Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Little Timmy Page Grows Up

Where have I been that I just learned about Tim Page, a Pulitzer-winning music critic who was diagnosed with Aspergers as an adult? This clip of him as a boy is a rarity. Who knew what path his life would take when it was filmed? The full-length film can be ordered here from The Hoffman Collection.

This brief NPR interview with him references the article, Parallel Play, that he wrote for The New Yorker about his childhood. Both will endear him to you.

I am glad his early obsessions of filmmaking, music, and words were seeds of greatness that grew. Through them, he has arrived at a prominent place in society. For our kids, he role models the awkwardness and hard work it takes to figure out social skills. To educators, he is a crucial example of how genius and disability can, and do coexist. Both need to be instructed. I wish I could attribute a methodology which has always stuck with me: We need to teach to the strength and remediate the weakness. After all, what is so horrible about having a good memory, attention to detail, and being obsessed with music?

I love the way Page writes. He is competent, inspirational, honest and practical. The fact that he shares some nitty gritty detail gives me hope for Reid.

"Were other “geniuses” so oblivious that they couldn’t easily tell right from left and idly wet their pants into adolescence? What accounted for my rages and frustrations, for the imperious contempt I showed to people who were in a position to do me harm?"

In the radio interview he recalls how he "flunked and flunked for many years" all while educating himself on subjects that interested him. He made an independent study of etiquette and was relieved to learn the intellectual reasons behind our countless social customs. I can't help notice how often he uses the word "explain." Nightly, at tuck in time Reid says to me (even calls me back into his room if he forgets), "Mom, explain about tomorrow." It helps him so much to know what's on the agenda in advance. The word "explain" haunts me a bit. A simple request that makes a world of difference in compliance, comprehension, and trust.

I was going to say, "Tim, we want a biography!" but in researching this I learned he is already writing one, to be released in 2009 by Doubleday. Yay!

In the meantime, I think I'll pull out my antique copy of Emily Post to read with Reid tonight.

Peter said to Him, "Explain the parable to us." Matthew 15:14-16

I beg you to listen to me patiently...especially because you are an expert in all customs and questions among the Jews. Acts 26:2-4

"Come now, and let us reason together,"Says the LORD," Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow. Isaiah 1:17-19

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  1. I had the same word pop into my head, "Fascinating!" His book should be very interesting.

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