The “Wow” movement continues
WCCO’s John Lauritsen published a story last night on the gifts of autism. I would have posted the story last night, but they were slow to get it online partly due to internet connection problems at the studio. But that is irrelevant with the story now online.
Loc Tran is a 17-year-old senior attending Champlin Park High School. While his gifts would be enough to make him a fan favorite in the autism community, he’s also blind. Not that it stops him from pursuing aspirations in music. Give this guy a song and he’ll give you five avenues composed in his brain. As you may have guessed, his math and numbers memory could rival that of Rain Man. He even composed a song for the Minnesota Timberwolves (perhaps he could write a few more given the team’s struggles).
This continues the new trend in autism I noted last week with the New York Times article on the possible removal of Asperger Syndrome. A trend that shifts away from despair and the years of struggle for everyone involved to one that emphasizes individuality within the autism and other disability community. I can tell you that my capacity for music is nowhere near this guy, but we probably could share an intellectual moment in the sports world. Not a single sentence is mentioned about Tran’s difficulties as a result of his sight or autism. I’m sure they exist, but as I’ve come to learn through my documentaries and this blog, it’s hard to find someone that doesn’t have any crises to deal with.
The story is simply a profile piece showing what this kid can do that not everyone can replicate as smoothly as him. No concerns about what his life will be like or how he’ll take care of himself when he gets older (video does show him using a special projection screen to help him read assignments and a cane to sense what’s in front of him). No talk about how agonizing adjusting to his life is. Every second of the story is spent on optimism.
As the new decade approaches, it’s a safe bet to say we’ll see more stories like Lauritsen’s. New controversies will undoubtedly emerge too as people discover how autistics can excel at subjects that leave everyone else in envy, but the envy will be created because reporters are spending more time focusing on specifics than the generic tragic storyline of the “Rain Man era.”