About this blog.

My son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at 24 months. I created this blog to bring meaning to the often-confusing label. Sometimes I have answers. Other times, just more questions.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Musings, Part I: Foreground/Background

We know that the perceptual abilities of those with autistic spectrum disorders is different. For example, as I blogged, one study showed that those with ASD tend to have eagle eye vision. Individuals with ASD report other differences, including differences in the ability to perceive sight, sound, touch and taste.

I have no idea exactly how Brad takes in the world. However, I do have a theory: his foreground/background are the reverse of typical. Not the exact reverse. But different. For example, I often sleep in an oversized shirt emblazoned with a large "Old Navy" logo. When I wake my typical son, he greets me - sometimes with a smile, sometimes with a frown, but I believe he sees me in the foreground, and my shirt in the background.

With Brad, I think it's the reverse - it's like he sees my shirt in the foreground, and me in the background. Drawn to the visual stimulus, he recites the letters. He may be interested in affirmation for getting the letters correct, which is great, because that's joint attention. He's not detached from me. He just doesn't take me in or experience me the way my typical son does.
Similarly, noises that are in my background, like a plane flying overhead, appear to be in Brad's foreground. And when we go to a restaurant, he has an uncanny ability to pick out a baby crying, even if it's just a dull wimper from across the room.


Quirky Mom said...

Hmmm. This is an interesting topic.

I can tell you how it is for me. It's ALL foreground, or sometimes ALL background. It's not that you would be background for me while your shirt would be foreground. For me, anyway, I'm either being bombarded with more sensory information than a NT would, or else I'm tuning 99% of my environment out to the exclusion of something that has my interest. Hubby says that I'm like a cat in the way that I tune stuff out.

A little boy just 2 years old said...

Hmmmm. Im likein' it.

Certainly if I wear anything with a subject of interest - DS sees that first. I've never thought of it in this way - but its a very interesting take!

Sometimes - he goes straight for my hair instead of me too. So, he would reach out and say 'Mommy' in the morning, but not really look AT me - he'd be looking at my hair and reach out for my hair instead of the more typical - hug or eye to eye contact. But I still get a smile - usually.

Laura said...

Quirky Mom - yeah, sounds like Apple is "hyper" not "hypo" sensitive. But with hyper probably comes a unique way of taking in the world.

E's mommy - it's all about the smile. :-)

Quirky Mom said...

Laura, to be clear, I was talking about *me* and not Apple. I imagine Apple being the same way, but I don't really know.

And to the Mom of the little boy just 2 years old... When he looks at his hair, he is looking at you. Your hair is every bit as much you as your eyes are. It may not be the typical way a child looks at his mother, but he's still looking at you. <3

Laura said...

oops, that went over my head LOL

Elizabeth Channel said...

Fascinating. Like with the shirt, if there are words, my son will gravitate to the words first and begin reading them. Words almost always trump people. We joke that we can get him to follow us anywhere if we just lead him by a book!

Laura said...

Elizabeth - yeah, I daresay that seems to be a near universal trait among HFAs...