Nuestra deuda con los pensadores visuales

Cuando era más joven, creía que todo el mundo pensaba, como yo, con imágenes fotorrealistas; con el parpadeo de una secuencia de diapositivas de PowerPoint o de videos de TikTok que van pasando por tu cabeza.

No tenía ni idea de que la mayoría de las personas piensan más con palabras que yo. Para muchos, son las palabras, y no las imágenes, las que dan forma a su pensamiento. Probablemente esa es la razón por la cual nuestra cultura se ha vuelto tan habladora: los profesores dan charlas, las autoridades religiosas predican, los políticos pronuncian discursos y vemos “cabezas parlantes” en la televisión.…  Seguir leyendo »

"¡Qué vergüenza!, ¡qué falta de educación! Esto lo arreglaba yo rápido y bien sé cómo". Así increpaba una señora a la madre de un adolescente, elevando el volumen de su voz para ser bien oída. La madre agachaba la cabeza, mordiéndose la lengua para no gritar su realidad, preguntándose cómo era posible que no se diera cuenta de lo que pasaba. Me lo contaba esa mamá, con lágrimas y rabia en su mirada, y aún sin entender muy bien por qué. Ella estaba en el autobús, con su hijo, un joven con la sombra del bigote ya asomando, que se había sentado en el primer sitio que encontró.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Nazi History Behind ‘Asperger’

My son’s school, David Starr Jordan Middle School, is being renamed. A seventh grader exposed the honoree, Stanford University’s first president, as a prominent eugenicist of the early 20th century who championed sterilization of the “unfit.”

This sort of debate is happening all over the country, as communities fight over whether to tear down Confederate monuments and whether Andrew Jackson deserves to remain on the $20 bill. How do we decide whom to honor and whom to disavow?

There are some straightforward cases: Hitler Squares were renamed after World War II; Lenin statues were hauled away after the collapse of the Soviet Union.…  Seguir leyendo »

A study published last week found that the brains of autistic children show abnormalities that are likely to have arisen before birth, which is consistent with a large body of previous evidence. Yet most media coverage focuses on vaccines, which do not cause autism and are given after birth. How can we help people separate real risks from false rumors?

Over the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion of studies linking autism to a wide variety of genetic and environmental factors. Putting these studies in perspective is an enormous challenge. In a database search of more than 34,000 scientific publications mentioning autism since its first description in 1943, over half have come since 2008.…  Seguir leyendo »

When my autistic son, Nat, was about 8, we learned that he loved looking at family photos on my husband’s computer. This discovery rocked my family’s world. Before then, we did not know that Nat enjoyed our faces. He had never seemed that comfortable looking at or talking to us. Perhaps he liked the unchangeable nature of pictures, their static predictability. Or maybe the stillness of photos gave him the space to process his thoughts.

“Go there,” Nat would say, pointing at an image from my mother’s house during Passover. Once we understood that the house, our family and the holidays were things Nat liked, my son Max started taking pictures of them and we’d put them on the laptop for Nat.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Cathryn Garland, a director at Discovery Communications and Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 21/11/06):

With the recent Senate passage of the Combating Autism Act, the House is now poised to approve landmark legislation to help scientists understand the causes and characteristics of autism — a spectrum of neurological disorders affecting more than 1 in 200 children in the United States. If the House does as we hope and passes the act, the National Institutes of Health and related health research agencies will finally begin to devote the magnitude of resources — nearly $200 million a year — commensurate with the severity and prevalence of this terribly devastating set of conditions.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Ann Bauer, the author of the novel A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards (THE WASHINGTON POST, 30/10/06):

My 18-year-old son shambles. There's no other word for it. He walks like an old man: scraping the soles of his feet on the floor, tilting his head to one side and tucking it into the space between his neck and shoulder.

What's more, he's mammoth. At 6-foot-3, with at least two inches of moppy hair, he towers over nearly everyone he meets. Because of a penchant for sugary coffee drinks and Qdoba's 3-Cheese Nachos with grilled sirloin, which he buys with the money his grandparents send him, he weighs around 250 pounds.…  Seguir leyendo »