While other theories of autism explain it as a disability, the Intense World Theory of autism explains it as an intensification of the neurological processing. This approach also explains how it is that many people with autism have strong abilities as well.
Daniel’s strength certainly lies in his ability to make strong causal connection. For example, one morning, as I was taking Daniel and Dylan to the babysitter’s, Daniel noticed his breath in the cold air.
“I’m making fog.”
I told him that he was right. I also told him that fog was water in the air and that fog and clouds were the same thing.
“And when clouds come together, they make rain?” And he brought his hands together and intertwined his fingers.
He was, of course, right. When clouds become dense enough, rain drops form and fall. These are the kinds of observations Daniel makes all the time. He was able to make that leap of logic that most 5 year olds –- heck, far too many adults, let alone children –- cannot make.
Around that time, Daniel also asked me, “What is air?” I told him that it’s what we breathe. He then asked me, “How do lungs work?” After I told him, he asked if the lungs looked like the heart. I want you to think about the implications of that connection he made.
Perhaps the most astounding one he ever made involved magnetism and electricity. Daniel had a fascination with power plants there for a while, and I showed him online about how generators work–that the water or steam produced by heating water with coal, wood, or fission spun a generator that produced electricity–and where the electricity went. I didn’t go into details about exactly how the generator produces electricity, only that spinning was involved. Later, when Daniel asked me how magnets work, I told him. I explained about how electrons are flowing through and around the magnet. He then said, “So, if you spin it, it will produce electricity?” And that is, of course, what is being spun in a generator to produce electricity. He was six at the time.
I wish I could remember them all.