Autism and Spatial Intelligence

by jennifer18. September 2014 13:40

Does anyone have a special needs child that has gone through neurocognitive testing? My 8yo autistic son is going through some "stuff" right now, and it's just nice to know that I might not be alone.

Yesterday he took a standardized math test that they expected the 3rd graders to fail because it's stuff that they haven't EVER been taught. Well...ONE kid passed, and passed with a high score, and finished in 20 minutes while the rest of the kids took 45 minutes.

Yup, MY kid. The kid that can't get himself dressed properly, that can't hold a pencil or hardly write (he can, it's just LABORIOUS) And while he HATES to read, he also scored at the end of the 3rd grade year in reading, which puts him ahead in that area as well. Not leaps and bounds like in math, but still ahead.

It just so happened that I had scheduled his normal psych appt for TODAY and the doctor wants him tested for Neurocognitive IQ/Achievement. He also recommends an additional behavior specialist through school for extra help and wants him evaluated for occupational therapy for assistance in handwriting skills.

He said if it wasn't for the fact that the boy is just a natural athlete he might think he also had Developmental Coordination Disorder.

But he really thinks his Spatial Intelligence is off the charts.

Honestly this might explain A LOT about Ronin. He LOVES school. LOVES it. Ronin has "atypical autism" he is SUPER friendly, LOVES (most) people, and is a social butterfly. But he LOVES maps. He needs to know WHERE he is AT ALL TIMES.

So we're in this wait and see mode, and I'm just sort of trying to wrap MY head around what all this means for him, and for our family. I'm honestly concerned about the Neurocognitive testing because of the time required to "just sit" as that is an area that Ronin really struggles with.

This is a really interesting article on Aspergers and Spatial Intelligence. And while Ronin doesn't have Aspergers I still found the article interesting. Do I have too much testosterone and passed it on to Ronin?? But I need to do more research.

So...tell me I'm not alone. Have some of you been through this?? Something like this??

And...he's still non-medicated and the doctor wants to keep him that way!



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Comments (36) -

StaceyUnited States
9/18/2014 3:11:58 PM #

Congratulations on the math test, Ronin! Way to go!

OK this is going to be a long ramble. I will apologize in advance because this is going to be too much about me, but that is all I really have experience with.  I can't speak about autism, but when I was a kid in the 70s, I was considered " a bit weird".  I tested in the top 1%, loved math, music, writing, science and any kind of puzzles. From an early age I used to take things apart ( like the wind up alarm clock) to see how they worked. My mom was cool with this as long as I put everything back together before my dad came home from work.

I also had ticker tape synesthesia and thought it was normal until I was about 8. People would wonder what I was staring at & thought I was slow... but I was just watching words & punctuation scroll over their heads when they talked. That faded in my late teens. (But was great for spelling tests!)

I loved school and used to do math problems for fun.  My son has an aptitude for math too - There is a series of magazines from Highlights called Puzzlemania & Mathmania that he used to get.  He loved them & would plow through them as soon as they came in. Might be worth looking into.

Is your son around musical instruments at all or exposed to classical or jazz music? There are many papers written about the correlation between math & music. If you go to the Florida Orchestra, they have a new program this year where you get a free child ticket with each adult ticket purchase.

Chess is excellent for kids with math & spacial skills. I can't recommend that enough. Once they learn the basics, it comes naturally. They can "see" the moves and the results before anything happens. There are some excellent chess clubs for kids in Tampa.

There are many fun ways to encourage his skills - legos, marble runs, online games where you build roller coasters etc. My 10 year old loves building in minecraft - there is a lot of great info on how minecraft can teach/encourage learning about architecture, physics, electricity etc. It would probably appeal to his interest in maps too. (I've also been crazy about maps my whole life.)

Ronin may also enjoy Coder Dojo - it is a free program at local libraries that teaches kids basic programming with an easy to use program called Scratch. They take kids of all skills and ages. They are encouraged to create projects. In addition to the mentors, the kids who have been going a while will help the other kids if they get stuck. It usually meets every couple of weeks and they get to share what they have been doing as well as learn new skills.

Whatever you guys get into, you are going to have so much fun! It is a big world out there & someone has to map and explore it

StaceyUnited States
9/18/2014 3:16:34 PM #

Also, target sports, golf, tennis and fishing are great for kids with good spacial relations. My son loves archery. When he was little, he was freakishly accurate when throwing a ball. Our neighbor used to be in the minors and had hoped to coach him in pitching, but Frank lost interest in team sports the last couple of years.

TifUnited States
9/18/2014 3:27:24 PM #

Scharae tested 99% on the MAPS assessment test here in May. The same test they administer through grade 8, and she was finishing grade 2. They've moved her ahead to fourth grade math but (IMO) it's not going as well as I was assured it would. She has the spatial reasoning and logic skills to be acing it. But applyig that to every day mathematics isn't natural for her. She's had IQ testing also. I don't remember the score. She was 6 when it was done and I know it had her at the high end of gifted, but just a bit low for genius or whatever the next level is. She reads at a 7th grade level and her comprehension is there, not just vocabulary. BUT her focus is so lacking. She does her best reading and focused verbal discussions when she's moving-swings, monkey bars, bouncing on a balance ball. But of course school isn't interested in those methods. We just started OT last week and are working on that need for proprioceptive feedback (which based on how well Ronin responds to activity I would say he is probably in that boat, too) and how to help her find ways to satisfy it while still being able to participate in the activities around her. Just retested her for ADHD and she still "doesn't exactly fit the criteria but doesn't exactly NOT fit it, either." Life is quite a trip!

JennyUnited States
9/18/2014 3:38:31 PM #

Great advice ladies!! Thank you so much! He does love Minecraft 😊  we've tried chess but he didn't love it, but it was last year, we should try again. And he likes drumming. He's always going around drumming on things. I should look into lessons. And I love maps too 😊

StaceyUnited States
9/18/2014 7:24:49 PM #

Drumming is a great idea! Have you been to any drum circles? We were at one by accident. I did not know until then that my son had rhythm. Turn out his (public) elementary school has a drum group & he loves it. I picked up some excellent African & Cuban drums last Xmas after lots of research. Let me know if you want a link.  On the aside I came back to ask if you guys play board games. There are many great ones. A few years back we spent all summer playing Qwerkle (shapes & patterns), Blokus(great semi abstract spacial puzzle game), Rumikub, tri- onimos & cribbage. You might know I work for a game company. If you are looking for anything with a particular spin I should be able to steer you towards something.

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