Tuesday, April 8

April is Autism Awareness Month: Mr. Farmer's Almanac

April's been designated autism awareness month and since our Little T has PDD-NOS, I thought it would be a good idea to focus some of my posts about the condition.

Some people who are autistic have amazing abilities. Although he is basically non-verbal, if you take Little T someplace even just one time he can point his way there and back again afterwards. Some, but not all, people with autism are called autistic savants:

There are many forms of savant abilities. The most common forms involve mathematical calculations, memory feats, artistic abilities, and musical abilities. A mathematical ability which many autistic individuals display is calendar memory. They could be asked a question like: 'What day of the week was May 22, 1961? and they can determine the answer within seconds--Monday. Others can multiply and divide large numbers in their head and can also calculate square roots and prime numbers without much hesitation.

Examples of some memory feats include: remembering everything about presidents (birth/death, term in office, names and birth dates of family members, cabinet members, etc.), memorizing the U.S. highway system, and remembering everyone's birth date, even after meeting the person once and not seeing him/her for 20 years.

I don't mean to say that Little T is a savant--it's just really cool that he has such a special talent.

A local news station in my area--CBS3--featured a man with very special abilities yesterday. His name is Francis Jennings and his nickname is "The Human Farmer's Almanac".

Friends and co-workers at Keystone Aerial Surveys said Francis is on top of the forecast regardless of the date.

"His grasp of the history of weather is astonishing," said Mary Potter of Keystone Aerial Surveys.

When asked what the weather was like on January 31, 1979, Jennings said, "What we had was, we had started off sunny, became cloudy and snowed during the afternoon and we had about 2.3 inches."

What about August 25, 1972?

"Ok, I believe that day we had mostly sunny and it was very hot. If I recall it was 96 that day."

With a check of the records, CBS 3 meteorologist Maria LaRosa confirmed there was indeed snow on January 31, 1979 and there was a high of 95 degrees on August 25, 1972.

Cool, huh?

It blows away the stereotypical image of an autistic person with the hand flapping and rocking. Yes, some folks do that but not all. That's the important thing to remember. People who are autistic are all individuals, too!


Joyce said...

That is such interesting information. Our oldest son isn't autistic, but he did demonstrate unusual abilities and interest in memorizing things from an early age. At about 8 years old, he memorized all the presidents of the U.S., their terms in office, and soon was adding info. such as cabinet members, wife's name, etc. He also would only walk on his tippy-toes. Is that an autism flag, too? He finished college early and is a programmer employed by Microsoft. A little shy, but happy. Very interesting.

Genevieve Hinson said...

Hey there! Thanks so much for participating in blogging for autism awareness this month.

I've added your blog to the list.


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