My Walking Encyclopedia

One of the most amazing things about my autistic son is his ability to soak up and retain information about anything and everything in an encyclopaedic kind of way. I don’t even know half the time where he is getting so much information from, yet alone how he stores it all in his head. His knowledge covers a huge array of subjects and is often pretty obscure stuff!


This week my eight year old has been learning all about the countries El Salvador and Paraguay in his class at school. Yesterday I took his weekly homework folder out of his bag and was enchanted to see that he has worksheets for language and maths that use the Mayan system for letters and numbers.

“Have you seen your homework worksheets this week?” I called out to my little one, “They are all based on Mayan letters and numbers.”
Immediately my autistic son piped up with  “Did you know the Mayans were the people who first created the number zero?”
“Errr, no, I didn’t know that.” I replied.

“Well they were and also the Mayans………” and with that he was off with all kinds of further information about the Mayans, all from the top of his head.

In my house I am often to be heard saying “How do you even know that?”  It is truly staggering to me.

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One thought on “My Walking Encyclopedia

  1. When the psychologist first evaluated my moderately autistic son, he was impressed. At three he could do puzzle for ten year olds in seconds and knew all the correct names of the animals and dinosaurs that he played with. He also corrected without hesitation the psychologist who mistook a bison for a buffalo. He loved animals, that was how I taught him to speak and write. My mother bought him an animal encyclopedia when he was five and he stayed up late into the night reading it and writing out the names for weeks afterwards. Even now in college, when he is interested in a subject he insists on immersing himself in it.

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