Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Are you absorbing?
I've heard that individuals with autism think in pictures, not words. Temple Grandin has even written a book (Thinking in Pictures copyright 1995 Random House) describing her very visual way of viewing and interpreting events. My daughter, Beckie, has learned to compensate for the deficits in her working memory by visualizing what she is hearing or reading. Gander Publishing has wonderful resources for "Visualizing and Verbalizing" for reading comprehension and all three of my children experienced this technique with their "Time Flies" history programs. I think being able to make associations helps Beckie retain information, and I observed one such association last week. I had been asked to come and observe some classes and do a bit of educational consultation with the instructors. I went to observe on three different days, and watched the students as they interacted and engaged in a variety of activities. I took notes as I watched the children, and as an assistant in the classes Beckie knew why I was there and saw me taking everything in. When she was leaving to go assist in the classes last week she asked me, "Are you coming in to absorb today?" It took me a moment to realize that she was asking if I was going to come and "observe" again. She corrected herself and said "I mean 'observe'", but I think the association of "absorb" and "observe" is pretty fitting for what she saw me doing. I was observing, by absorbing all I could about the classes and how they were run. In fact, I think if you really want to be observant, you should be absorbing. Thank you, Beckie, for another word picture!