Thursday, January 5, 2012

The | Connection Between Autism, Dyslexia | And Genius

There has been extensive research into possible links between dyslexia and genius and it continues to be  ongoing, but it is clear that no child with dyslexia is precluded from being a genius.  Leonardo da Vinci is a good example.  We cannot know categorically whether or not he was dyslexic, but from studying the material he left, it is certain that the letters in his notes emulate what can be a sign of dyslexia; all his letters are reversed.  As we all know, this certainly didn’t stop him from having brilliant ideas.  Indeed, some research advocates that it may have been his dyslexic ability that was a seminal factor that contributed to his gift for visualizing his ideas in such vivid detail, and recreating them in his drawings...

Autism is something that many people are unfamiliar with, and unless you have encountered it yourself  it's a myriad of conditions, in which a child can also have what are known as islets of ability.  These islets are very special indeed and make the rest of our ability  pale into insignificance in the kinds of creativity they often demonstrate and or display.  If you are unfamiliar with the kind of things I am driving at, you may recall the film Rainman starring Dustin Hoffman, whose character had a marvelous ability in mathematics that enabled him to work out in his head the odds of winning in casino games.  This kind of special thing is not impossible for children or adults with autism.  

From a tender age, the world-famous artist Steven Wiltshire was not only able to draw, but also produced sketches which commanded a complete understanding of perspective, architecture and dimension – a maturity in ability that otherwise can take years to develop to the degree of accuracy exhibited in his work.  Tending to blend these high levels of creative ability with difficulty in being able to form empathy with others, the condition remains a perplexing one.  Notwithstanding, research to date suggests that genius and autism are not mutually exclusive.  Indeed,  not all children with autism are comfortable around lots of people they are unfamiliar with, as is the scenario with a summer school program. The children with autism I have known have handled it very well, and attended programs voluntarily.  It all  boils down to the individual child.  So if your child does have autism, depending upon how comfortable they feel around other people, enrichment programs are definitely worth exploring.  Early childhood educational programs may also be beneficial to some extent.

It is quite evident that the guidance given here on children with special educational needs can only be general, it is not intended to be otherwise, and cannot replace a specific diagnosis of your child’s abilities.  The key point of the matter to take to heart is that while there is much research still to be done, there are clearly some huge areas of potential overlap between what might be construed as genius and children with special educational needs.

If your child is attending a special school, find out if the school is aware of the full range of your child’s gifts that  you have discovered.  Parent’s evenings are the best time to do this as you, your child and teachers are all present, creating the opportunity for open and positive discussion.

Remember that teachers are there to help and advise, and are with your child five days a week.  Working together you have a much better chance of developing a winning plan for your child’s success moving forward.  Are there any other factors that you need to take into account that may be helping or blocking your child’s performances at school, for instance, relationships with peers and teachers.  Once you and your child are happy that no stone has been left unturned, and that you have worked out a solid plan of action with your school, set a date to evaluate how the plan is going and/or make any adjustments at that time.

No comments:

Post a Comment