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Tag Archives | CAPD

How Temple Grandin And TED 2010 Helps Me Understand My Son

Years back some of you may remember when I finally got my answer as to what was going on with my son Brian’s learning. He was diagnosed with APD. When the Dr. read to me the common characteristics of these kids, I felt like she knew my son almost as well as I did.

Finally I had answers, and set forth a plan which allowed my son to thrive in school. Kids like my son with APD do not have a loss of hearing sensitivity, but have a hearing problem in the sense that they do not process auditory information normally.

This meant that everyone was now a tutor Brian, from my mother, my ex-husband to me. As I worked with Brian to help him come up with modifications to assist his learning (like always sitting at the front of class) I felt his APD was also more of a way he looked at the world, and a way in which he thought about how the world around him works.

He hates to write, but can tell stories. He loves Math and excels at it. He loves Honors Science and is fascinated by space. Reading bores him, but he can win a new video game in 24 hours. He likes computers, music, weight lifting, building stacks of things and drawing. He loves to work on comedy and is always trying to twist comebacks into something that gets a belly laugh. He has an amazing ability to memorize entire movies right down to quoting what was said. He likes anything that is new that challenges the way he thinks.

Sometimes his thoughts move faster than he can get them out of his mouth.  His father and I have to remind him to take a breath so that is lips can catch up to the story he is sharing.

He is always in his head. It must be an amazing place.

Through all these years I have tried to understand why his mind works the way it does, and the other night I began to watch the new TED video releases from TED2010. By happenstance I clicked on one called, Temple Grandin: The world needs all kinds of minds.

Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world.  She talks about how her mind works in this video. She shares her ability to “think in pictures,” which helps her solve problems that neuro-typical brains might miss. She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids.

HBO has produced a full-length film on telling her story. She fascinates me, and gave me the answer to how my son’s brain works. After watching her video, I asked Brian how he sees problems and solves them. He casually answered, “I see them as images projected side by side or as random patterns I pull together into a clear picture.”


My son thinks in patterns and pictures. No wonder he hates to write. He is not a bad writer, he just hates it.

This week instead of my usual parenting humor, I am sharing the TED video, because the world needs to understand how different minds work, especially those of our emerging children. And if you are struggling with your child in school, maybe this video will help you open up a conversation about how they view the world, and you may be lucky enough to gain an understanding of how their mind works.  Trust me, you are in for a fun ride.

She is brilliant.

It gives us hope for the future. How I love TED videos.

Until next time –



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Why Does a Child Have to Fit The Bell Curve

bell_curveThe “Bell Curve” is a common name of the Gaussian Probability Distribution theory, because is is shaped like a bell.

For example, in a large college class with a fair (equal) exam, the marks will roughly follow a Bell Curve, meaning the test scores will fall within a certain pattern.

There is theory that social order follows this same Gaussin Distribution as the two opposite extremes are pulled to the more middle norm.


The idea is that society at large will attempt to pull back into the norm that which it deems as extreme. Case in point, bring down Bill Gates because he is becoming too rich and powerful and bring up the beggar on the corner because he is too poor and weak.

Bring both extremes closer to the middle (norm) to maintain social norms.  this is an example of a social Bell Curve. This social Bell Curve theory has fascinated me for some time and I am always interested when I think I see it.

Sometimes you see it in cluster groups of women (clicks), who decide to group and exclude other women. It often happens in high school, and then they single out others outside their norm. Unfortunately some do not grow out of this, and it appears again in different forms throughout adult life.

Today, I waged war against the academic social Bell Curve.

We know too well the battle I have been fighting to get the school system to recognize Brian’s needs and figure out what exactly is his learning disability.  It stumped even the best of doctors in my town, but I knew it my heart that not all the wheels of the motor in Brian’s mind were moving together as a team.

It bothered him, so I had to find the answer.

We did find the answer. Part of the CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disability) is the processing delay from the movement of sound to the inner ear, and then the ability to move back it out as movement in motion or with words.

For Brian, there is a severe delay in this function, especially if the sounds are at certain pitches. He might not even hear them.

