Saturday, February 12, 2011

For being visionary, we're awfully verbose

There is a discussion going on over at a blog by a neurologist at Cracking the Enigma I don't really belong there, I'm just a nerdy housewife. So I'm a just gonna let my opines out here:

What is it about the DSM that pisses me off? Everything is seen as a defect instead of a difference. Oh, days of tying up left hands, BEGONE!!

So auties line up cars as children. Visualize cars in the real world. How do you "see" them?

How about lining up cans in the grocery store? If you think visually, you also represent your reality visually.

There is a bias via the auditory thinkers who need social interaction--they learn by hearing-- versus the visual thinker who does not. In the dictionary you come up with: impractical, impracticable, fancied, illusory, chimerical, unrealistic for synonyms of visionary, which I always thought of as a high complement. The antonym is practical ( from earlier practic, from French pratique, via Late Latin from Greek praktikos, from prassein to experience, negotiate, perform) People who think in words do have a bias. Negotiation is key,  If one doesn't think within the framework of words and with others, they are defective. 

In my estimation, these same defective people also tend to be inventors, progressives, activists, artists, writers:  people who live outside themselves in order to help or change humanity. The thought, rather than the interaction, is imperative.  No wonder this world is overwhelming  to autists.  They, in reality, live in a different world. In the autist world, words are a tool, not a necessity. Feelings and perceptions, the engines of sentient  responsiveness to the world, do not need words. In order to interact with those feelings, order to find a place in the world,  those thoughts must be given the structure of language. If you can't develop language to a degree to be able to interact with those who prefer are seen as difficult, strange, cold, needing "fixed" when in essence you are only being true to yourself.


In another vein, I had become interested in alternative ways to teach my son how to write an essay.  I can remember 30 years ago, mind-maps were beginning to be the rage in special ed classroom.  I could never quite understand what they were.  We used  Roman numerals and the alphabet to give structure to our notes, our papers--making an "outline" was key.  The mind map is a very different, and very visual way to structure a paper.  (You do know most bright kids in special ed are there because they don't learn the way schools teach.)

Here is an excellent, excellent example of a very visual mindmap. It is about the life and times of William Shakespeare.  PLEASE, do go look at it.  You will love it, and you will gain a good understanding of a visual representation of an outline.  It is fantastic, but I couldn't copy it here. It reminds me so much of the great comics Ben used to draw.

Lord help those who think kinesthetically, probably the least studied way of teaching. 


Jon Brock said...

Hey, nerdy housewives are my target demographic!!!

I'm always very grateful for your comments. Please keep them coming. It's great to get insights from people with real first hand experience.

I have to admit that it's very easy to slip into pejoratives when talking about autism. There's definitely a fine line between recognising the difficulties a person may have and failing to recognise their other (often compensatory) qualities.

Toni Krasnic said...

Great article! A quote along these lines by Albert Einstein: "The words of the language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in my mechanisms of thought. The physical entities which seem to serve as elements in thought are certain signs and more or less clear images which can be voluntarily combined."

r.b. said...

Thank you Dr. Brock, and Toni.Y'all made this old lady's day!

Dr. Brock; some people see autism as a social, not behaviral construct: the child is punished in order to make him fit a mold that makes them easier to manipulate. The physical abuse inherent in the history and present practices of Applied Behavioral Analysis lends to this. Why is it imperative that autists be made to "normalize"? Do we expect the blind to act like seeing people? No, they are taught or figure out adaptions specific to their differences that allow them to live in a "seeing" world.

Think about it, is "Normalcy" something you want to achieve for yourself or your child? Why not a life well led, instead?

Toni: That is wonderful!! So many people wonder if Einstein was on the spectrum, and there it is, in his own words.

In my defense of housewifism, it has given me a lot of time to observe (up to 24 hours a day), study, and reflect on the label of autism as applied to someone I love. My background in Special Ed and curiosity of all things Science have led me lots of places.

vmgillen said...

The APA - Feh! Read Thomas Szaas' Politics of Insanity - while written more than 40 years ago Szaas is coming around again...

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