The Life Autistic: Not as Smart as People Think

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I’m still quite terrible with humility, but this one is just honesty:

I am honestly not as smart as many people think. 

I’m ok with that, and I’m happy to demystify!

But first, a story:

My wife, Andrea, told me a tale from our college days, when she was at some party with this one odd gal who made snow angels in the host’s carpet. Which, I guess that’s a story too.

But said gal recounted how she sleuthed out my student ID (uh…) from the records office (what), so she could compare our mid-term exam scores in an English class (why?).

“I couldn’t believe I actually got a better grade,” she beamed.

“Oh,” said Andrea. “Yeah, Hunter didn’t study for that one.

Ouch. That’s what you go to the burn unit for.

Why am I sharing this?

Because I wan’t people to get the wrong impression about me.

I’m not some genius. I’m not all that smart.

These are the real “autistic strengths” that I’ll attest to:

1) Decent memory

It’s the forgetting that’s the hard part! But yeah, I tend to remember a bit, both actively and passively. It’s not perfect, and as Mrs. H2 will attest, I can forget things as soon as I hear them, but it’s not too shabby.

2) Recall

There are times where my memory is just “all right there.” I often don’t need to take time to remember, so the instantaneousness comes out at a good clip. But really, that’s not smarts – that’s just a product of producing memories quickly. 

3) Associations

There’s recalling memories, and then there’s stitching them into patterns, situations, fitting them into neat spots to form a pattern. It’s almost like creativity. I’ve done OK professionally with this, as a coach, organizational leader, analyst, etc. Is it a “smart” thing? I dunno.

4) Big words

We’ve been over this.

That’s it. That’s the combo.

I’m really slow with math. Sluggish with computations. I don’t read as many books as I should. I don’t have an advanced degree. I wouldn’t last anywhere in engineering fields. I’m actually aware of where I’m not the sharpest bulb in the shed.

I’ve got a good memory and recall combo, and I’m almost clever – I’ll take that.



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