Thursday, July 7, 2011

For a Real Challenge, Try Playing!



The Asperger's traits addressed in this post include:
*Detail orientation
*Perfectionism
*Anxiety and depression
*Difficulty learning to relax

The turning point in my jump-rope skills was not merely the day I put the rope over my head backwards. It was the day a friend gave me very specific how-to instructions. In fact, years later, when my mom wanted to teach me double Dutch (jumping two ropes at once), I begged her to explain in words when and how I was to jump in. "Just jump in! Just try!" she told me over and over, but I'm convinced that I would have learned faster if she had told me how in words.

I remember how relieved I was to find out that Red Rover was not such a complicated game once it was explained in detail. Neither was 4-square, though I hung back from 4-square until my fourth-grade teacher took pity on me and coaxed me to join. Once she told me what was going to happen next in every possible 4-square scenario, I was good! (Not good at playing 4-square, but good at participating.)

For some of the simpler playground games, I somehow guessed what to do to join in, but not without exerting far more brain power than it took me to read aloud from a book. I was 6. Which should have come more naturally to me? Playing simple games with children my own age or reading children's classics unaided? We're not talking picture books. We're talking books like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Ramona the Brave, and the Nancy Drew series.

Many 6-year-olds are still learning that /ph/ makes the /f/ sound, and playing dodge ball with the best of them. But I still hate dodge ball, and my one cheerful experience with kickball came in 11th grade. I considered myself blessed to learn that many Asperger's people have poor coordination combined with a perfectionistic streak that makes athletic games tedious instead of fun.

How this topic applies to Christian living:
Psalm 139:14
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.