How can an adult improve their motor skills?

Page 1 of 1 [ 12 posts ] 

ResilientBrilliance
Toucan
Toucan

User avatar

Joined: 22 Nov 2013
Gender: Female
Posts: 280

18 Jul 2022, 8:52 am

I only found out about autism as an adult so I never had any intervention as a child. A few years ago I saw an occupational therapist specifically for help with fine motor skills. She observed me as I tied my shoes, manipulated small objects and some other tasks. She said I was fine. But I'm not fine. I feel like she only said that because I'm an independent adult. It's frustrating because I really need help. I'm physically awkward, clumsy, and have constant muscle weakness and pain. I've had someone make fun of the way I stand which means my physical awkwardness is apparent to others.

I'm thinking about giving occupational therapy a second try. This time I will ask him/ her to go over ALL the motor skills exercises with me regardless of whether they think my skills are fine. I don't know if (s)he will even agree to it. Is this a good idea? Are there options other than occupational therapy? Has anyone successfully improved their motor skills as an adult?



kraftiekortie
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 4 Feb 2014
Gender: Male
Posts: 85,970
Location: Queens, NYC

18 Jul 2022, 10:04 am

I'm a bit clumsy.

I've improved my motor skills gradually over the years.

Some of my clumsiness, it turned out, was caused by my hyperactivity, as manifested when I didn't physically plan what I was going to do---but, instead, just did it. I might, say, throw a ball wildly without thinking about aiming the ball properly.



Dial1194
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 3 Jul 2019
Age: 122
Gender: Male
Posts: 365
Location: Australia

19 Jul 2022, 6:55 am

1) Martial arts. Not even necessarily action-movie type MA; stuff like yoga and Tai Chi and things where you stretch, hold, and move slowly while staying mindful of where all your joints and limbs are.

2) Mentally mode-switching to kinesthetic hyperfocus when moving. This can start off looking like you're moving like an industrial assembly-line robot, because you're paying a lot of attention to things like where your fingers and elbows are going; you're not just tossing off a "move arm back" or "take a step" macro and letting your subconscious fill in the movement (resulting in knocking things off a table or kicking a chair). Sticking with it lets you start moving more smoothly and fluidly without smacking into things (or dropping stuff, or clonking yourself on things), and getting a better feel for when it's OK to let your subconscious move you (generally, when you have a lot of room around you and aren't near a wall) and when you should consciously take over and pay attention more.

3) In general, moving slower and paying more intense attention the closer you (or your hand, or foot, or head) are to things.

4) If you're prone to woolgathering or diving down mental rabbit holes like me, practise parking your body somewhere first, like a chair or in an out-of-the-way corner, so you don't autopilot yourself into door frames or furniture or walk into things on the street, or get stuck in a fugue in a supermarket aisle or office corridor or public thoroughfare.



Dillogic
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 24 Nov 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 9,334

19 Jul 2022, 8:12 am

ResilientBrilliance wrote:
I feel like she only said that because I'm an independent adult. It's frustrating because I really need help. I'm physically awkward, clumsy, and have constant muscle weakness and pain. I've had someone make fun of the way I stand which means my physical awkwardness is apparent to others.


You were probably fine in the context of the tests she was performing. Sorry for your pain (you have any joint issues? That's not too uncommon when it comes to autism). Some people can make fun of anything in the end, so try not to get hung up on that comment; it's just them being jerks. It all depends on what you're clumsy with and why you're clumsy with such when it comes to the right therapy. Identify the problem, and there'll no doubt be exercises out there to help with such.

When I had to strengthen my balance issues from vestibular damage, it didn't rely on strength training, for example. It was mostly just basic movements involved with balance and gaze exercises. Which helped both the dizziness and trouble with balance. Whereas someone with say, the inability to walk from peripheral neuropathy, will require more physical training (I know someone that went though rehabilitation for such). Both had a cause, weakness, and exercises improved them.



Dear_one
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 2 Feb 2008
Age: 74
Gender: Male
Posts: 5,568
Location: Where the Great Plains meet the Northern Pines

19 Jul 2022, 9:30 am

Even MS can be overcome with fierce concentration. One trick that I have always used is to do fine work with direct support for my hand, rather than expecting my whole arm to be steady. However, I see keyboard players dancing, which upsets even the shoulders. Maybe that would be a good way to practice everything.



ToughDiamond
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Sep 2008
Age: 70
Gender: Male
Posts: 9,562

19 Jul 2022, 5:14 pm

I agree it'd help to find out which particular motor skills are lacking. Don't know if it's feasible to find out all about it online and successfully DIY-test yourself. If not then it's an expert job which you could probably get done for a fee if not for nothing. Or you could just take note when your motor skill deficiencies cause you to make a mistake and try to figure out very specifically what you can't do.

Once you know what the problem tasks are, I think practice can help. My behaviour isn't as clumsy as it used to be, though a big part of the reason is probably that I tend to rearrange my environment for minimum accidents, but I've also learned things such as "never walk past that computer without checking that you're not going to trip over the cable," or more broadly, "don't move suddenly." I guess I've had to learn to recognise unsafe situations and to make a particular effort to keep part of my focus on my surroundings instead of my usual practice of focussing on just the thing I'm trying to do. It's said that yoga can help to correct balance problems.



