When I was seven or eight, I spent hours tinkering and experimenting with old scarf parachutes trying to figure out how to make them open faster each time I threw them into the air. We had to watch this carefully to determine how a small design change affected performance. It may be because I was autistic that I was obsessed with it. At the time, I loved books about famous inventors and their inventions. I was impressed by how Thomas Edison and the Wright brothers devoted themselves to making light bulbs and airplanes. They spent a lot of time relentlessly perfecting their inventions. It seems that some of the book’s inventors were also autistic.
We hear a lot about the need to fix the infrastructure in this country, but we are too focused on what needs to be improved and updated rather than on the people who can do that work.Over 25 years Over the years, I have worked with highly skilled people who have designed and built equipment for working with livestock. Looking back at all the projects I’ve designed for large companies, I estimate that 20% of his skilled welder and draftsman were either autistic, dyslexic, or ADHD. We have sold equipment to many companies. Our visual thinking skills have been the key to our success.
Today we want our students to be balanced. We should think about making sure that the education we provide is as well. At the same time, I’m betting that those trying to fix America’s infrastructure have spent hours on one thing, whether it’s Lego or violin or chess. .
People often ask me what I would do to improve both elementary and high school. The first step is to focus on hands-on classes such as art, music, sewing, woodworking, cooking, drama, auto mechanics and welding. Like many today, I would have hated school if the hands-on classes had been removed. Introduce skills. Exposure is key. Too many students have never used a tool before. They are completely removed from the practical world.
Despite my accomplishments so far, if I were a young man today, I would have had a hard time graduating from high school because I didn’t pass algebra. It was too abstract and had no visual correlation. This is true of many of today’s students who are labeled as bad at math. Students who might otherwise pass alternative mathematics courses such as statistics that also apply to real-world work situations. Schools put too much emphasis on testing and not enough on career achievement. The fact that I failed the SAT in mathematics prevented me from getting into veterinary school, but today I am a university professor of animal sciences and have been asked to speak to a group of veterinarians to advise them on their work. You are invited. The true measure of education is not what students get today, but what they will do ten years from now.