Sunday, June 23, 2013

An Unusual Gift

Thing Two recently threw me for a loop with his uncanny awareness of geographical relationships.  The other day, we were on our way to his speech therapist's, but coming from Petunia's school, not at all our usual route.  Out of the blue, he pointed to a road ahead of us and told me that it was the best way to get to her office from where we were.  Not only was he correct, the road he pointed to was one that we almost never have occasion to take.

That same afternoon, Thing One had a playdate at a friend's house.  (He detests having to sit and wait for his brother to be done at speech, so he was overjoyed at the reprieve.)  We'd planned to stop and pick him up on the way home.  There are a good half-dozen possible ways to get to the friend's house, but Thing Two had only ever seen one of them before, the most direct way from our house.  We were coming from town in this case.  Clued in by the earlier odd comment, on a whim I asked Thing Two if he wanted to direct me to the friend's house from where we were.  Which he then proceeded to do, flawlessly.  He doesn't seem to know any of the street names, but from what I could tell, he knows exactly what all the intersections look like, and when we got to the right ones he told me exactly which way to go.  He took me to the friend's house by a direct route that I would have sworn he'd have no reason to know.  Up to and including knowing that the friend's house was on the left, very soon after the left turn onto the correct street.

When I told Himself about these incidents that night, he was less surprised.  He reminded me that this is the same kid who recognized the route to the pool where he took his swimming lessons (beloved, beloved swimming lessons) at the age of 2, which I'd forgotten.  Every time I passed through that intersection with him in the car, the kid would point up the road to the swim club and say "Swimming. Yes. Me."  (A classic example of his terribly banged-up early speech patterns, by the way.)  He's also the first to tell me if I don't turn the way he expects me to while I'm driving.

He is a profoundly visual learner, most probably because the input coming in through his ears is so terribly scrambled by the time it gets to his brain that it takes tremendous effort for him to sort it out.  This is a kid who wants to read the directions, not listen to them: his eyes are his hope and salvation in what must seem to him a crazy world of swirling, befuddling language.  I can only imagine that his direction sense is another visual-learning thing, based on his comments about the appearance of the intersections as he was guiding me: it appears that he's essentially assembled a very comprehensive map of our area in his head (without ever looking at an actual map as far as I know.)  And he's just a little kid.  Some of it could be a control thing, too...since for so many years he had trouble understanding the words when we told him where we were going, maybe he decided at some point to just figure it out for himself.

There's no question that there's a good brain operating under those crossed language wires, thankfully.  Not sure I fully realized just HOW good a brain until this week, though, at least in this one area.  Anybody know of a good adult occupation for a kid with this kind of visual puzzle-assembling skill?



1 comment:

  1. Surveyor, GIS ... I'm sure there are many others that I can't think of off the top of my head. Also that sort of spatial relationship skillset - engineer, architect.

    Do you go Geocaching? Seems that might help him build upon that skillset and could be really great fun. Add that to the summer list! :)


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