Saturday, February 19, 2011

Understanding Autism and My Son's Amazing Brain.

Kid Frank

Link:Where does this piece go? -Elisa Leavitt

We watched a show this morning about a man with Asperger Syndrome who had savant skills relating to the calendar and art and history... in light of my findings yesterday that my son "sees" numbers in a 3-dimensional curiosity was to levels unimaginable.
This morning I began a new journey into understanding his mind and how his own processing is.
I placed a calendar in front of him on his lap and gave him a marker and asked him to show me what he "sees" in his mind when looking at the calendar. It was open to the month of February of this year. (2011)
I asked him best I could to please tell me with his words what it is that he is 'seeing' .
What followed was nothing short of AWESOME.
George-"my brain looks like a computer when I look at the page."
(begins drawing numbers seeming random on each date.)
on February 22nd he drew a circle with a cross through it.
Feb 12th he drew a stick figure with a man in a tall hat (obv abraham lincoln.)
no marks on valentines day...
He mentioned seeing symbols and feeling frustrated he couldnt draw what his brain thinks.
I calmly ask him to explain the symbols... no response.
I asked him what his brain is doing. He says he sees a "robot arm" building the month.
Not on top of each other, from left to right. (makes sound effect and contorts his arm in a way to show me how this looks.)
I asked him about the days of the week. He says calmly "some days look the same but sunday, monday and tuesday look like a symbol that turns into the word." as he begins to draw a scribble above each word. He says very matter of factly-- "they change......... some of them change."
He then put the marker away, and was done.
one brief encounter that might have actually changed the way I view every approach I make with my child.

Here are a couple of books that have really helped me understand my son and autism more and more.

I read this book last year, and I thought it was an amazing look into Asperger's and how it effects someone on the spectrum. John Elder Robison recalls, from his perspective, his life from childhood into becoming an adult. I found it fascinating to read his words that paint his life. What a smart man. So talented. After reading this book, it made me think about how many other people I probably grew up with that have Asperger's and might not even know it. Robison himself wasn't diagnosed until he was well into his adult years, that is also part of why I was so enthralled with his story. I reccomend this book highly.

I borrowed this book from a friend recently. I opened it...and started reading. Next thing I knew, I was at the last page. It was impossible to put down. Written from the perspective of a mother who's son has autism and the journey their family took to give him the best chances at success in life. You will laugh, you will cry, you will be astonished at the strength this woman has to parent in the midst of chaos. No matter where in life you are at this moment, consider this as your next book on your reading list. I can't say enough good things about this one. This book will teach you more about autism, love, life than you could ever imagine.

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