In the April issue, Park Lane Stables’ employee Rebekah Morgan talked about how working with horses helps her cope with Asperger’s syndrome. Here she shares some thoughts on the influential personalities on the autism spectrum who she admires.
One of the most well-known autistic women is activist Temple Grandin who has spoken broadly on her ability to ‘think in pictures’. She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual, pattern and verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart, geeky kids.
Satoshi Tajiri is the creator of Pokemon, the global franchise first introduced in 1996. The game’s classic battle set-up and unique algorithms allow two physically identical Pokemon, who have been trained equally, to be different. This could only have been created by someone with autism.
Sir Isaac Newton discovering gravity is a perfect example of how the autistic mind can think outside the box, as well as make patterns and connections that the neurotypical mind may bypass.
Daniel Tammet has a rarer form of autism known as Savant syndrome. Autistic savants normally have memory skills unlike anyone else. They can do complex mathematical calculations with ease, draw extremely accurate maps from memory after a single viewing, and learn new languages in a matter of days. Daniel can recite ‘Pi’ correctly to 22,514 places and learned how to speak fluent Icelandic in 7 days. His book, Born on a Blue Day, is definitely worth a read.
Luna Lovegood, a fictional character from the Harry Potter book series, displays many autistic traits, especially her knack of speaking of uncomfortable truths. She is quirky, kind- hearted and fiercely loyal. As her character develops, it becomes obvious that many people are unkind about her differences – sadly this happens in the real world to people on the spectrum. However, Luna rises to meet her challenges and her different way of thinking helps in many situations.
The part of her character development that, as a fellow Aspie, really hits home is when we see Luna’s bedroom – beautifully decorated with paintings of her school friends, and the words ‘friends, friends, friends’ written a thousand times over in gold ink. Despite being a tiny part of the story, I feel it accurately describes the loyalty of someone with autism and the fact everyone needs a little bit of Luna in their life.