Autism: “A hair-dryer kid in a toaster-brained world” (Part I of III)

Bud’s Grade 5 class, in disguise; photo from: http://momnos.blogspot.com/ …………………………………………………………………………………………….

I am grateful for this guest article I borrowed today, Wed, July 21, 2010. This is Part I of a 3-Part series about Bud, a 10-year-old with learning differences.

Bud, who has been labeled autistic, has been placed in a regular Grade 5 classroom. His Mom’s brilliant interactive discussion with the kids in his class (with Bud absent of course) is detailed here.

This is the best description of autism I have read anywhere

Thanks Mom! We are grateful for your creativity, your courage, and your willingness to share!

What is autism? (Part I of III)

Bud’s Mom is interacting with Bud’s classmates at school (with Bud absent):

“Now, we all know that your brain is a machine that’s made of tissue and neurons and nerve cells. But let’s pretend it was a more simple machine. Let’s pretend your brain wasn’t made of tissue and neurons and nerve cells, but instead, it was made of metal and plastic and electrical wires. And let’s pretend that when you put that metal and plastic and electrical wire together, it turned into a toaster.”

Here, the class laughed – the good kind of laughter. I carried on. They were with me.

“And let’s pretend that MOST of us had toaster brains. Some of us might make white toast and some wheat toast or rye toast, and some of us might make light toast and some of us dark toast. Some of us might only toast bagels, and sometimes we might even burn the toast, but for the most part, all of our brains would be able to do the same thing: make toast.

“Now, think about the pretend world that we have just created. In our world, MOST people have toaster brains. So, when we make the rules for our world and decide how we want to spend our time, what do you think we’ll decide is the MOST important thing a person can do?”

Nora raised her hand. “Always try hard and do our very best?”

“Yes!” I said. “And WHEN we do our very best, we will be doing a great job making…”

“Toast!” they responded in unison.

“Yes! Because we have brains that are really GOOD at making toast – so we will want to have a world where it’s REALLY important and REALLY valuable to make toast. Right?”

Heads nodded around the room.

“Now let’s pretend that Bud’s brain is ALSO made of metal and plastic and electrical wires, just like our brains, except that when HIS metal and plastic and electrical wires get put together, they turn into a totally different kind of machine. Instead of being a TOASTER, Bud’s metal and plastic and electrical wires turn into a HAIR DRYER.”

I swear, I heard gasps.

“Now, there’s nothing WRONG with a hair dryer, right? Hair dryers are great! There are some things that hair dryers are really good for. There are some things that a hair dryer can do even BETTER than a toaster. But it is REALLY, REALLY hard to make toast with a hair dryer.”

They laughed again, and nodded, and totally, completely got it.  …………………………………………………………………………………………

So did I!

I will publish the continuation of this welcome guest article in the next post (July 22, 2010);  this article is an excerpt from Bud’s Mom’s blogsite: http://momnos.blogspot.com/2010/03/on-being-hair-dryer-kid-in-toaster.html

I posted a comment on this Mom’s blogsite:

Doc Meek said…
Does anybody know the tune for “A hairdryer kid in a toaster-brained world?” I predict that, like “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” this Mom’s “Hair-dryer kid in a toaster-brained world,” will go down in history. I’ve been helping kids mitigate learning and attentional problems for over thirty years now, and it is an axiom with me that “Mother knows best.” This Mom makes that point sharper than a surgical needle, right? – Doc Meek, Learning Consultant, May 7, 2010, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA
May 07, 2010 11:38 AM ………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Blessings, Doc Meek, Wed, July 21, 2010, at South Jordan, Utah, USA ——————————-

J. Collins Meek, Ph.D. (Doc Meek)
“What if you are smarter than you think?”
Learning Specialist https://docmeek.com

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2 Responses to “Autism: “A hair-dryer kid in a toaster-brained world” (Part I of III)”

  • Jim:

    Good to hear a simple analogy for an otherwise complex disorder.

  • Jim! Good to see you on THE LEARNING CLINIC WORLDWIDE blog! This Mom’s simple analogy was really helpful–for anyone–and certainly the grade 5 kids in her son’s class. Love and Blessings, Dad

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