July 1, 2010

If She were a Savant

When an individual with Autism excels developmentally in areas that far exceeds the average, they are called a savant. Our daughter Dani isn't considered a savant but if she were it would be in the area of geography. Her ability to maneuver around the Kansas City metropolitan area is astounding. She not only knows how to get to the airport 45 miles away, but can navigate to it from all different directions. She can also identify where her grandma is buried, even though it's an area we rarely travel. She doesn't often sign "grandma" because she knows my mother is in heaven, but when she does mention her best friend it's on the highway near the cemetery. Truly amazing.

Like many Autistics Dani has a few quirks that are unique and challenging. For instance she hates fringe. Several years ago I mistakingly bought living room rugs with decorative loose ends all to watch her avoid them like the plague. Seems I inadvertently purchased her very nightmare. Now, whenever she enters the living room she takes an alternate route or awkwardly hops over the fringe.

Unlike some Autistics Dani is not overly concerned with the order of things. Her desire for organization seems focused mainly on humans. She can detect an adult who is not in control of the situation at the drop of a hat. The only therapists she's ever fussed with were the ones who were new and unsure of themselves. I kind of admire her ability to assess adults this way. I prefer more grounded folks myself.

Given the fact Dani is not a neat freak, I was shocked the other evening when I walked into her room and saw her play things lined up neat and a precise. Tidy as a store, her play food, bracelets, and other sundries were parked on her bookshelves in exact little spots. I couldn't help but say,"Good job girl!"

She even found the perfect place for her Daniel Boon hat
...atop her stuffed rabbit.
I don't know if this was a late case of spring fever or what, but it was a pleasant surprise just the same.


Anonymous said...

You explained savant really well, Nancy. Something tells me Dani is not finished developing her personal habits. Interesting about her dislike of fringe.


katiegfromtennessee said...

Hey Mrs. Nancy:) Dani is learning everyday it seems according to your posts:) The fact that you can tell that she loves the Lord is such a blessing! I remember you mentioning that before.

Blessings to you today:)