Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Mental Map- Part 1: Encoding

Philip and I have reached Chapter 8 in Soma’s book Understanding Autism through RPM.  We will go through the 6 factors (1 per day) that piece together to form one’s mental map.

“Philip, what is a mental map?” (Philip's answers in bold)
 It is each person’s way of interpreting the environment.

What is it based on?

Neural pathways and brain function.

What does the mental map influence?


The first factor that comprises the mental map is encoding.  It is the process of interpreting the objective stimuli that we sense in the physical space and situation we are in.  In autism, the sensory channels may detect the environment in a number of different ways.  For example, a person with global hearing may hear things as one big sound in which the sound of people’s voices in the room, the hum of the refrigerator, and noise from the TV all blend as one.  A person with selective vision may only look at a detail such as things that are red over everything else.  Generalized hearing and vision is when a person can take in the whole environment while being able to distinguish the details, attending to what is necessary and filtering out the extraneous.  I asked Philip how he encodes a new environment.

I see a new place as interesting.  I am like an explorer.  It sometimes opens me to trouble.  I hear things at one sound.  It is sometimes distracting from hearing one thing.  I have a hard time so near loud sounds.  I use my hearing the most.  I place sounds in my head into categories.  I try to filter out the unimportant ones.  This takes a lot of energy.  I can take some sounds out now.  It helps to not be too loud.  I hear conversation well.  I am always attending tons to words.  I like hearing talking.  I each day open my ears to education.  

What about your vision?

I see the whole picture and details equally.  I am not too addressed by visual stimuli.  It is doing me ok for education.  I listen well and watch my words.  I am happy with RPM.  It uses my strength in hearing.

Walking around New York City for the first time April 2013

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