Dysgraphia and hands-on work

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Wdozier
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Dysgraphia and hands-on work

Post by Wdozier »

New here, hello!
Just a quick rundown of my situation: as someone who was born prematurely and as a result, am on the autism spectrum as well as have dysgraphia, accomplishing tasks which require a high degree of fine motor skills has always been a challenge. I managed to make my way through school and college with minimal accommodations, but now in my mid 20s, I'm facing my greatest challenge in my pursuit to work on repairing musical instruments. As a brass player, the design and building of horns has always been intriguing to me and I have a passion for not only playing them, but also learning about them as well. So, I thought, that despite my conditions, I'd try my hand at apprenticing in instrument repair. As you might expect it is not been going ideally and has been incredibly difficult for me to coordinate my hands to to this very precise work. My instructor is aware of my condition and is willing to accommodate me, but frankly. I'm not ever sure what we can do differently to help ease my struggles, so I figured I'd reach out here for help.
In learning these new skills, I have noticed three main issues:
-I have a timid disposition when it comes to trying many of these hands-on repair techniques for the first time. The fear of messing something up causes me to be hesitant or too light to the touch with many of these techniques, causing the results to be unsatisfactory and my work to be slow.
-I have a difficulty retaining any of this new information because it is so abstract. I've noticed over the years that I only seem to understand something new if I'm able to compare or relate it to an existing familiar concept, but because this subject matter is so new, I have basically nothing that is remotely familiar enough to anchor this barrage of new info to, so it often ends up going in one ear and out the other.
-General lack of coordination. This one is pretty obvious. I can see the skill at hand demonstrated and understand it conceptually, but as soon as the tools are put I my hands to replicate it, everything falls apart, and suddenly,despite understanding everything I just observed, i'm unable to reproduce the same techniques with my own hands.
So, all that being said I am reaching out here to see if there are personal experiences that anyone here has had to hep overcome a similar situation, as well as any formal resources I could look into to improve these skills, such as any hand exercises I could do in my free time to improve my coordination, or ways I could communicate to my instructor to improve communication, etc.
While not necessarily Dyspraxia, per se, I felt it was related enough to post here and see what resources were available.
Thank you for your help

Tom fod
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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 9:05 pm
Location: SW UK

Re: Dysgraphia and hands-on work

Post by Tom fod »

Wdozier wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:49 am
New here, hello!
Just a quick rundown of my situation: as someone who was born prematurely and as a result, am on the autism spectrum as well as have dysgraphia, accomplishing tasks which require a high degree of fine motor skills has always been a challenge. I managed to make my way through school and college with minimal accommodations, but now in my mid 20s, I'm facing my greatest challenge in my pursuit to work on repairing musical instruments. As a brass player, the design and building of horns has always been intriguing to me and I have a passion for not only playing them, but also learning about them as well. So, I thought, that despite my conditions, I'd try my hand at apprenticing in instrument repair. As you might expect it is not been going ideally and has been incredibly difficult for me to coordinate my hands to to this very precise work. My instructor is aware of my condition and is willing to accommodate me, but frankly. I'm not ever sure what we can do differently to help ease my struggles, so I figured I'd reach out here for help.
In learning these new skills, I have noticed three main issues:

-I have a timid disposition when it comes to trying many of these hands-on repair techniques for the first time. The fear of messing something up causes me to be hesitant or too light to the touch with many of these techniques, causing the results to be unsatisfactory and my work to be slow.

-I have a difficulty retaining any of this new information because it is so abstract. I've noticed over the years that I only seem to understand something new if I'm able to compare or relate it to an existing familiar concept, but because this subject matter is so new, I have basically nothing that is remotely familiar enough to anchor this barrage of new info to, so it often ends up going in one ear and out the other.

-General lack of coordination. This one is pretty obvious. I can see the skill at hand demonstrated and understand it conceptually, but as soon as the tools are put I my hands to replicate it, everything falls apart, and suddenly, despite understanding everything I just observed, i'm unable to reproduce the same techniques with my own hands.

So, all that being said I am reaching out here to see if there are personal experiences that anyone here has had to hep overcome a similar situation, as well as any formal resources I could look into to improve these skills, such as any hand exercises I could do in my free time to improve my coordination, or ways I could communicate to my instructor to improve communication, etc.

While not necessarily Dyspraxia, per se, I felt it was related enough to post here and see what resources were available.
Thank you for your help
Hi there and welcome.
I'm assuming you mean Dyspraxia rather than dysgraphia? Spell checkers are often all too capable of changing what we mean!

Dyspraxia and other Neurodivergent conditions in the same general family can and do affect fine and/or gross motor control. Equally we can experience short term memory and/or auditory processing challenges. I think you're very much blazing the trail here and at least trying to put two fingers up to the notion that dyspraxics /you cannot work in this field. That of course does not lessen the enormity of the fear you have about getting it wrong and ruining a piece. Dyspraxia and Neurodiversity so often deliver a heavy weight of performance anxiety and associated brain fog.

Often with these sort of things we need to put in many more hours of practise and/or find our own technique to achieve the desired end result. Can you get hold of old musical instruments/parts or at least brass stock to practise on in your spare time so that you are able to refine your sense of touch and develop your feel for the metal and improve your sense of the degree of margin you have when manipulating instrument parts. Can you record the demonstration so you can watch and analyse it? Are there You Tube videos showing/describing the techniques you need to master and be able to apply?
Tom
Moderator/Administrator

With a foot full of bullets I tried to run faster but I just hobbled on to the next disaster.
(from Peter and the Test Tube Babies, Foot Full of Bullets)

Wdozier
New member - welcome them!
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:25 am

Re: Dysgraphia and hands-on work

Post by Wdozier »

Thanks for the reply.
I actually did mean dysgraphia, which I know is not the same as dyspraxia however, I figured since they can affect fine motor function in comparable ways, I still thought that inquiring to this forum could be helpful.

I do have access to spare parts for practice, however my current living situation (1 bedroom apartment) is not suitable to set up a work bench area where I can actually work on them in my down time. So, whatever I could do while at home would have to be limited to some kind of hand exerciser and or miming with similarly shaped objects to the tools I'm working with.

I have also been making recordings as well as watching as many video demonstrations as I can find on youtube, however the problem seems to lie in my inability to transfer an observed skill into my own motions effectively.

Tom fod
Administrator
Posts: 2411
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 9:05 pm
Location: SW UK

Re: Dysgraphia and hands-on work

Post by Tom fod »

I'm afraid I have only a knowledge of dysgraphia (there is not much out there!), other than it's generally known to have a detrimental effect on handwriting, However, that is as much an over-simplification and disservice as saying "Dyspraxia is being clumsy and having coordination difficulties. You will just grow out of it".

What I will say is that dysgraphia, dyspraxia, dyslexia ADHD etc can and do often co-exist. The difficulty you describe shouts/screams Dyspraxia far louder than it does dysgraphia!

Regrettably hand exercises, while they might give some sense of improvement gain, will not fully 'cure' the difficulty and I would strongly advise you are very careful about paying money to anyone who claims they can. DORE and other brain remapping type programmes are peddled to desperate people, often parents, who have been relieved of hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds with wild promises of a miracle cure.
.
Tom
Moderator/Administrator

With a foot full of bullets I tried to run faster but I just hobbled on to the next disaster.
(from Peter and the Test Tube Babies, Foot Full of Bullets)

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