Saturday, December 5, 2009

Autism - Flashes of Genius

As a child growing up it is very crucial to study and do your homework and always be prepared for tests and to always try your best. When given a paper or book report or reading assignment it is very important to complete it on time and to put forth your best effort. All kids develop at different levels and they all try to live up to their true potential. Knowing how capable you are is something you have to find out for yourself. As a student in school there are many standardized tests we take to measure our level of intelligence and we really have no way of preparing for these examinations. They are meant to determine our level of intelligence and help the school administrators and teachers determine the course of study that is appropriate for their students.

For autistic children it is a bit trickier trying to place them in a suitable classroom setting because for the most part autistic students, primarily asperger's children are highly intelligent but struggle with how they relate to others and how they conduct themselves. It is well established that autistic children who are high functioning should be placed in a challenging class room environment where they won't get bored but usually are not mainstreamed right away because of their social difficulties so there is a fine line teachers, school administrators and parents have to walk when trying to determine what is best for their child. We have experienced this all throughout Matthew's schooling as he was always considered intelligent but had difficulties with relating to others so he was always placed in self contained classroom settings with one on one instruction regularly. He has a difficult time with independence in doing his assignments even though he is very capable of doing the assignment. He has to always be pushed to do his homework and once he gets going with it he has no difficulty and usually breezes through it.

There is definitely a higher incidence of genius among autistic children as they usually have acquired such a capacity for learning and are very focused in what they like. If an autistc child has an interest in mathematics then there is a great possibility that they will excel in the subject and can aspire to be an engineer, math professor, scientist or an actuary. Autistic children can get very absorbed in their studies if they have the interest and desire. If you find something that an autistic child likes such as art, music, science, english or math and give them the opportunity to channel their energies and interest in those subjects they will most certainly excel and showcase their talents. It is a wonderful thing to see an autistic child move beyond their self imposed confinement and grow like a flower if you provide them with the opportunity and allow them to come into their own.

I am amazed how far our son has come in school. He is still in a self contained classroom setting because he still has difficulty relating but is introduced to some mainstreamed classes and he is certainly making progress. He is very bright and has a lot of interest in school and is becoming more independent and responsible with his homework which is great to see. We realize schooling is a process and our son is starting to come into his own and has shown his constant improvement which we are delighted with. We are very supportive of his development and growth and realize that he will have some trying times and periods of adjustment but overall know he will do fine because he has the capability and he realizes the importance of school. He is starting to relate better with his classmates and his teachers only have good things to say about him.

We are very encouraged with Matthew's interest in reading. He enjoys reading stories and even reads books outside of his classroom which is tremendous. He enjoys going on the computer too and the internet and he also likes maintaining a blog that he writes in his own words about his experiences which I think is good for him because it gives him a way of expressing himself and that is so very important for an autistic child to do. I know when I was a student in school I had to study hard and apply myself and I had my mom sitting with me helping me with my assignments like Maria does with Matthew. It is a parent's love that inspires them to have patience with their child and to help them with their schoolwork because parents realize how important it is to learn discipline and focus and to be responsible. If you can teach your child to be responsible with their schoolwork and their homework then you are helping them get off to the right start and teaching them important values that they will know for the rest of their life.

I always remember hearing stories as a kid that Albert Einstein one of the most renowned physicists that we learn about had difficulties with math as a child and was most likely autistic. Albert Einstein was considered one of the most influential scientists of our era having developed the theory of relativity that played such a vital role in science and physics as we know it. He theorized the laws of motion and bodies or objects in relative motion of each other. He was the one who developed the widely used formula that all physicists know and that we all learn in science class. When I see my son get frustrated I always tell him about Albert Einstein and he usually replies that he has learned of Albert Einstein and his theory of relativity. He learned about him at a much earlier age then I did. He says that Albert Einstein is special because he devoted himself to science and taught the world something very important and that he is considered a genius. Upon hearing my son talk of Albert Einstein and speaking so eloquently I realize my son also has flashes of genius and knowing that he is autistic just makes me realize how much heart he has because I know it is not easy for him but he takes it in stride and he has a wonderful disposition and I am so very proud of him.

Edward D. Iannielli III

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Please feel free to read my writings and leave a kind message or suggestion. Thank you. Emily