At the beginning of the school year, Mark brought home one of those tests that helps you figure out how you learn. Curious, I took the test myself, as did Bruce. Bruce seemed to be very well rounded, and did fairly well in all of the categories. I scored very high in the musical and linguistic areas, fairly well in a few other categories and downright awful in the spacial category.
As I have lived with persons who are very smart, but in drastically different ways, I know first hand that there is no real way to pin down HOW smart a person is as compared to another person. There are just too many facets. I know some people who are geniuses certifiably so, who in a school / on paper do exceedingly well, but when it comes to real life situations, they lack somewhat. On the other hand, I am very closely linked with some people who look like complete idiots on paper, but who are in actuality very intelligent. Bruce for example can't spell to save his life, but give him a puzzle to solve, and you'd be hard pressed to find someone who could do it faster.
What I'm getting at is this: There is just NO way to pin down how smart someone is, or exactly how they learn. The brain is just too multifaceted to be able to do it with any REAL accuracy. But here is a facet that I've been thinking about: focus.
How focused is your brain power. Some people seem to have a wide focus, and others narrower. This would effect the kind of information that you take in. Think of it like a flashlight beam. A wide focus would illuminate lots of things, and take in a wide range, while a narrower focus would take in a smaller range, but with greater detail.
I think Bruce has a wide focus. He is very observant, and good at remembering general things. I on the other hand seem to have a narrower focus. The things that I pay attention to, I remember VERY well. I can memorize like nobody's business. If I actually paid attention to it, it's there for good, and I challenge you to prove me wrong. But I'm always forgetting little things. Bruce will ask me to do something while my brain is elsewhere, and I'll say "sure," then forget about it 10 minutes later. Why? It wasn't in my field of focus. I was paying attention somewhere else. If you gave Bruce and I a picture to look at and said "Study this, and in a minute I will ask you questions about it." Bruce would probably do better than I would. He would take in the whole picture, while I would probably be focused on a part or two. If you asked me about something on that part that I paid attention to, I'd tell you every single detail, but if you asked me about something outside of that sphere...??? If you asked the two of us to remember a 10 digit number, I'd beat him every time.
I don't have any autistic children, but it seems like they have a very narrow focus. They will shock you to the core with some of the things that they can remember and know, while at the same time they seem to miss a lot of other things.
I don't know. It's just a thought.