Saturday, December 15, 2007

Born on a Blue Day! - A Book

About a week ago, I accidentally stumbled on this book in my local library. To be honest, I had no idea what Autism was. I had to look up the dictionary to find its meaning. After reading several pages, I started to associate Daniel Tammet's Autistic symptom with that of the character in the movie "Rain Man" which was one of my all time favorites.

Read about Daniel's upbringing as an Autistic Savant was most fascinating. He described how numbers have soothing effect on him; he felt calm and happy around numbers and every number has distinctive color, shape, textures and personality. Somehow magically, he can do complex calculation in seconds without any mental exertion. Whenever he felt anxious, he will count numbers to himself. With numbers floating around his mental screen, he is sound and safe again.

People has Autism Spectrum Disorder live most comfortably with rigid set of routine, order and familiarity. Any sudden change in routine could cause severe anxiety. Normally, social interaction and communication proves to be impossible for people with ASD, as a result, most of them are institutionalized for life. But Daniel is different in a sense that he is able to interact and communicate with others. Not only that he has a brilliant mind in mathematical calculation and a phenomenal photographic memory, but also in the age of only 20something he now leads a normal functioning life without the need for institutional support.

This book, " Born On a Blue Day" takes us to the fascinating world of Daniel Tammet that is quite foreign to our own and yet very awe-inspiring. The mind of Autistic Savant is so out of this world that scientist still can not explain how an Autistic Savant is able to calculate large series of numbers in lightening speed.

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