Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Self-Awareness

Yesterday, I read about research that has shown that elephants can recognize their own reflected image. The other species with this ability the article lists, along with people, are great apes and dolphins. I wonder about some other animals, too. I have known cats to look a long time at themselves. The question is, are they admiring themselves, as I suspect, and know that it is themselves, or do they just see another animal looking at them? We'd have to be able to run the tests on a cat.

The question of what effect a person has on another and his or her awareness of that effect is on my mind. Today, Alan and I were in a restaurant with another mom and her son. Alan got onto one of his topics related to the office of the American president. He asked Christina if she knew something about President Nixon. Christina answered him generously and talked with him a bit about Mr. Nixon's accomplishments. Whatever we feel about Mr. Nixon, there were some positive things about his presidency. Wade, the other boy, told us that he is not at all interested in politics. He is, however, interested in basketball. He asked Alan if he knew any teams or any players. No, he doesn't. Alan shows no interest in watching basketball, although he likes to play it in the gym at the Teen Center when he goes on Mondays when the gym isn't being used for volleyball. Alan has no idea about finding something to talk to Wade about. This is a boy he sees a couple of times a week. I am struggling with how to get Alan interested enough in televised basketball to be able to talk about the game with someone like Wade. The thing is, being able to talk about sports is one of those things that young males need to be able to do.

Without forcing it on him, I need to figure out how to interest Alan in those social topics that make it possible to be friendly and not drive people away from him. Unless he can join a club that discusses the American presidents, most of the time he will be alone once a person realizes that he is going to talk and talk and talk about them.

And too, the skill of looking interested, even if bored, so that he can go to the movies or play a game of pool with someone, is another one he will need to learn.

In the meantime, I am off to learn about motor neurons. Some researchers think that the lack of motor neurons characterizes autism. If so, what, if anything, can the autistic person do to compensate? Can they be developed in someone?

1 Comments:

Blogger The Glasers said...

David is like that. He is neurotypical, but tends to get along better with adults, even those in college because he has a broader range of interest. He likes older music and movies and Monty Python and Mystery Science Theater. He dislikes hip-hop music, hip-hop fashion, and horror movies, which kids around her seem to enjoy.

He knows that kids his age (and adults) love football, but he knew very little about the sport. We do not have cable/satellite/rabbit ears, so it's not easy to follow. Anyway, he heard about a chat for a PC game (Head Coach) and ten participants in the chat would win an autographed copy of the game. He won! He has played the game and is learning the lingo and rules. He has decided to be a Steelers fan because his uncle is a die-hard fan. Last weekend, he went with the church youth group to a college football game and had a blast. So, perhaps, Alan could pick one sport and find a computer game to get him acquainted with it.

My husband follows soccer and tennis, but not American football. He just checks the stats and looks online to have a superficial knowledge of who is in the running and the latest score. He fakes it!

4:42 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home