Monday, February 25, 2008

Autism, the Brain and Tiger Woods

If London “Cabbies” can train themselves to remember 25,000 London Streets and navigate them and make their brains develop, we too must be able to do much in enhance ours.
If this can happen with adult brain in this very specific visual spatial area we must be able to do the same with other areas of brain functioning.

In the chapter “Miracles” of my book "The Cockroach Catcher”, I highlighted the case of how a boy who was considered beyond the then accepted critical age for language acquisition managed to acquire not one but two languages after intensive input. This was after half his brain was removed to treat a specific neurological condition.

In another chapter, I told the story of how one mother managed to get her autistic boy to speak by giving him her intensive input, against all predictions that he would have great difficulties in that area.

Be warned: there are no short cuts. Great commitment and dedication is required. But believe you me – often the results surprised even The Cockroach Catcher.

Many new parents tend to parent by responding to cues given to them. There is nothing wrong with that. We talk to our kids when they talk to us and we leave them alone if they want to play on their own. Sometimes parents insist that quiet play is actually good for their children when they themselves want some peace and quiet…..
……With autistic children one may have to wait a very long time for those cues and they may never come……
…… there is something you can start if you are not doing already. Do not stop talking to Anthony. Give him running commentaries on what you are doing even if it is about tidying the place, getting his dinner or doing his laundry…...’Don’t wait for his response,’ I emphasized……”
“……At three years and four months Anthony spoke. He did not just speak. He was in full sentences.
I said to mother, you have delivered……”

Tiger Woods:
As I wrote, Tiger Woods just won the Accenture Match Play World Championship, his fourth tour win this year alone. It is a tribute to the commitment of Tiger’s parents and especially to his father Earl Wood’s induction of Tiger into golf from an early age. The same goes for parents of many successful sportsmen and musicians. There is no doubt all these pursuits also require manual dexterity, accuracy and concentration from the individual. They all have regular and long practices – regular feed-back to the brain.
Even when we cannot drive long drives like Tiger, the Cockroach Catcher contends that if a golfer wants to improve his brain, he should concentrate on the short game, especially putting. The visual spatial computation required is what will keep the brain cells “wriggling”.
Congratulations to Tiger on his success. I must book my next week’s Tee time now.
Golf Posts:

Autism posts:

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