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Archived Post 03-14-2010 11:19 AM

Help from Gaming Community for Autistic Child
Hello fellow gamers!

Before I even start, I do know that this is NOT the place to post this, but I didn't know where to go expect I knew that you were the community that could see the wonder in this story.

My dear friend has a son who is a Sr. in High School and he has autism. He is mainstreamed in a small christian private school and is even the teacher's assistant and grades the paper. He is brilliant at many things, but can't remember how to set the table for dinner. He is currenlty working on breaking the slot machines codes through mathematical calculations and probability - he has a "rainmain" ability in numbers - he beat an entire Suduko book and set goals for one hour and no cheats or hints. I have shown below some of the stuff he does in blue.

He loves to play comptuter games that he the does something over and over again and I was thinking maybe a game tester or something to do with computers. His parents have no idea what kind of job he could do to earn money so he can take care of himself once they are gone.

So I am asking all of you if you have some suggestions. At this time, he would need to work from home and the goal would be maybe go into an office 1-2 days per week some day. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area in California.

Please don't spam this and please bump it if you feel the STO and larger gaming community can help.

§ Has perfect pitch. Able to hear a song and play it on the piano with no sheet music. Able to identify up to 4 notes played on the piano without looking.

§ Played a difficult piano piece. Told the teacher he had practiced. (He had never played it before.)

§ Able to identify a DVD that is a copy because it was 1 octave higher and 2 minutes shorter in length.

§ Walked into a room in the movie theatre. Sat down and knew the total number of seats in the theatre room. ( 20 seconds)

§ Able to determine what cellular service an individual has when he dials that individual by the sound and its ring tone. Can tell what phone number you are dialing by the sounds of the buttons you are pushing.

§ On hand held slot machine games: i.e. three “7’s across” or “Bar, Bar, Bar”, Ryan sees and times the spinning wheel to stop where he wants it.

§ In Class: walked up to teacher’s desk. Read test questions upside down and memorized them. (10 seconds)

§ Weather: looks at clouds, color and formation. Knows the weather, hail or rain and the degrees.

§ When Ryan was in day care in the first grade, he noticed that there was a little light bulb on the “racer type” of Christmas lights out. While the lights were racing, he was able to identify which light was out.

§ At arcades, Ryan is able to determine when to push the button on the racing lights game so he wins a large number of tickets.

§ Remembers names and addresses of classmates from school first grade on up.

§ When riding in a motor vehicle, Ryan knows the streets and directions. Knows how fast you are driving without looking at the speedometer. Knows what freeway you are even though he has never been on that freeway at all. Can tell you how many cars are on a passing train.

§ Noticed planes changing direction of landing and take off during weather changes. Knows which airline and flight by the time.

§ Watching fireworks 2 miles away at Disneyland at ground level. He knew the direction of the fireworks in the park (behind display).

Thank you, Lt. Grace

Archived Post 03-14-2010 11:31 AM

hmm tough one.
maybe a member of congress.

Archived Post 03-14-2010 11:42 AM

Please don't spam this one.

Lt. Grace

Archived Post 03-14-2010 11:45 AM

I am not. I am actually at a loss on how to help the kid and i would like to help. since the kid is so good at number maybe try to get him a job doing AI work. That is all numbers and theory which he might be good at. he could probably work form home doing it.

Archived Post 03-14-2010 11:49 AM

The human mind is truly wonderous and mysterious. I believe we've barely cracked the surface of what it can do.

I have no information that can help, but good luck in your endeavors. I hope someone with prospects does respond.

If I had to take a wild guess at possibilities... is there perhaps a chance that he they might be able to find work with the government in some sort of an analysis or even codebreaking role? Or perhaps find a way to get in with the local universities and schools and see how someone with their talents might be able to help in a research capacity?

Just thinking about their abilities makes me wonder how well they'd do trying to translate whale or dolphin songs, for instance, especially being able to discern such changes in pitch and duration, etc.

