Monday, November 8, 2010

Little Boy, Little Boy, What Do You See?

Thinking In Pictures: and Other Reports from My Life with Autism
Temple Grandin, perhaps the most
well-known and widely read person
with autism on the planet, explains
her comprehension process as hearing
or reading a word and then mentally
flipping through all her visual referents
for that word. One reason I favor strong
picture support in the books I suggest
for readers with autism is because 
such a process takes time and
attention away from the material
presented. If the picture comes first,
the reader may read the words without
having to screen a whole gallery of
Of course, I don't know if my child
or yours visualizes the way Ms. Grandin
does. Judging by his descriptions and
illustrations, my son has mind's eye
trouble (an ailment hilariously described
by humorist Robert Benchley) and sees
very few details in his head at all.
He still works with the "Visualizing
and Verbalizing" curriculum at school
(see August 25 post). But he wants
pictures of the characters-now,
Hamlet and the Tales of Sniggery Woods
Yesterday I tried to have him read
Hamlet and the Tales of Sniggery
Woods to himself, a lavishly 
illustrated volume. But to my boy,
a page is a page, even if it has just
one word on it, and no way was he
going to read a chapter with 30 
pages. So I read it to him after dinner
together with his little brother and
my big guy reading Hamlet's 
words and thoughts (to open a cafe,
or not open a cafe, that was the
question). The reading went well
with a minor glitch when King
Heron showed up in the text
before he showed up in the 
pictures. "Where's King Heron?"
and back through the pages
he went as his brother screeched.
He illustrates stories with 
characters in stasis, never in 
Stasis-I can understand wanting 
that in a random and chaotic 
But what does he see?

-Spectrum Mom

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