Monday, June 1, 2009

Gifts of Autism

We can spend a long time discussing how things can be hard with autism. For the most part, I prefer 'different'. Some things are actually quite a challenge but today I want to take it the other direction. Is there anything good about autism? Actually there is a positive spin.

I believe just about every autistic I've met has had some kind of distinct special skill. Usually it's based on their special interest but some go above and beyond even that. Take Daniel Temmet for example an his book, Born on a Blue Day. Daniel is a mathematic prodigy and they're still trying to figure him out. He sees shapes and numbers as textures and composites. He's capable of doing fantastic problems almost instantly.

Check out Matt Savage, you won't believe it but he taught himself to play piano. A feat that famous player Al Stewart just had to see for himself. In this video he plays the compelx piece, "Year of the Cat". Check it out:

Then try Jason McElwain who has a 90% accuracy ratio in shooting baskets. This boy made the news for firing a successful 6 three pointer shots in a row. It was the last game of the season and I bet they wish they put him in sooner!

I took the Global Assessment Functioning test in Nebraska to see what my level of general function is. It came up at 40%, which is why I'm on disability. Don't let that fool you. I do have capabilities that I am working on to bypass my disabilities. I also took a test of my skills at Vocational Rehab. My strengths came up in protection jobs and writing jobs.

On the protection jobs, I have 19 years experience in working security and 6 of that was actual law enforcement with a national certification. Yes, that was in Animal Control, but let me tell you that, because of how they do it in Lincoln, I've been on everything from murder scene to drug bust. I have stories, but they'll have to come later. I've always been interested in helping and protecting others. On investigations, I became known for finding small details that led me to closing cases and finding people. Those details were overlooked by others, but seemed so much larger to me. My sensitivities to odors and even sounds gave me an edge when handling cases that could have been more questionable.

On my writing I have had a lot of wonderful comments and compliments. I am very thankful and the test showed that I had this capability. I always have, so far as I know. Mind you, I don't want to be a braggart, but if you have it use it, right? I guess this is why I've had the interest in writing stories since very young.

The one area they didn't test me on is art. I am an artist and a great deal of my work can be seen at my myspace page in photos here. Oh and here.

My son, Denver has quite a bit of skill himself. He likes to build things. He's constantly surprising me with what he can do with common cardboard. I have witnessed his excelling at this skill above all others. He makes dungeons complete with pitfalls and traps. I wouldn't be surprised if he winds up becoming an engineer like his grandfather.

Of course there's famous autistics like Bill Gates and Keaneau Reeves. You can find a long list of people either confirmed or considered autistic and all of them with their own interesting gifts. For that matter, I think that autistics should be given a chance with those gifts to do good things for their communities. For all we know, an autistic finance team could save our economy.

I know, not all autistic show a big ol gift, some never are very clear on it, but I think it's still there somewhere and if you can bring it out, who knows what could happen next?

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