It has said that everyone has them, it's just autistic traits aren't as prominent in most people as they are in with who do have genuine Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Some of these abilities can be quite fascinating if the person who has them is allowed to express them in a way that benefits that person. Unfortunately, most people tend to simply branded that person annoying or at the very least, use the person with autism's unique ability for their own amusement.

Often times, the ability would come from an interest that a person has. In many cases, the person with autism would throw themselves head first into that interest and learn everything there is to know about it. My first instance of this was when I was seven. For a limited time in 1968 and 9, you could buy little figures of all the American Presidents. Note, Nixon was president at the time but that's just a side point. Not only did I collect all the figures, I read books about them too. So not only can I name all the presidents from Washington to Obama, I could tell you when they served, what number president they were, if they died in office and with a good deal of certainty, what political party they were a member of. My experience is typical of someone who is on the autistic spectrum.


Another ability/obsession came in my early adolescence when I was playing sports. Because American sports media seems to like to make a big deal of sports statistics, I became a big pundit on my own statistics. In gym class in junior high school, I could tell you how many pass receptions, interceptions and touchdowns I had in touch football. How many baskets and free throws I made in basketball and compute my average per game. It was even more detailed in baseball where I could not only compute my batting average, but how many singles, doubles, triples and home runs I hit. Oh, if anyone tries to joke that I know how many home runs I hit because it was none, then the joke would be inaccurate.

Book relation alert: I do give Mark a similar ability in "He Was Weird." From when I first learned it in fifth grade, a piece of US and British history has been stuck in my mind. Note: in 1754 both countries' history was intertwined. It was the reason why British General Braddock lost the opening battle of the French and Indian War and his life. It was because he ordered his soldiers to stand shoulder to shoulder like they would have in an open field battle. I confess that I cheat a little in the story. Not long ago, I learned that the reason why generals arrayed their armies in tight formations was down to the fact that the smooth bore muskets that most soldiers used at the time were largely inaccurate. Therefore, they were all grouped together in the hopes that with all of them shooting at the same target, they might hit something. Mark points this out in his history class, unfortunately his classmates use it as an excuse to bully him and though I didn't say it in the story, their justification would have been that Mark was showing off. Another problem that people with ASD have.

18th Century battle formation

18th Century battle formation

That leads nicely to the point I am trying to make here. There are many people with autism who do have some rather special abilities but people aren't very perceptive of it. They can work out things quickly in their head or make links that so called normal people can't or they can astound you with their knowledge of a given subject because their fascination with that subject has led them to research it thoroughly. These people should be encouraged, not seen as annoying or irrelevant or derided for having a one track mind. They should be listened to and taken more seriously and most importantly, appreciated for who they are.

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Published by Michael Lefevre