Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Snapshot of a Century

Pamela spent some time the other day writing up the calendar sheets to the right (click the picture for an even larger view). About three years ago, she started researching calendars on the Internet and memorized dates visually. She has the fourteen basic calendars memorized: leap years starting on seven different days of the week and common years starting on seven different days of the week. She knows the pattern for leap years, even obscure facts like the beginning of every century (1600, 1700, 1800, 1900, 2000) are not leap years, except for those divisible by 400! Unlike the savants who mathematically calculate calendars, Pamela sees them in her head and accesses the information like you would by turning pages in a book and looking it up. The animals are based on the Chinese astrological signs.

One of my favorite resources for homeschooling is the book, The Way They Learn, by Cynthia Tobias. When I started figuring out all the learning styles in my family, it helped me become a better wife and parent.

Pamela is definitely a concrete-sequential thinker like many autistic people. This picture is a great illustration of the strengths of someone who is concrete (real world, practical, things) and sequential (orderly, structured, plan-oriented) as indicated in this online questionnaire for this model of learning styles.

Organized . . . Perfectionistic . . . Precise . . . Memorize . . . Hard-working . . . Practicing . . . Completing work

Look at what are considered weaknesses for a highly concrete sequential person, which dovetails with what we see in autism:
Working in groups
Discussions that seem to have no specific point

Working in an unorganized environment

Following incomplete or unclear directions

Working with unpredictable people

Dealing with abstract ideas

Demands to "use your imagination"

Questions with no right or wrong answers


Mary said...

I showed the page to our Alan. I explained to him that Pamela's brain works like his. I also told him we can't do what Pamela and Alan can do.
When I asked him if he could write out the calendars like that, he replied, "I think I can!" I am so glad they have this exceptional ability and that I could show him that someone else has it. Mary

walking said...

If Alan's vocabulary is up to it, he and you might want to try the thinking styles questionnaire. David took it yesterday: he was off the charts for concrete random and scored high as abstract random. Neither were a surprise. I scored high as abstract sequential with a decent second in abstract random. I already knew mine, so the quiz confirmed my suspicions.