Opening door to house with key.
Learning Disabilities

The Ordinary Task I Struggle With as Someone With Limited Hand Dexterity

This piece was originally published on The Mighty on January 14, 2019.

Michelle SteinerJanuary 14, 2019


One of the biggest daily challenges I face is right after I leave my house and step outside. I need to turn the lock on my front door. This ordinary, everyday act others often take for granted is difficult for me. The difficulty is due to the visual perception portion of my learning disability. My evaluations have indicated that I fall into the less than 1 percentile of hand dexterity.

I have stood at the door tearfully, turning the key. The neighbors have probably questioned my sanity. I have not disclosed my disability to them. I called my dad and he tried to guide me over the phone, but to no avail. I chose to go out the back door with an automatic.

Keys have always been an issue. If I am not struggling to use them to unlock a door, I am losing them! In our last apartment, I couldn’t lock the door. I tried getting a key that had a grip in the shape of a butterfly, but I still could not open the door. The landlady couldn’t understand my difficulty.

We vowed when we got a house of our own we would get a door that worked. Things worked for awhile and I was able to lock the door. When we had problems with the lock a few months after we moved in, my husband wanted to buy an expensive keyless lock, but my dad was able to fix the old one with WD-40. This worked until winter set in, making it difficult once again.

My dad showed me how to lock the door by pulling the door in and then turning the key. This strategy works on a few tries, if it’s a good day for me. On the bad days when the visual perception hijacks me, I simply use the back door.
Sure it would be easier to just stay home, and wait for my husband, but I would miss out on so much. My visual perception also leaves me unable to drive.

Today will be another round of fighting with the door and other challenges. However, I won’t let that stop me from living my life. I just have to find another way to do things.

6 thoughts on “

      1. Hello, I stumbled across your post by mistake while I was searching for support groups for adults with LD. I understand the frustration of struggling with seemingly simple tasks, such as keys. Mine are assembling boxes! Lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you for sharing. My life also so to keep my sanity, I don’t always lock. There are locks where you just enter a number.

    So understand the dexterity problem coupled with.losing the keys and the tears!

    Liked by 1 person

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