top of page

Understanding People with Special Needs

What does it mean to be on the Autism Spectrum?

In the video “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds,” Temple Grandin (2013) described how getting away from verbal language will help us understand animals, arts, and autism. When she was young, she thought that other children think the way she does. Her imagination and visual thinking helped her understand a lot of things and has been very useful in her career. She emphasized that not every autistic child will be a visual thinker. The problem with students in the autism spectrum is that they can excel in one thing and perform very low in another. But it is through the support of professionals and families that we help develop the low performing aspect of the child. We have to keep in mind that even things that come naturally with other children like social skills might be something that an autistic child has to learn and practice in time.

For children on the autism spectrum, there are three different types of thinkers which include photo-realistic visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, and verbal mind thinkers. First, photo-realistic visual thinkers are those that mostly learn and remember things with the use of visuals. Some students using this type of thinking may not be good in arithmetic and calculation skills but can perform very well in arts. Next, pattern thinkers are those who are very good at recognizing and using patterns in learning. These thinkers have so much talent when it comes to math and music wherein patterns are integrated but may have problems with reading and comprehension. Third, verbal mind thinkers are those people who know every fact about everything. They can analyze and articulate written materials but may perform poorly in an artistic task like drawing.

Grandin (2013) concluded that the world needed different kinds of minds to work together. People on the autism spectrum have shared so much in this society. We’ve seen a lot of them who are smart and nerdy people but do not have social skills. When teaching students on the autism spectrum, it is important that we help them develop aspects of life that they are lacking. Autistic students may benefit from learning social skills, motivation from teachers by the use of fixation in learning, and the giving of specific instructions on things. These aspects if addressed early in life can help students perform better in the future.

What does being deaf signify in our society?

On the other video “The Heather World,” Heather Artinian (2013) stated that she did not have to choose between the hearing world or the deaf world because she can be in her own world. She emphasized the idea of building a bridge to break the gaps between the two cultures. She believed that if everyone grabs the opportunity to bridge the world within our lives, those bridges that we do make will make up for those that we do not. It will come as a surprise how our openness to both worlds can make an impact on everybody’s lives.

The deaf culture revolves around the American Sign Language (Reagan, 1995). People in this culture believed that being deaf is not the same as having a disability. Just like any other people from different countries who speak different languages, deaf people have a unique medium of communication. If we reach out to them in any way, we are bridging the gaps between the hearing and deaf community.

In the deaf culture, people think that those who have cochlear implants are escaping from what seems to be a curse and discriminate against the community who does not use that option and stay the way they are. When people decide to use cochlear implants, they are opening themselves to more opportunities in this society. A cochlear implant is one of the advancements that could assist in the development of this physical shortcoming. Parents who decide to use a cochlear implant to help their child hear are giving their child easier access to the things around him. In fact, as the child grows, he may have the option to choose whether to keep or to take off the implant. Having an implant does not necessarily separate someone from the culture he is naturally destined. It actually makes him the “bridge” for other people to understand each other’s culture and build respect for the ideas that make them different.

Artinian, H. (2013). The Heather World [Video file]. Retrieved from

Grandin, T. (2013). The World Needs All Kinds of Minds [Video file]. Retrieved from

Reagan, T. (1995). A sociocultural understanding of deafness: American Sign Language and the culture of deaf people. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 19(2), 239-251.

13 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page