9 months ago



Frankie 173 with ASD,

Frankie 173 with ASD, their prodigious memory, their fascination with the visible, their love of facts and details, but also their difficulty with inferring something from what is not seen and the difficulty in generalization, abstraction, and conceptual thought. It is important to understand this learning style, this way of seeing the world so as to teach children with ASD at school. Both Frankie’s teacher and Janice, Heather’s mother, had an intuitive understanding of this and were able to capitalize on their knowledge to enter the world of the child they were working with and challenge that child to reach up to another developmental level. The key was not to expect Frankie and Heather to follow the standard curriculum or the usual parenting guidelines, but for adults to first adapt to the child’s way of thinking and then move the child along his or her own developmental pathway. What must it be like to remember all the flags of the world, all the flags around town? Frankie solemnly tells me that each flag is different. I suppose that is true, but my memory is not good enough to visualize these differences in any detail. I hear Frankie’s voice asking me, in a gently mocking tone, if I am the same person who sat here last week in this apple orchard or a different one. As I get up to walk home, I resolve not to make any superfluous gestures. It is very difficult, but once I master it, even for a moment, the atmosphere becomes very still. I imagine that Frankie and Heather already know such stillness when they look at and discern the patterns that are invisible to us. They already know the rule about superfluous gestures. No school had to teach them that.

A Sophie Mind Apart Chapter 12 Sophie Acceptance without Resignation Down the main street of a small village, a little girl and her mother go to the library. They make this brief excursion every day because the child so loves to look at books. It’s a fine autumn morning, and the sun shines brightly as the two walk down a street shaded by oak and maple trees. Soon it will be Halloween, and already the houses are decorated with pumpkins and witches on broomsticks. The maple trees are in full color—red, yellow, and orange leaves filter the sunlight. An elderly gentleman rakes the fallen leaves on his lawn into tidy piles, but the slight breeze is a constant challenge, teasing his efforts and delaying the opportunity to go back into the house and make another pot of coffee. As the couple passes by, the man says, “Good morning,” tips his hat, and smiles at the child. The mother politely, if somewhat awkwardly, returns his greeting, but the child looks away and doesn’t acknowledge him. The mother has a few volumes to be returned tucked under her arm. She wears a light sweater to guard against the wind and a lovely print dress. She has very fair skin and dark hair. The mother looks anxiously down at her child, who walks as if determined not to waste any time. The little girl must be about five; she has an olive complexion, wears glasses, and has soft curly brown hair. She is dressed all in red, her favorite color. In one hand she holds several bird feathers and in the other an enormous tree branch that she drags along the ground. People passing by have to step out of the way to avoid being hit by one of the 174

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