Access by Various artists

Read Post

Access: A different and interesting brain

18 Responses

  • Russell Brown,

    I do eventually remember how to get around my physical environment. It just takes my brain longer to store that information than it does for most others.

    Ah. Like that last time we had a cup of tea and I couldn't work out how you could have headed off in the opposite direction on the way to the cafe ...

    It's really good that you've written this, not just to explain how your own brain works (is there a better way of giving you directions?), but to underline that people's brains, and therefore their experiences, are different, some more than others. It's something I've thoroughly internalised thanks to my sons, but it's always worth talking about.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Thank you. It's taken me years to get my head around brains and difference. Not good or bad or better or worse: just different.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Chelle Hope, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Yeah, that was my fault. I should have said that what I generally need are directions that start with which way to leave a building (left or right) and are very specifically detailed. I can still get it wrong though. In that particular case, I think I read my GPS wrong.

    It's handy to txt detailed directions or even a map.

    In places quite new to me, even if I've been before, I rely entirely on GPS. Every time I leave a place, including where I'm staying, it looks like a completely new place I've never been, to me. I don't recognise it.

    Hastings • Since May 2014 • 61 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Still, I think most people have something they would like to be good at but just aren’t and never will be.

    Quite. More broadly I've enjoyed asking a few non-disabled colleagues over the years how they feel about not being the astronaut, firefighter or ballet dancer they dreamed of. We each have so many possible life paths and nobody gets to explore more than a fraction.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Chelle Hope,

    In places quite new to me, even if I’ve been before, I rely entirely on GPS. Every time I leave a place, including where I’m staying, it looks like a completely new place I’ve never been, to me. I don’t recognise it.

    That mental-map thing resonated with me. If I’m driving from point to point in Auckland I almost always visualise the most efficient route as I’m starting out. It would be hard to drive here without that.

    Oddly enough, I’m less good at actually reading maps.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’m less good at actually reading maps.

    My partner seems to share that, despite being an architect. Apparently reading maps is not at all like reading plans (and she is a whizz CAD monkey). Google maps is her friend. Whereas I tend to look at the map to make sure there's no disasters lurking before heading off "that way" (roads that go towards my destination, but then stop at a barrier is a bugbear).

    The "different and interesting" thing is something I was thinking about on my way to work, in the context of empathising across race/gender/class differences. I'm a rich white male, so I grew up with those advantages. But I'm also probably-slightly-aspergers (like all the cool kids are :) and I remember odd things, and am more preceptive of certain things that NTs (someone being "interested" in someone is often blatantly obvious to me.. unlike when I am boring you witless. Only one of those skills has immense practical value).

    Anyhow, I grew up being told "you don't feel that" "you like doing this" and my life was full of similar gaslighting bullshit. Most egregiously, I was repeatedly told "that didn't happen" until I found evidence, then "I never denied that that happened". I get grumpy thinking about it. So when someone says "I feel X" or "X happened to me" I tend to go "well, you'd know" and move on. Rather than, say "privilege is not a thing", or "everyone likes cake" or other inanities.

    Admittedly this is partly because I tend to be relentlessly straight-forward and obvious compared to the average monkey, but it's also because... if you say you feel something, who am I to disagree?

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    What a fascinating post, thank you very much for sharing, Chelle.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    When I was at Uni I had to take exhaustive notes and then go over them many times to visually remember how they looked on the page in order to recall them. The spoken word flows over me, leaving very little behind! That's amazing you have such great auditory recall.
    Do you remember the tone/voice of the speaker as well as the content?

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Moz,

    probably-slightly-aspergers

    'Accidentally Kelly Street', this aspie brain associated right away. Diverse minds are wonderful.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Chelle Hope, in reply to Lilith __,

    I remember the voice like a recording for a while after, then I only remember the information. That said, I remember the voices of all of my lecturers even now and in some cases it's been over 15 years.

    Hastings • Since May 2014 • 61 posts Report Reply

  • Chelle Hope, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I would so love to be able to do the 'mind map' thing. The visual world often makes no sense to me at all beyond what I immediately see. Not being able to put that snapshot into any wider context is a real pain.

    Weirdly, I read maps really quite well, but only if they don't move around like GPS ones often do. That's disorientating. Paper maps are better. Luckily GPS can tell you which way to go as you're travelling.

    Hastings • Since May 2014 • 61 posts Report Reply

  • Chelle Hope, in reply to Sacha,

    This is such a good point and something I often remind others of when they feel sorry for me.

    Hastings • Since May 2014 • 61 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Chelle Hope,

    'Accidentally Kelly Street

    Frente were such a happy band and that album especially. Except for the lyrics of 190. I saw them perform with Alanis Morrissette of all people, the contrast was *weird*.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • William Ray,

    This is a blatant plug, but for those interested in hearing a bit more about how different brains work you might like to listen (or watch) this interview we did on Nine to Noon with Sue Haldane who uses theater to demonstrate the thought processes of people with ASD, ADHD, etc: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201817128/what's-going-on-in-the-minds-of-children-with-neurological-disorders

    Wellington • Since Aug 2009 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Christine Peet,

    This was great to read. As I said to my husband, a lot of this explains my situation, also living with Spina Bifida/Hydrocephalus. I am terrible with navigation and maths.

    New Zealand • Since May 2014 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Pip Guthrey,

    This is fascinating to me. I was diagnosed with aqueductal stenosis at the age of six months and shunted. None of my neurosurgeons or any of my doctors have ever commented on the possibility of any cognitive damage that may have resulted from my Hydrocephalus. Despite the occasional blockage I lived a pretty typical childhood. I had an endoscopic third ventriculostomy around six years ago and feel like my memory has gotten worse since (my ventricles were pretty large by the time I went to hospital). I also suffered double vision after that surgery, which has since corrected itself. I was never allowed to be active as a kid - was always uncoordinated and clumsy. I have no idea whether that was due to the Hydro, or simply me being naturally clumsy. I wish I could blame my poor math skills on the Hydro rather than just choosing not to do my homework!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Pip Guthrey,

    None of my neurosurgeons or any of my doctors have ever commented

    That's poor on their part.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    People with spina bifida and hydrocephalus are often not very good at maths, so that is a subject we concentrated on. We tend to be a lot better at things like reading, creative writing and spelling,

    Reminds me of a young friend who also had hydrocephalus ( associated with spina bifida).

    In her case, when her shunt was put in, some fwit put the drainage bag practically on the floor...resulting in too much fluid being drained and the wiping out of a few thousand brain cells. She had also had a number of serious blockages in her shunt that where getting increasingly difficult to manage. This lass had a moderate learning impairment, maths was a complete mystery and reading and writing were a challenge.

    Where she did excel was in the area of interpersonal relationships. She was sensitive to the feelings of others...even if she struggled sometimes to understand the thoughts behind the feelings.

    Thank you Chelle for this post...it shines light into a murky area of a factor that is so often overlooked when speaking about spina bifida.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report Reply

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.