Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Different Perspective

Before beginning this post, I need to bring up a couple of qualifiers. Kevin found an article on one of his preferred websites, FreeRepublic.com (we don't see eye to eye politically, but he finds some interesting stuff here) that he brought to my attention. I planned to read this posting, but never got around to it and now neither he nor I can find it. Therefore, I can't specifically tell you what was said or whether there was a referral to a more accepted scientific journal or otherwise to provide more of an explanation. And, again, since I never read the article, I can't tell you whether I agree with the way things are presented. But I've been thinking about it on and off since he told me about it about 1-2 months ago. I just wish I could have found the original article, both to actually read what it says and to provide a link here. Kevin did say that he remembered that it was the perspective of this one member who pointed out that they WEREN'T an expert and didn't remember any links with supporting documentation. (boy, that's a lot of bunk, but it's the truth)

This posting talked about autism as, not a disability, but as an evolutionary step forward. When he first mentioned this, I was extremely skeptical, but as I said, I've been thinking about this a lot, and find it a very interesting viewpoint (regardless of whether it's true or not). When one thinks about many of the brilliant and revolutionary minds in human history, many of them are now thought to have been autistic (W.A. Mozart, A. Einstein, V. VanGogh, etc.). These "savants" were very one-sided -- they excelled in one area and were mediocre in others. History has proven their brilliance.

Per dictionary.com, the word "Savant" means a person of profound or extensive learning; learned scholar (savant). Whenever I think about examples of savants, there seems to be evidence that they are/were autistic. Is there something there?

We see similar behaviors in many autistic children. There is often an area where they excel. Their academic experience and success is very one-sided, often (but not always) towards math/sciences or the arts. And there are many adults who can say the same (whether or not they were ever diagnosed to be anywhere on the spectrum, either as children or as adults). Is this a sign that we are destined in the next thousand years to become more "specialists" rather than the "generalists" we have the expectation for today?

I'm not trying to say that we need to stop working with these kids and push their differences -- to the contrary, these kids need the help to be functional members of our society in order to survive and be happy. But these kids ARE special. As Mom to 2 of them, I know this for a fact. I love to watch all 3 of my children grow and appreciate the milestones that each of them reach. I'm just understanding that for some kids, some things are more of an achievement than they are to others. I try to celebrate all 3 of my brilliant kids because of who they individually are. Every day.

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