Wednesday, June 06, 2012

asperger's and how to tie shoelaces

I was just reading posts on WrongPlanet, and many young parents have the question "When will my child EVER learn to tie their shoelaces?"

My son is now 16.  Yes, he can tie his shoelaces.  He can tie his shoelaces VERY, VERY slowly.  Painfully slowly.  It was probably taking three minutes to tie his shoes.  Doesn't sound like a lot of time, but when it makes you late for gym, it's a problem.

My older son at this age never tied his shoes.  Well, I lie.  He tied them ONCE.  From then on, he would just slip his tennis shoes on, never having to tie the shoelaces again.  Did I mention that this son also has aspects of Asperger's?  Difference is, he learned ahead of time how to solve the problem.  SLIP THE SHOES ON.  Don't always tie the shoelaces . . . keep them loosely tied, so that you can just slip the tennis shoes on like slippers.


So that's what my younger son does now.  It has solved all sorts of problems.

Throughout the summer, for a little bit of fun, I think we will have races to see who can tie shoelaces faster.  This falls into the "practice skills 100's of times, and they will come" area . . . because tying shoes quickly is one of the things that marks adulthood, and can socially set teenagers apart from others.  I think that it's ok to keep practicing things, as long as it's in a relaxed setting and doesn't cause tension.  But, if the skill of tieing shoelaces doesn't come quickly, tieing shoelaces once and slipping tennis shoes on is a good backup plan.


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