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rote learning and autism?

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by harrietjansson, Mar 30, 2021.

  1. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I've never been someone who can learn by rote. I need to understand how things come together, how they work. If I don't understand that (it's almost a visual spatial understanding) I can't remember it for anything.

    I'm 33 years old, work in a highly technical field that involves a lot of numbers...and I never memorized the multiplication tables.
     
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  2. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    Stereotypes are usually based on a common trend or characteristic that may be true of some people within a given group, or even most people, but it certainly isn't true for everyone. The mistake is to assume that the stereotype is a one-size-fits-all, that if a person belongs to a group of people, then that stereotype must apply to them. Some people on the spectrum might do well with rote learning, others not so, depends on the individual.

    I was always good at rote learning and memorising, and that's in part what got me got me good grades at school. I remember finding some things really easy that others found hard, such as learning verb tables, lists of vocabulary in foreign languages or reproducing diagrams for the Physics class. But I have to understand what I'm learning to enjoy it, and if I don't enjoy it, I won't learn. It must have meaning, a purpose, or I have no incentive to learn.
     
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  3. FIVER

    FIVER Well-Known Member

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    I think they are stereotypes too. I think we are all types. Colors of a rainbow. I let bored easily too!
    I am a fan of taking psychological tests to get clues about myself. Like learning styles, creativity, etc.
    I can do and appreciate rote tasks, but I get bored doing it after a while. I've discovered that the creative part of me was starving. At jobs I would do the rote tasks, but would send memos to my superiors of ideas that I have to make things better. Usually I wouldn't get a response and I would grow bored and resentful and quit.
    So I am learning that I need more creativity in my life.
     
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  4. FIVER

    FIVER Well-Known Member

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    I dislike that as well. The reason I did so poorly in school was that I couldn't get past questions in my mind but was too afraid to talk. I tended not to speak much in my younger years. I'm visual and spatial too. I do better being in an apprentice situation rather than having all these words thrown at me. I have auditory processing disorder, so I have to get my information differently.
     
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  5. Rainbowcat

    Rainbowcat Active Member

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    I can't learn things without understanding them at first. If i don't understand what i am learning, i will rarely be able to learn and remember the information.
    I suck at learning by heart. I spend a lot of time trying to learn smt by heart. When finally i will have learned the information,i will remember all the details.But until then i struggle a lot.So its a very time consuming process for me.
     
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  6. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    Yes, that's a stereotype. Some people with autistism may be good at rote learning, others may not be.

    I'm great at rote memorization - to the point that I do it for fun. Any song, poem, verse, quote, etc. that I like, I memorize so I can have it with me whenever I want.

    I completely suck at anything visual. I can't hold pictures in my head, remember faces, etc.

    One thing that helps me remember things is to assign meaning and value to them, or associate them with something that has meaning and value to me. It sounds like you remember things better if you have a foundational understanding of it. Remembering a date from history may be easier if assign cause-and-effect, e.g. the Battle of Lutzen happened in this year because of some event in the year before, etc. You may need context to make the trivia meaningful.


    Possibly. The statement you quoted says, "Many children with ASD...", not "All children with ASD...". If they wanted to actively avoid the stereotype, they could have said, "Many, but not all, children with ASD..." It's too easy to say, "This seems to be common" and people will hear "It's always like this".
     
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  7. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    Yup. A stereotype. Not even a particularly accurate one. I think you'll find that rote learning is the bain of many autistic people's school careers. Not saying there aren't those out there who will do well just memorizing things. Something that applies to some ought not be generalized to all.

    When I was a sub teacher and I was in a class for autistic students, there was one boy who could tell you just about anything you wanted about dinosaurs. Another who was an expert on sharks. The teacher's aid told me they didn't really understand these things, they were just repeating stuff. I know a little about sharks and I know a little more about dinosaurs and from what we said to each other, at some level, they "understood" what they were talking about. It was not merely memorizing facts.

    The issue is that teachers lack the ability to give one-on-one attention to these kids that would showcase their abilities. The time had to be spent on the entire class - even with a low student-teacher ratio and a couple of aids. And this particular teacher's aid didn't know anything about dinosaurs or sharks, so it all sounded like gibberish to them. Maybe the teacher didn't either.

    You pretty much had to be ASD-2 to get into these classes. ASD-1 would be kept in the general population and often never diagnosed. When I was a kid, these classes did not exist.
     
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  8. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    I think that this is because autistic people often speak with quite a flat voice (I do) and that might give the impression of just reeling stuff off without understanding it, a bit like a child asked to recite a poem which he or she might not understand. Most people express their emotion through their intonation, so reciting something without emotion might create a kind of disconnect and give the false impression that one doesn't really understand the content, where this is not necessarily the case.
     
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  9. Aneka

    Aneka Well-Known Member

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    No idea whether I'm autistic or not. I've never been good at memorizing numbers, dates or poems. Whenever I had to recite poems I usually came up with alterations to the original because I messed up lines.

    I'm however great at remembering information on topics that interest me. Am I a visual type? For example, in biology I had something like educational films going on in my head whenever I learned it.

