Friday, December 2, 2011

Smart Kids

       One thing that I feel causes ASD children to fall behind is the so-called "photographic memory". When a child in early grade school is getting good grades and talking like a little professor parents naturally get exited and start thinking of how to pay for their college tuition and getting them help academically seems far from necessary. We need to pay attention however, a good rote memory is certainly a good thing and is helpful in passing tests especially in grade school. But it there is more rote than meaning than this could come back to haunt them later in their schooling. There are many reasons why a person's grades can start to fall, but when they start to fall in some subjects more than others, esp. English, Literature, or Social Science, than it may be good to examine if they have been learning as much as we thought. It's not to imply that Autistic people can't excel in these topics and are destined to all be engineers, but while people may find it exiting that a little kid knows the Declaration of Independence and maybe even the constitution of Bolivia by heart (along with dates and times), it is important to make sure they understand the significance of all these facts. The purpose of an education is not to help people win "Trivial Pursuit" or a game show (although winning a million would be nice). I spent grades 1 to 3 in ATP "gifted classes" before I switched to Catholic school. I did OK, but by 5th and 6th grade I started to get C's in English and Social Studies. The ironic thing is Social Sciences ended up being what I got my BA in with a 3.012 average. Not really dean's list or graduate school material but still a turnaround. Math on the other hand I was a whiz at in grade school even though I found it boring. Yet from Algebra II on I ended up struggling and taking the minimum to get through college. One-dimensional math I did in my head but the higher maths were like a whole different subject.

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