Daily Archives: March 14, 2011

Ingenious Minds

Have you seen this show on Science Channel? I love it.
Each episode profiles a savant or genius whose mind works in a different way. They each have an extraordinary ability in areas such as art, music and mathematics, while also suffering from intellectual and developmental disabilities. Some have autism or Asperger’s. Talk about twice exceptional! The episode I watched last night was about Temple Grandin. They used a lot of clips from the HBO movie with Claire Danes.

I had a very emotional reaction to that movie, recognizing some of the same traits in Lily. Not that she is even on the autism spectrum, but I recognized Lily’s sensory sensitivities, her anxiety in new situations, her visual perception and memory. And, of course, I could definitely relate to her mother’s challenges. 

Here’s a link to Temple Grandin’s talk on TED.com. Temple Grandin: The world needs all kinds of minds | Video on TED.com

Expanding Our Horizons

I signed Lily and myself up for a Saturday workshop at a local university.  It was called Expanding Your Horizons, sponsored by the American Association of University Women.  www.expandingyourhorizons.org 

It’s intended to introduce middle-school girls to possible careers in mathematics, engineering and science. Lily would attend 3 short classes led by women… ‘Using Scientific Tools to Study the Solar System’, ‘Wildlife 101’ and ‘Transportation Engineering’.

I would attend 3 parent classes, the most intriguing called, ‘Paying for College’.  The title was just so tempting… like, maybe Oprah would show up and give every parent in the audience a big wad of cash.  What I really expected was bad news, which is definitely what I got, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the workshop really helpful.

The speaker was excellent… very efficient.  She was an ‘educational consultant’ and got right to the point.  There was none of that incredibly tedious workshop read aloud a handout b.s. that I can’t tolerate.  This woman knew all the ins and outs of admissions and applying for financial aid and she packed as much information into the hour as she possibly could.   It was terrifying, but really great information.  

The other 2 workshops were also outstanding, both of them more on the behavior of middle-school girls.  I actually felt like I learned something at the workshop and enjoyed myself too. Lily had a great time also, and was bubbly when I met her afterward. 
Of course, the drop off wasn’t without a little drama.  Most of the other parents just dropped their girls off and left, but Lily was close by my side, mumbling, “Just take me home.  I don’t want to be here.  Let’s just go.  Let’s just go.”  I tried to calm her, but it just agitated her.  I finally used the daycare method and did the…  ‘say goodbye and go’.  Lily told me later that after I left she’d hung back so far from her group that they hadn’t seen her and left without her.  A volunteer spotted Lily straggling and helped return her to her group.  Argggh.
I know it’s good practice for Lily to have to deal with new situations and the anxiety that comes with them.  I also feel like it’s important that she have frequent exposure to a college environment, all the better if it has to do with math & science.  So, definitely, for both us—horizons expanded.

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