Often, he is left to finish work in Study Hall to keep up in class. It is not his favorite thing, because he misses out on lunch recess and the games he loves so dear. But on the other hand, he hates being different from the other kids and wants his work turned in with everyone else.

The only area this is not a problem is math.

Back to my Bell Curve problem. The above makes Brian different and difficult for the school administrators (mostly the principal) to handle. Brian is off the Bell Curve, you know, something outside the norm.

Study Hall kids are supposedly bad kids. Brian is kind and well-behaved.  He is well-liked by all his teachers – never in trouble. The Principal is convinced Brian must not like school and this is why he struggles.

I can’t have conversations with this man anymore because it makes me want to do that two fingered Stooges thing to his eyes while screaming obscenities. He can’t make Brian fit into his norm no matter how he tries.

He is an ass of a man. Was that my out loud voice?

His views have caused me to enter in the verbal boxing ring with him more than once.

Today I was just minutes from my head exploding.

I pick Brian up from school and he greets me in his usual happy manner.

“How was school today?”

“Fine. I am hungry”

I think we have this same conversation everyday at this time, only the clothes change.

“Mom, what is suspension?”

“It’s when you are kicked out of school for a few days, why?”

The car is slowing down (as if on its own) to about 5 miles an hour.

“Mr Y (the principal) came to Study Hall today and called some of us up to him one by one and I was one of them.”

“Why?” I again ask calmly.

“Because he says I have been in Study hall twice this month and if I am back again I will be on suspension.”

The truck comes to a dead stop in the middle of the street.

“Mom, what exactly does suspension mean again?”

“WHAT?”  Is this my out loud voice or the sound of car tires screeching to a stop?

I make Brian repeat the whole story.

“Let me get this straight.  You mean to tell me that if you are not able to complete your work in class, because it takes you longer than most kids and you go to Study Hall to finish, which you always do, you are to be kicked out of school?”

“Yes, is that what suspension means?”  His eyes begin to well with tears.

“Brian let me tell you this, I will never let you be kicked out of school for trying to learn. Now, if you spray paint something, steal, pick a fight, break the school rules, it will get you suspended and heaven help you when you get home then. But for this – no – and I will handle it.”

“OK,” I can see the worry on his face.

“Brian I think you know your mother well enough by now. I will handle this, and you will be fine.”

He nods – fighting back his tears of worry over the possibility of being suspended from school.

Red steam is coming off my hair as I try to breathe through my nose to stay calm. I drop him off at his afternoon hearing training and remind him not to worry.

As soon as Brian is out of sight and sound, I try to phone my ex husband so he will calm me down, because I am so redhead angry that my Irish redhead grandma in her grave is pulling her favorite sweater over her head in fright.

He doesn’t answer his cell so I allow myself to just drive a bit. Then I realize the Superintendent and Brian’s school district office are right near where I need to go.

I stop at the district office, ask for the superintendent, who is in a meeting. I very calmly leave a note that I would like her to call me about Brian’s rights under Title 504 and that we need to meet to discuss this principal at Brian’s school.

They were very nice in the office.

I was very nice in the office.

I was!

I wasn’t back in the car driving but 5 minutes when I get the call from the superintendent. I don’t think she got out much of a hello before I was off and running to the madder-than-hell- Catherine races. I had to pull the car over.

I didn’t yell, but I don’t think I took one breath as I calmly told the story.  She conceded that I was not the first parent to call about the Study Hall incident today, and she will pull Brian’s file.

I tell her my thoughts about the administrative staff at Brian’s school and how much I do love Brian’s teacher. She went on to say that the principal is only to talk to the kids in Study Hall who are there for disciplinary reasons, which is not the case for Brian.

Brian just needs the extra time.  She said she would phone this principal and straighten it out. Satisfied, we hang up.

But there it was, the Bell Curve. Brian, being different in school – outside the norm and a principal trying to label him as a problem to bring Brian back into the norm.

Who wants to be “normal” anyways.  Is Jim Carey “normal”?

Until next time –



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