Skills

In this page, I will only discuss “mental” skills, not “physical” skills.

There is one thing that many people with AS can do with relative ease, and that is the ability to remember lists of items. A classical example of this would be the countries of the world, and then what continents these countries are in, what are the capital cities of these countries, their populations, their areas, and their heads of state or government. Another example would be the planets of the solar system, and then the distances of each planet from the sun, how long it takes for each planet to go around the sun, and how many moons each planet has.

Another example of where memory comes into play is in remembering parts of scripts in films, or short articles in newspapers.

There is one girl who went to a special school in Beaumont in the early 1980s, at the same time as me, and who comes from County Donegal, and if you give her any date (day, month and year), she will be able to tell you what day of the week falls on that date. I have done a Javascript program to emulate this talent. Click here.

There is another unique talent that some people have, which is the ability to multiply large numbers in one’s head, sometimes beyond the capacity of a pocket calculator, and display it in normal, (not scientific) notation. Here is a Javascript program to do just that. Click here. I also have Javascript programs to perform exponentiation calculations, and factorials.

I watched a programme on the Discovery Channel, around 2005, entitled “The Boy with the Incredible Brain”. You can watch the YouTube video below. It was about a savant named Daniel Tammet. Among his talents was the ability to recite Pi (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, 3.141592653589…) to some 22,500 places of decimals, perform large arithmetic calculations (including multiplication, division and exponentiation) in his head, and learn Icelandic from scratch, and a week later, be interviewed in Icelandic on national television. I believe Icelandic grammar is extremely complex (a lot more complex than Irish grammar!). He had a unique way of performing mathematical operations, and what made him stand out from others was the fact that he was able to describe what is going through his head when he is performing these calculations.

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