Alex and her eccentricity
This site is very much Alex’s site, not mine! On the other hand, I hope you will accept me as a dictionary to Alex. You don’t have to use a dictionary but it is there if you want it.
It is immodest of me to assert the status of dictionary for Alex because noone can know very much about oneself let alone another person. But I am Alex’s dad and I will do my best to support her in making this site and support you in case I can help you to use it.
First, Alex. Alex has autism. In the case of Alex autism means she is not very good at understanding how society works and this leads her to find communication difficult. Most of us are able to daydream one moment with words, phrases, visual images, sounds popping in and out, apparently randomly. We daydream. Then somebody comes along and we can instantly become logical and sequential and put thoughts together and express them in a coherent way so that our interlocutor understands what we want to say or, at least, has an impression that we are sharing a world of sense.
Alexandra can do this, for example:
Me: Alexandra, where is Toffee (her dog)?
Alex: In the sitting room.
However, such a reasonable exchange contributes no more than 10% of her daily linguistic output! Most of the time she is telling us extrardinary things, so extraordinary we have very little base for sharing them with her. For example:
Me: Alex, what are you doing?
Alex: I’m thinking.
Me: What are you thinking about?
Me: What colours?
Alex: June 12, 1936
Now this sounds just plain mad! But Alex has synthesia and every single day has a colour. With these colours she is able to carry out extraordinary calculations. She is able to tell us exactly which day of the week any date is. (I have given her 12 random dates from the year 1800 and she got the last ten right, within one second and first time. If you want to know more about this then you WILL be able to click on, Alexandra’s Calender Game.)
Here is another dialogue…she seems to be mad but turns out to be a visionary!
Alex: Apa (Dad in Hungarian)
Alex: March 7 in 1936 ran away.
Me: What do you mean it ran away?
Alex: It ran away. Apa September 3 in 1975 ran away.
So I looked up March 7 1936 and September 3 1975 to find that they were both public holidays! (The example given here is invented by me in order to illustrate what she does…in the next day or two I will replace this example with one of her own!)
I think we all know that the concept of madness is often a sign of laziness or incompetency on our part. We don’t see the connection so she must be mad! But again and again, over time we are fortunate enough to be able to learn what connections Alexandra makes. I suppose what separates us is that she does not feel driven to sharing and to fashioning her ‘dreamings’ into forms which we can relate to.
So much of what Alex produces is from her own dream world and she is not concerned with and perhaps not skilled in sharing that world with us. She has written about 700 books. The images both verbal and visual are often wonderful in their freshness and in their vivid quality but the overall storyline is difficult to follow. There may not be a storyline in the sense of one thing leading, consequently, to another. Alex’s storyline might be no more than one bit of fun or excitement after another rather arising out of the previous information.
If she could write consequently she would become a famous author! No doubt! We will see: she is only fourteen.