    Strangely enough, languages come easy to me as well. Unlike maths.

    About stereotypes: No, I don't think so. Actually, it does the opposite and shows the many different faces of autism. I've learned a lot here. Most people have a very narrow view on autism and believe that the classical stereotype in Rainman represents all.
     
  10. Ylva

    Ylva Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Anything you can do with numbers has a pattern to it. Getting familiar with the patterns probably resemble rote learning. But, as much as I would love to be able to insert pure bits of data into my mind, as far as I can recall I have always associated new data with old data in some way to store it.

    Is it possible that the opposite is true, that autistics who are assumed to be "rote learning" are actually naturals at "mind palace" techniques instead?
     
  11. Penumbra

    Penumbra Member

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    Repetition and memorization were my biggest weaknesses in school. It's what I was typically graded on too, so that's why my grades suffered. I was actually deeply interested in some of the subjects I failed in (especially history and literature), but I never felt like I could prove that to my teachers. I surprised my school when I found some tricks in math to get around my issues though. It's the one subject I figured out how to manipulate to my needs. I took my own route to the right answer, but I was always able to show my work.
     
  12. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    A "mind palace" works for people who are good at imagery, but bad with text. It allows them to associate text with imagery that is easy for them to memorize.

    I'm the opposite. I have almost no visual memory - I can't recall even the most obvious details about something I just saw (like whether the person I just talked to was wearing glasses), but I can see text in my mind as clearly as if it was in front of me. I can quickly memorize any text that I read and decide I want to "keep" just by repeating it a few times.

    So, a "mind palace" won't work for me, but other techniques do. Even among autistics, there is a wide variety of ways that we learn, understand, and retain information.
     
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  13. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    There are a few top-notch actors who are diagnosed on the spectrum. Anthony Hopkins is one, Daryl Hanna is another. Having the ability to quickly memorize lines would be an incredibly useful skill for an actor to have. But there are also many excellent actors who are not autistic and can memorize many pages of script on the first read, so memorization is not a specifically autistic trait. (If it were I'd have got straight As thru most of my schooling. That's all they seemed to want.)
     
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  14. Rahere

    Rahere Active Member

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    Rote learning is for those not able to think for themselves. High-performers do, from a very early age, because nobody's able to tell us how the world works. Lumping us in with ASD is so wrong it's not true. My meltdowns happen if I don't watch my neuroception and overload, which triggers an IAS freeze, or you trigger a traumatic response, when I'm likely to fight. The Army made me that way, so take responsability.
    The work on the Innate Alarm System, from Peter Levine to Braeden Terpou, has revealed another level of mental mechanisms to cognitive volition. Reflex mechanisms go nowhere near the cognitive function, and included response to traumas such as being told you're different.
     
  15. Rahere

    Rahere Active Member

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    Rote learning is necessary if understanding isn't achievable. It may seem arrogant, but the maths of the bell curve means the distance from the top to the median is tge same as the distance from the median to the tail. Which means in plainer language that the way Normal Normal views Simple Simon is how I see him - with the nuance that few are simpler than Simon, whereas half of humanity are compared with Norman.I gave up seeking insight there 50 years ago. These are the people who get newpapers so they know what their opinions should be. They've been spoonfed their lives long.
    That doesn't make the opinions automatically wrong, it just makes them slightly dishonest, that they can't explain "Why?". It also makes free-thinkers abnormal. We're a threat, and so we're often ostracised. Some of us are very happy with that.
     
  16. Rahere

    Rahere Active Member

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    I learned the crystal core of perfect gym performance from the Royal Marines Instructor of Instructors when a child, and was privileged to compared notes with Nadia Comaneci's coach, the guy who created that set of perfect 6 Olympic scores in 72, much more recently. Does that understanding of "just right" talk to you?
     
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  17. GrownupGirl

    GrownupGirl Tempermental Artist

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    Oh how I hated having to memorize my times tables and repeat them like an empty-headed parrot. I wouldn't be able to remember them at all now. I'm pretty sure I have dyscalculia.
     
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  18. Rahere

    Rahere Active Member

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    Don't think so, dyscalculia is an inability to follow the systems to get the right answer. Like me and chemistry: my first step became, "wash and dry your equipment". I gave up when they changed the periodic table half way through the course, and now we know electrons are quantum particles, with uncertainty and multiple possible positions, it's not a subject suitable to be taught in secondary.
    The reason tables are taught by rote is to save you having to add numbers repetitively while keeping a separate count of cycles. We can do that, Norman Normal can't. It's just faster to go to ten tens.
     
  19. Soleil

    Soleil Well-Known Member

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    I find it's helpful to use mnemonics (something intended to assist the memory, as a verse or formula) when learning things. For example, I can remember the lines on a treble clef (EGBDF) by remembering the phrase "Every Good Boy Does Fine". And the spaces in between are FACE (rhymes with "space").

    Remembering how to conjugate irregular verbs tends to require repetition though, (ich bin, du bist, er/ sie/ es ist, etc). But I find it's even more helpful if I get to use them in sample sentences. And remembering foreign phrases is way easier if I understand the vocabulary and grammar behind them.
     
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