We were driving to my parents house this afternoon and I was reminded of Jude’s amazing ability for directions, it made me laugh as I’ve always wondered how he could utilise this in the future for work purposes or if this talent will one day, manifest itself into something more easily employed. You know you hear of autistic children who can recognise every national flag in the world or who can do incredible sums off the top of their head, well Jude has always been incredible at remember directions. Even as a toddler, before he could even walk independently, he could navigate the many corridors of Addenbrookes hospital and guide me to the children’s centre without me uttering a word. My mum and I used to challenge him and first go to the cafe and see if he could find his way to the children’s centre from there, or park in a different car park but he’d always get it perfect first time. Even now, if you drive somewhere but take a different route to normal, he’ll say “mummy, that way” or something similar. Pretty handy really as a) I’m rubbish with directions and b) I always lose my car in car parks.
So…is the autistic talent thing real or slightly exaggerated through the media? I would LOVE to hear from anyone who has an autistic child with skills. Please contact me and let me know!
I found a couple of links to share. This first one is American and about how a family helped their son find activities he could excel at in life – https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2014/05/30/autism-and-special-talents-how-can-we-help-our-son-find-his-passion
This second one is about “savant” skills within autistic people. A savant skill is one that is exceptional in standard compared to the general public but also that individuals other abilities. It talks about people being able to name what day any given date in the future or the past falls (or fell) on. How amazing is that?! Not entirely useful but surely a transferrable skill somewhere down the line! https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16941-savant-skills-may-be-widespread-in-people-with-autism/
So how do I go about giving Jude more opportunities, in case he is one of the rare cases that displays a remarkable talent? He’s a good swimmer so perhaps water sports would be his thing…who knows, we’ll keep trying activities I guess and see what happens.
Look at this face…what can you see as his amazing skill?! A world record in crouching like a little owl? Eating the largest amount of plain pasta in one sitting?
But saying all this, he has the slight disadvantage of having microcephaly as well as autism so I’m more than certain this would negate a lot of possibility for him to find his area of genius. Keep plugging the amazing sense of direction then…
Secondly, this evening I want to mention a couple of people I met earlier in the week. Two lovely people from the charity Happy Days who are going to hopefully work with Jude and his school friends in some capacity. They offer respite care in the form of day trips, short breaks, fund musical/sporting experiences and just generally support the local disabled community and their families. Their work is vital as it features in their clients day to day lives and helps them live in a more fulfilling and social way. They are a fairly small set up, however they touch the lives of literally thousands of children every year and make a difference not only to them but to the parents, siblings and wider family members through the offer of respite, support, advice and companionship from what can be a very isolating situation. Please have a look at their website and share what they do with the people around you.