to have a clear rule for where the yard ends and what appropriately cut grass is supposed to look like or I keep going forever at least as long as that little tank of gas in the mower lasts. So clearly established context of location to work in and clear condition that must be met that defines completion. Saying 'mow the law' is woefully inaccurate.

If it is due to autistic traits rather than simply not caring you will have to identify what they are before attempting to develop a strategy on how he can do it properly.



Last edited by CuddleHug on 22 May 2015, 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

Caelum
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22 May 2015, 9:53 am

It's not laziness. Mowing the lawn sucks. I look at other people's lawns and I have no idea how they are able to mow them so perfectly. I'm lucky if I can at least keep mine well enough not to have my mother in law say anything about it. I always mow it the same way every time, and I go in a square from the outside in. When you are trying to help him learn to mow it right, be understanding and relaxed about it and make sure he is going in a systematic way. Make sure he knows that there should be a wheel width's worth of overlap on every pass. All the usual thinks that should be intuitive really aren't.
Also, it really is easy to miss patches. There is so much sensory overload in mowing. Cut grass has a unique smell, as does a running motor, mixed together with all the usual smells from outside that he probably doesn't experience very often, then there are sounds, nature sounds mixed with a loud lawn mower. I always sweat as well, which is unpleasant, the grass dust sticks to my skin and is very irritating and sweat runs into my eyes, my head starts itching, and then my sinuses act up a bit. When I say mowing the lawn sucks, it really sucks. Then, I'm looking around at all the unique things outside because let's be honest, I'm usually only outside long enough to get to or from my car, so yeah, it's pretty hard to tell if I'm missing a patch.
Give your son a break, let him know when he has missed a patch, and don't be mad at him about it. Of course he's going to miss patches, it happens and it's ok. He'll go back over them.
A couple things since you asked for advice on how to help him do the job correctly. Make sure you are focused on the lawn being mowed, and not how he is mowing. If you expect him to do the job a certain way it will just lead to frustration for both of you. Instead you need to focus on the finished product. Once you've taught him how to mow, then however he does it is fine, as long as the lawn is mowed at the end. I would recommend just letting him go, not watching him, not paying any attention to him and letting him do it. Have him come get you when he thinks he is done and then you can inspect and make sure there are no patches. Repeat the process till the lawn is finished. Also, it would be ideal if you could have your son be the only one who mows the lawn. If he mows the lawn every Saturday morning, and he knows it is coming and just part of his routine, it will be much easier for him than when it springs up as just some hoop he has to jump through to get something else he wants. I hate hoops, but chores that are part of my routine are generally easier. Eventually, he'll be hopefully be able to spot the patches he has missed on his own and get the yard done.
Also, if you have a perfect lawn, with the diagonal mow pattern with perfect rows, maybe give your son a different chore. It's possible he could get to that point eventually, but it will take some doing and you'd have to live with his best effort on your lawn in the mean time.
Anyway, just some thoughts.
Good luck and stay safe.



elysian1969
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22 May 2015, 10:15 am

Mowing the lawn was one of the few chores my Dad didn't insist that I do. My gross motor skills are so poor that he was afraid I'd somehow manage to chop off my feet. I did do my share of cooking, cleaning and laundry and even some minor car repairs (he owns an automotive shop) but never, ever anything involving the lawn mower, trimmer, circular saw or chain saw.

Mowing's one of the few things my husband actually does around the house. I can do it, and get it all mowed, but he's picky about the "perfect lines" and I can't do that. So I leave that to him.

There are some household chores I am not as picky about. Dusting is one- I hate dusting because my husband smokes :eew: and you can dust one day and everything is covered with dust again the next. I have a hard time being fussy about something if it's something you can never really get under control. Your son may feel that way about cutting grass two or three times a week too. If my husband didn't do it, I'd probably have to find and pay some kid to come and do it. I really don't like yard work, getting sweaty or being out in the sun. :heart: :skull:


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btbnnyr
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22 May 2015, 11:27 am

He doesn't care about mowing the lawn, he just wants to do it and get the money.
This is normal behavior for most people, including autistic people, and also neurotypical people.


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22 May 2015, 11:46 am

You could try only paying him when the job is done to your satisfaction and see what happens. If it is laziness, I would think he either would not do it at all or get it together and do it well.


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Aniihya
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22 May 2015, 11:51 am

I don't mow grass with a lawn mower. Nowadays I do it with a large pair of scissors because then I can see what I missed and ensure an even trim. But it takes a bit more time.



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22 May 2015, 1:30 pm

lostmom wrote:
My question is: is this his Asperger's? or does he just not care about it so he does a sloppy job.


Neither. Mowing the grass takes a lot more finesse and skill than other household chores. Some people just aren't that great at it. It doesn't have to be attributed to a disability, it's just a matter of not having an aptitude for it.

I wouldn't quibble over it. If you're really unhappy with the way he does it, find some other way for him to earn money.



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22 May 2015, 7:29 pm

There are a lot of people at my place of work who are similarly sloppy or careless or lazy. There's one guy in particular who really annoys me. He would rather sit in his cube watching videos (or surfing the net) than help out on our project. This, while getting paid. Personally, I think this is an issue with values. If you are exchanging your time for compensation, I believe you are obligated to do your best job. Not surprisingly, I don't respect this individual (at all).

In your particular situation, for your son, instead of offering him money in exchange for a job, I would suggest paying him per hour. This way, there is no benefit to finishing early.



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22 May 2015, 7:35 pm

That's just laziness. Don't let him use Aspergers as a poor excuse to not do a job well. It's bad press for all of us!

how do I teach him to do this job correctly?

Take him outside and walk around to all of the shoddy work. Don't patronize or put him down, but carefully and thoroughly explain all of your expectations. Then, make him fix it.

And don't pay him until he's done a good job.


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Aniihya
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22 May 2015, 10:28 pm

Rocket: That wasn't a very good comparison. If the guy was refusing to mow the lawn then you could compare it to your colleague not working. A more fitting example would be, your colleague got the job to write a protocol and makes it very brief and leave out about 25% of crucial content. That would be a more adequate comparison since it attributes to sloppiness and it is something that somebody doesn't really do regularly.