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Autism and enthusiasms

The New York Times has an article on “Reaching an Autistic Teenager” describing an approach for teaching autistic kids, who generally are extremely self-absorbed and difficult to reach. The approach, where teachers and students alike work out how the day will go, with students learning to learn and to interact, sounds fantastic: I would have loved to have been part of that growing up.

Perhaps a reason for my enthusiasm comes from the following line in the article:

Children with autism — especially Asperger’s — are famous for all-consuming interests in Match-box cars, bus maps, train schedules, oscillating fans, Civil War battles, baseball statistics, black holes, dinosaurs, chess, or Star Wars.

Hmmm… for me would be “yes, yes, yes, no, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes”. And perhaps a bonus point for combining two and being fascinated with baseball schedules. You may draw your own conclusions.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. Brian Borchers | October 19, 2008 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Science and engineering academic types are well known for having a very high rate of autism spectrum disorders such as Asperger’s syndrome. The trick is to have been blessed with just enough of it that you can use it to do well at the kind of very intense concentration required to succeed in these disciplines without having so much of it that you can’t deal well with life in general.

    My wife deals with this stuff as a teacher of the gifted, and she says that now she’s had some training in the area she can clearly see some o f these traits in me.

  2. Greg Glockner | October 20, 2008 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Mike: You know enough logic to know that if A->B does not mean that B->A!

  3. Michael Trick | October 20, 2008 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I do know that (that A implies B does not mean B implies A), and had a line to that effect in an earlier version of the post. But I suspect a strong interest in logic is another telling sign, so I decided not to further characterize myself.