Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Different Thinkers

Several months ago, I watched the HBO film Temple Grandin about a woman with Autism who has opened many doors for herself and for others with ASD. John included a photo of Ms. Grandin and Claire Danes, the actress who played her, in his report on ASD.

The movie is airing on HBO again this month. Charlie and I watched it together the other day and it sparked some interesting conversations. Now Rachel and Krys have seen it, the conversations have continued.

At the beginning of the movie, Ms. Grandin states she "thinks in pictures". Until discussing the movie with others, it never occurred to me, except in passing, that there are people who don't think in pictures. Holy cow, really?

I mean, I think in pictures. I make connections in pictures and concepts. It's why I have such a tendency to write or speak in analogies. It's how I think.

Apparently Charlie, Rachel and John also think in pictures.

When Krys said "I don't", Rachel and I were both taken aback.
"How do you think?"
"In words."
"Like how?"

It went on for a little bit, with Krys trying to explain her thought process to a confused Rachel and me, while we all sort of tried to imagine what it was like for others.

Krys mentioned how the difference in the way she and Steve think creates the occasional conflict. He's a picture thinker too.

Then Charlie and Daniel got home and we asked them the question, "How do you think? Do you see pictures, words, concepts, what?"

Charlie thinks in pictures, Daniel in words. We already know John thinks in pictures... We texted Becka to ask but didn't get an answer (yet) and so the conversation continued.

My brain hurts.

To be honest, it might not even be a good idea to try to tackle writing about it... but I haven't written in a few days and so I'm at the keyboard dribbling on about the first thing that comes to mind.

Did I mention my brain hurts?

On a side note... I just had to fix the can crusher. We have a solid steel can crusher mounted to a piece of 2x4. I made the mistake of tossing some Altoid Mini tins into the recycling bin and John got the brilliant idea to try crushing them. While he does think in pictures and, often, mathematically, the addition of Attention Deficit means he is too impulsive to think ahead... which means he and his siblings can break darn near anything under the guise of experimenting. *face palm* On the other hand, I'm Monster Mom and can fix darn near anything. So they're out of my hair for a few more minutes and maybe I'll finish a post without 75,000 interruptions.

So yeah, back to thinking in pictures...

Seriously? There's another way?

No matter how Krys and Daniel try to describe it, I can get it on an intellectual level but... thinking about is like trying to snow ski on a hill of gravel. (SEE? Pictures.)

At first, we discussed the idea that perhaps thinking in pictures is an Autistic Spectrum thing. But that doesn't work because of six people in the family on the Spectrum, at least two think in words.

But then... if they see the words in their heads, isn't that the same as thinking in pictures?

I know from the different skills and strengths of my kids that thinking in one way doesn't mean they'll have the same area of gifts. Some who think in pictures are brilliant at Maths... and then there's Krys who thinks in words but talks Calculus for fun.

Daniel thinks in words and he's a musician. I think in pictures and learn more toward being an artist.

Also, some of us are more intuitive and others more logical in their thinking... but it doesn't match up with the pictures/concepts/words thing.

Is there any kind of connection to be made between the way a person thinks and their areas of particular strength or talent?

*head desk* I need Ibuprofen.

So, before I think myself into a migraine, I'll ask... how do you think? Pictures, concepts or words? Or even something different? Can you describe it?

*EDIT*
Becka finally responded. Her answer? "Not generally in pictures. It goes in this order: words, concepts, pictures."

I figured she'd say words... but then, she's another artist... and so is Rachel.

This does not help me organize this puzzle into something I can assemble... dang it!