Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thinking in Pictures

When I was much younger, I assumed that everybody perceived the world the same way I did, that everybody thought in pictures. Early in my professional career I got into a heated verbal argument with an engineer at a meat-packing plant when I told him he was stupid. He had designed a piece of equipment that had obvious flaws to me. My visual thinking gives me the ability to 'test-run' in my head a piece of equipment I've designed, just like a virtual reality computer system. Mistakes can be found prior to construction when I do this. Now I realize his problem was not stupidity; it was a lack of visual thinking. It took me years to learn that the majority of people cannot do this, and that visualization skills in some people are almost nonexistent.- Temple Grandin.

WOW.

This banged me on the head in multiple places. Temple is right, most of us don't "see in pictures". Last night is a classic example. My son was writing a paper (yet another) on WHICH version was the best one of Romeo and Juliet. He chose the movie because it was easier for him to see and visualize what was going on instead of having to make it up and think it out himself. He is a visual learner, but he prefers to "have the hard part done for me" and then just expand upon what he had seen. It seems to me that the class he is in for R & J is working at a pretty slow pace. He is done with the book, his papers, and the subsequent requirements. Yet he is expected to work at the others level and is waiting to move onto the next requirement. It doesn't appear that the rest of the class is done, but it is hard to tell what is going on because he has finished so much by the time he gets home from school.

As I am getting older (UGH) I am finding that I am a little less patient with things that don't work right. My son is never patient, and it is weird reminding him that he needs to work on that and try harder to understand how others are doing and feeling at a given time. Lately he has been very tactile, lots of hugs and such. It is fine, but I start feeling a bit mauled over and have to instruct him to stop it. It makes me feel bad to tell him to knock it off, but mauling a person and hanging on them is just annoying and a bad habit that needs broken. To subsittute, he is learning to pay attention to the cats, although Bert is the only one that will allow for our son's attentions. The constant reminder that Bert likes him, but will walk away when he is done with the attention is getting a little redundant. However, we are getting better with that part and our son is understanding that our cat, like Kipling's , "And he went back through the Wet Wild Woods waving his wild tail, and walking by his wild lone."

Speaking of that, another interesting thing happened last night (actually more than that but this is all I am mentioning here), I discovered that my son KNOWS that he acts differently at school than at home. HE DOES, and he told me last night that he keeps it all in all day and then comes home and has to let it out, by either acting like a goofball or just being weird. It makes sense, home is where we let our hair down, so he is taking that totally literally and letting himself totally relax. It is also making sense to me about WHY he doesn't call "friends". He has to be "on" all day. When he comes home he wants to rest, relax and just be DONE with all that for a while. Ergo, the asking for longer break times from homwork and splitting it all up so he gets breaks and the work gets done. Makes sense doesn't it? I know this had nothing to do with visual thinking, I just thought it was cool. Such a great observation from a kid who is really not supposed to be aware that he is doing this stuff. I think it is uproarious, and amazing, seriously, what a miracle from a kid who was never going to talk or go to school. Then he pulls that one out. Fabulous.