KimD
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 May 2013
Gender: Female
Posts: 533

19 Jul 2022, 5:36 pm

There are a bazillion exercises you could do, depending on your goals--such as strength, range of motion, mobility, balance and coordination, and probably a few others I can't think of since I'm not an OT. It also depends on exactly which body part(s) you really want to target.

Are you concerned about both your fine motor (fingers and hands), and large muscle/total body issues? What sort of stuff gives you the most trouble?

Some kinds of pain can be alleviated by strengthening the surrounding muscles and loosening the tendons and ligaments. Has anyone ever assessed the potential cause(s) of yours?



Twilightprincess
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 28 Sep 2016
Age: 38
Gender: Female
Posts: 8,864
Location: Small Town From Hell

19 Jul 2022, 5:53 pm

I taught myself how to hold a pencil properly as an adult.


_________________
Away.


IsabellaLinton
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 1 Nov 2017
Gender: Non-binary
Posts: 51,127

19 Jul 2022, 8:08 pm

I was going to suggest OT but I see you've tried that.

People have made great suggestions but here are a few extra ideas.
You seem to mention fine motor and gross motor so I'll swing at everything:


-A Neurological workup (EMG, EEG etc) to rule out any underlying conditions
-A Rheumatology exam for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hypermobility and motor control issues)
-An eye exam
-Audiology or ENT (ears)
-Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) or Visual Retraining Therapy
-Physical Therapy (PT)
-Aquatherapy or Aquafitness
-Strength training (weight lifting)
-Dance (even on video)

-New OT Ideas: Assessment for proprioception and interoception deficits

-The OT Astronaut Training program for sensory integration is very helpful:

https://vitallinks.com/course/astronaut-training/

Sorry I can't find a better link, but most OTs follow the program or can link you ^
Check YouTube for "Astronaut Training OT" as well

-Yoga, gymnastics, horseback riding, and other gross motor activities
-Virtual reality glasses
-That thing where you go in a room and float like an astronaut (can't think what it's called)
-Vitamin and Amino Acid supplements (Vitamin B, D, Magnesium, NAC, Omega 3)

I suffered two strokes so I've been through the gamut with all this stuff.
I know it's likely overkill but those are treatments that helped me.
I've done them all and more.

Good luck!



CockneyRebel
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Jul 2004
Age: 48
Gender: Male
Posts: 109,189
Location: On a special base where the Christmas soldiers of the world live

21 Jul 2022, 5:39 pm

Yoga could also help.


_________________
Oberfeldwebel

Age: 48
Gender: Non-Binary
Pronouns: He/Him/His
IQ: 86 and I use all 86 of them.


ResilientBrilliance
Toucan
Toucan

User avatar

Joined: 22 Nov 2013
Gender: Female
Posts: 280

02 Aug 2022, 9:26 pm

KimD wrote:
There are a bazillion exercises you could do, depending on your goals--such as strength, range of motion, mobility, balance and coordination, and probably a few others I can't think of since I'm not an OT. It also depends on exactly which body part(s) you really want to target.

Are you concerned about both your fine motor (fingers and hands), and large muscle/total body issues? What sort of stuff gives you the most trouble?

Some kinds of pain can be alleviated by strengthening the surrounding muscles and loosening the tendons and ligaments. Has anyone ever assessed the potential cause(s) of yours?


I'm not sure precisely what my challenges are but after doing more research on motor skills, I think it's a balance thing. Difficulty with balancing my whole body weight evenly and stabilizing my trunk as I move my limbs. I seem to have a poor concept of gravity and also struggle to process sensory input from my muscles. Fortunately, this does seem like something that can be learned at any age.



ResilientBrilliance
Toucan
Toucan

User avatar

Joined: 22 Nov 2013
Gender: Female
Posts: 280

02 Aug 2022, 9:36 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
I was going to suggest OT but I see you've tried that.

People have made great suggestions but here are a few extra ideas.
You seem to mention fine motor and gross motor so I'll swing at everything:


-A Neurological workup (EMG, EEG etc) to rule out any underlying conditions
-A Rheumatology exam for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hypermobility and motor control issues)
-An eye exam
-Audiology or ENT (ears)
-Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) or Visual Retraining Therapy
-Physical Therapy (PT)
-Aquatherapy or Aquafitness
-Strength training (weight lifting)
-Dance (even on video)

-New OT Ideas: Assessment for proprioception and interoception deficits

-The OT Astronaut Training program for sensory integration is very helpful:

https://vitallinks.com/course/astronaut-training/

Sorry I can't find a better link, but most OTs follow the program or can link you ^
Check YouTube for "Astronaut Training OT" as well

-Yoga, gymnastics, horseback riding, and other gross motor activities
-Virtual reality glasses
-That thing where you go in a room and float like an astronaut (can't think what it's called)
-Vitamin and Amino Acid supplements (Vitamin B, D, Magnesium, NAC, Omega 3)

I suffered two strokes so I've been through the gamut with all this stuff.
I know it's likely overkill but those are treatments that helped me.
I've done them all and more.

Good luck!


Thank you for the detailed response. I have no idea if floating like an astronaut would help me but it does sound like fun either way lol. I actually did mention proprioception to my OT but she didn't seem to do any specific assessment for it. How did you work on your proprioception?