Again, good luck.

Archived Post 03-14-2010 11:51 AM

Ok, sorry - the joke about congress was misleading. I should probably preface, i am not well-versed in the computer world - just a fan of these types of online games so I might not understand all of the suggestions.

So you mean "articfiical intellegence", correct?

Lt. Grace

Archived Post 03-14-2010 11:53 AM

As someone who has held the position of a programming manager/director at several companies, if you are asking if he is a fit for a programming team ... the answer is "maybe".

Programming Managers are always looking for that person who is just shear "brilliant", but they tend to prefer people who can think outside the box to get the job done as soon as they possibly can (even if that means cutting corners at times).

I have known two autistic people in my life, and both of those people were able to function because of regiment ... and they didn't deal well at all when it was needed they step out of that regiment. Maybe your friend's child can, I dunno.

Most (not all) the programming shops I've worked in were extremely fast and loose. People were expected to know their job and do it. We joke in the industry about locking them them in a room and throwing some meat in once in a while until they come out with a finished product. Seldom would I hold a programmer's hand and walk him through what he needed to do ... rather, we would sit down make sure the goal was understood the questions were answered, and a date for completion was determined. With the exception of a couple of "how's it going" checks by myself ... I would have very little involvement the programmer until it was time for him to deliver the finished product on the agreed date.

And finally, most (not all) programming shops I've worked in are very unstructured. These are typically very creative individuals with mathematical backgrounds/tendencies ... there is typically not a dress code, hours are flexible, and what they are allowed to do with their cubicles/offices is very often viewed as undisciplined non-sense by the conventional corporate world. Again, this doesn't play well with an Autistic person's need for regiment.

Now you move over to the corporate world (the Fortune 500 type companies) ... these programming environments are very structured and very regimented ... unfortunately, the programmers who choose to venture down this path are typically very career driven, and thus centered on themselves. They have very little tolerance for the "unusual" and are not going to tend to tolerate the need to accommodate the "unusual".

If your friend's child is socially functional, he would be better served to find himself a programmers guild (of sorts) where he can take on jobs as an independent contractor and work them from beginning to end. In this environment, companies put out a specification and ask for a bid ... all they care about is the final product that comes out the other end. The down-side of this is, there's a bazillion 14 year olds, Korean's, Indians, and Chinese bidding on these types of projects ... and its difficult to compete with them and actually make a living off it.

It very well could be there's companies or educational institutions that have the structure and understanding in place to actually benefit from the talents this child would bring to the table, while dealing with the eccentricities that accompany those talents. You might check with the many Autistic Foundations that are out there ... if these places do exist, they would know.

That's just my off-the-top-of-my-head thinking. I wish you, and the child, luck.

Archived Post 03-14-2010 11:54 AM


Originally Posted by jinwu_one (Post 2365451)
Ok, sorry - the joke about congress was misleading. I should probably preface, i am not well-versed in the computer world - just a fan of these types of online games so I might not understand all of the suggestions.

So you mean "articfiical intellegence", correct?

Lt. Grace

yeah articfiical intellegence. all numbers and theory. and a good programmer who can make players scratch their head in wonder is always in demand.

Archived Post 03-14-2010 11:54 AM

hmmm, interesting ideas Kuber. I will add that to the list for further research. Hopefully someone who plays STO and is in one of those industries will see this and give some ideas as well.

Lt. Grace

Archived Post 03-14-2010 12:02 PM


Thank you for the detailed roles. At this time, he would need to work from home but he is very capable of you telling him what needs to be done and he is VERY goal driven. If you saw the pages and pages of his writing down the statistics on how to break the slot machine type games and that when he grades the students papers for his teacher, he loves to give them an "F" if the percentage is teetering on the cusp (all becasue they did sloppy work or forgot to put their name on the paper) - he has a sense of humor too.

Lt. Grace

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