Monday, February 10, 2014

How The Autistic Mind Works-Fascinating TEDTalk

Have you ever visited the site TEDTalks? If not, I highly recommend it because it offers lectures on pretty much any subject you can think of written by experts in their respective fields. On this site and their Netflix channel, you can see talks about anything from ants to media ethics to the history of jazz. They're the type of talks people pay a lot of money to see, but you can view them for free.

If you're interested in how autistic people think, here's a very interesting talk from Temple Grandin. Grandin is an expert on animal behavior who was diagnosed with autism as a child.

What I found especially interesting is how she compares her way of thinking to that of animals. Rather than thinking in words the way you and I do, they think in pictures. It's like the way my sister's pit bull reacted to me when I would come to visit. He would bark and growl like crazy at first because, to him, I'm someone he hasn't seen before. When my sister closed the door and opened it back up a minute or so later, the dog was fine. He'd seen me before, so he knows I'm okay.  I guess it makes sense that a person who thinks like this might have trouble learning to communicate with words-it's just not the way they're wired. 

Like Grandin says, though, the world needs all kinds of minds. For instance, I'm very grateful that the bridge-tunnel I go through when I visit family in Virginia was designed by someone who thinks in pictures! There's no way I or another "word-person" would be able to do that.

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