A blog of a writer with high-functioning autistic savant syndrome
You sir are amazing.
Hi, my name is Aaron Ch'ng, I'm currently reading your book "Born on a Blue Day" (Chinese version). I just liked you in the Facebook. Hope to read your other books "Embracing The Wide Sky" and "Thinking in Numbers". Keep it on.
Hello Daniel, my children and I both have ADHD, which I strongly believe is related to ASD/Aspberger's, and my son and I also have Hyperlexia Type III. I'm curious if you know much about Hyperlexia? Type II is thought to belong on the ASD and be related to Autism in some way. Type III is associated with "Autism-like" traits that seem to lessen over time, however I would characterize my son's traits as more strongly Aspie. He has some social skill deficits, but they mainly involve black & white views of "rules." I tested his reading/language skills at age 6 and his word recognition abilities scored as low 11th grade. He seemed to learn to read the same way I did - intuitively. I was reading from newspapers by age 4 without any instruction (my mother read books to me, but that was all.) He and I both share a fascination with parts of speech, in addition to a early fascination with letters & words. We also share a fascination with language in general, including foreign languages.Around age 3 he got bored with his Bob the Builder DVD's, having watched them all so many times over, and he changed the settings on the DVD player to Spanish and began watching them in that language instead. I became aware of it when we were walking through the grocery store and he started singing the theme song in Spanish! My obsession with foreign languages started at age 12 and led to me taking German, Spanish and Russian simultaneously my senior year of highschool. I lived in Austria for a time, and despite the fact I'm not a native speaker, I have virtuallly no foreign accent when speaking German. This innate and unconscious mimicry of inflection and pronunciation is so automatic for me that I've caught myself speaking English with a Belgian accent after spending less than 48 hours in the company of a Belgian exchange student. Also, you mentioned on page 28/29 of Wide Sky that around age 2 many of the connections formed in developing children's brains begin to be "pruned." It caused me to wonder whether those of us with hyper-senses (hearing, smell, taste, touch etc.) undergo less "pruning" during this phase of development?
Dear Daniel,Thanks a lot for your three insightful books. You are a real proof of that even Aspies can manage in life and have a decent, even brilliant life as long as their parents are ready to fight fiercely to develop their child(ren)'s social abilities. Being an Aspie myself, I measure now the hard time autistic persons are often having to assimilate social rules ; when I was six years old, I would not speak to anyone as I was entirely socially "(b)locked" or rather unwilling to discard my little universe to live in reality. Same went at school when many people talked me into doing things I would not do usually because I ignored how to resist flattery or deliberate play on your feelings. Even today, I still have a long way to go to be perfectly to the point in terms of sociability. And I underwent a lot of suffering that did not spare me, up to the point of breaking down at age 15 when it suddenly dawned upon me I was "lagging behind" all others socially speaking.Yet, I'm losing the point : thank you so much for these three books of yours! I read your last one "Thinking in numbers" in French (yes, I am French even though I am quite keen on the English language!) and found it really intriguing and interesting. I was literally amazed by the way you narrate this, explaining very intricate matters such as subitization (is that how you say it in English?) in Icelandic with numbers from one to four. Yes, all languages have asperities or irregularities: in Danish, you use a vigesimal numerical system to count and must invert the units and the tens beyond 20 (twenty-one is thus said enogtyve, literally "one and twenty"). Swedish for instance forms the definite article of a given noun by inflecting it, i.e. by changing its ending, so that to say "the young girl" from the word tjej (a young girl), you would say "tjejen" (the - en ending indicates definite article). This is what makes language difficult and all the trickier but also interesting and fascinating. When I came across Esperanto, I was so much surprised that you could simply switch from a noun to a verb, or adjective or adverb by simply modifying the words's finals. Your vision of mathematics is also really enriching and fascinating. Just like me, you do not like algebra much. Indeed, having studied mathematics at a French university for two years, I now realize how difficult it can get for French students at lycée to catch the meaning of the lifeless equations they are bombarded with almost every day. Having taught to a fellow in "seconde" (first year out of the three in French lycées), I must say that what students experience is not as much a problem of incomprehension as for a lack of precise idea about what they are handling. A concrete approach of multiplication just as you exposed it in your book would greatly strenghten the students's abilities and self-confidence. In school, all formulae are thrust upon us willy-nilly. Maths can be indeed beautiful when done with passion, and most often school teachers put students off what could be their favorite topic for life with their disconnected-from-reality methods and stiff principles.Your polyglottism is also all the more inspiring: I managed to gain confidence in my own abilities after reading your interestingly insightful - and much rigorous - second book Embracing the wide sky. The methods you presented in it such as associate words from one's mother tongue with that of the target tongue according to the meaning (ex. : "vogel" in German can be linked to French "voler") are so simple but truly efficient to grab the basis of a language; I did it with Swedish and remembers some words just like "så" (so) or väldigt (very, close orally to the English word). But I'll stop here. Keep it on! You were the first autistic person whose prose I read and I frankly do not regret it,My warmest thanks again for your last book,F. Robert.
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