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Fantasy Impromptu
eschew obfuscation
Autism 
17e-oct-2007 09:26 am
Yesterday, I went to an Autism clinic, I'm taking an Autism seminar this semester. Part of the class is interning at a clinic. Noticed a couple of things that were interesting:

1) So Autism is a social disorder, people with autism tend to have trouble understanding social situations, picking up cues, etc, leading to them appearing very awkward. Yeah, I was more awkward than these kids were. Honestly, what brainiac decided that it was a good idea to invite Yale student, one of the most awkward groups of people ever, to teach these folks social skills? I mean, that's just blind leading the blind. Well, in my case, it was more like the blind and deaf leading the blind. Sad.

2) When I first came, they were watching Family Guy, and they were laughing at the appropriate moments. Later, when they were watching the Colbert Report, this senator guest start pulled out a "mini-Colbert" out of his pocket, obviously digitally inputted right? The mini-Colbert started dancing and all that. It was hilarious, kind of the main punch line of the segment (the point was that the senator had everything in his pocket, including a mini constitution, mini magna carta, mini rosetta stone, and a mini Colbert). The kids didn't find that quite as funny. I think they (or some of them) were fixated on the fact that the mini-Colbert was actually CGI, and didn't get that it was supposed to represent another entity with a funny dance and high pitched voice. Now, this lead me to wonder how they came to understand the cartoon characters in Family Guy as having thoughts and feelings, why they laughed at cartoons in Family Guy and not the mini-Colbert. Perhaps, they were explicitly taught that to treat cartoons as real people, but not explicitly taught to treat CGI'd mini people as real people, or rather as real mini people. Interesting, huh?
Comments 
19e-oct-2007 12:58 am (UTC)
I read something recently about someone at CMU in the past couple years making some big breakthroughs in figuring out why autistic people are the way they are. If I am remembering correctly, he used fMRI's to figure out what is going on in the brain of Austistic people. I don't remember the results. I *think* they think that individual areas of the brain function normally or better than normally but different areas of the brain have trouble communicating but don't quote me on that. Unfortunately, I threw the magazine out when I was done reading the article so I can't go look it up.
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