Lesson #4: Kids with ASDs May Have Special Talents that Need Developing
Everyone has a gift, and sometimes we forget that our children with ASDs have special gifts and talents. We often become preoccupied with their needs and their deficits. Perhaps we should spend more time discovering their gifts and helping them develop those gifts so that others can benefit. I know several children in the Autism Spectrum. One is an amazing cartoonist, another is a whiz at computer memory and disk drive capacity, another has a phenomenal memory – he knows every part for every character in the movie Star Wars. I am amazed that he can remember all that and recite the whole movie on cue!
My son seems to have a knack for spatial relationships. I really don’t know when or how his spatial orientation developed. As a baby he seemed to enjoy riding in the car. He was always alert and cheerful, and nothing seemed to escape his piercing gaze. Riding in the car really soothed him. At 8 months of age I can remember him crying anytime I took a different route. Construction and accidents were NOT my friends. Whenever I traveled an unfamiliar route, my son screamed and cried intensely. It often got so bad that I had to pull off the road and remove him from his car seat. Once he was out of the seat, I would walk a few paces and rub his back until he calmed himself. This happened each time I traveled a different route. He seemed to find comfort in familiar roads and sights on the highway.
Now that he’s verbal, he’s taught me a few things about directions, and I always ask him if I’m going the “right way.” He has told me on many occasions that he hates being lost, and doesn’t want to go with me if I’m going to get us lost. I admit, I’m spatially challenged. Early one morning after taking my husband to the airport I took a wrong turn, and my son asked me “Mom, where are we going?” "We’re going home," I replied, and I thought we were headed in the right direction, but we weren’t. He told me I should turn around, and of course he was correct. Now I make sure I listen to my co-pilot. He’s always better at the directions than me – just the best backseat driver I could ever have. Now, the screams from the backseat have been replaced with directions and travel help! I am so thankful!
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