Ok, I give! CCK08 is officially killing me! I’m going to try and hang in there. I think the problem is that the topics are so meaty, and interesting, that I want to only do this class and nothing else.
For instance, this post has been sitting in my head for a while. I just haven’t been able to get the words together to do real justice to the idea in my head. So I put it off, and the idea gets bigger. Then I get frustrated. It’s such an evil cycle.
How are people on the Autism spectrum affected by a network? I’m just going to bullet point my main ideas, feel free to pull them apart. I do believe that if we are talking about a new theory of learning, we have the opportunity to investigate this theory for ALL learners. So I think we should take some care to think about how this new theory of connectivism works for folks with learning disabilities.
So here is the list of my thoughts on autism and networks. It is not referenced, I just don’t have time. These are merely the thoughts of a mom with a child on the spectrum:
- Some learners won’t give any (expected) feedback about being connected to the network, but will learn from the network.
I say expected because they probably are giving some sort of feedback, but it’s just not at the frequency that the rest of the world is listening for.
Obvious examples of this would be non-verbal people with savant qualities. These people have an expert level of knowledge or skill in one particular area. Did this quality come from the sky? Or are they plugged into the network somehow?
- The lack of social awareness may help attach to a classroom network, but being overwhelmed with sensory data may prevent that attachment.
One of the hallmarks of Asperger’s Syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum, is that a person with this syndrome won’t understand social cues. They have a hard time making friends (connecting to the network?), are loners, etc. But they usually also have one or two special interests for which they are experts. People on this end of the spectrum are usually very intelligent as well.
Maybe because their lack of understanding social norms is what helps them excel in school. They are not distracted by the social cliques at school because they just don’t see them. They don’t see the social circles, so they are left out them (excluded from those networks?). But this helps them have more attention for the lessons. So while socially they seem disconnected, they are very tuned into the classroom instruction.
That is, if they are able to tune out sensory information. Many autistic people have very sensory integration problems. So while they are oblivious to social cues, every sensory cue that is in the room is handled as a major issue to be addressed cognitively. Florescent lights, someone sweeping the hall outside, kids whispering, all of that is hard to filter if you have sensory integration disorder. Since their sensory filters don’t work to filter sensory input properly, autistic kids may be too flooded with information to attach to the classroom network.
That’s all I have so far. Sorry there’s not more hard evidence attached to my idea. What have I left out?