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KitLily
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24 Oct 2022, 12:11 pm

I know a severely autistic young man, who can barely talk or care for himself, but he is excellent at finding his way and reading maps, and also telling the time without a watch i.e. he knows what time of day it is without looking at a timepiece/phone etc.

I am the same. Good at reading maps and finding my way, and I always know what time it is without a timepiece.

Does anyone else have these skills?


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League_Girl
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24 Oct 2022, 12:56 pm

I have no idea what time it is it without a clock around but I have always been great at reading maps. I also can find my way around.


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magz
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24 Oct 2022, 1:15 pm

Me:
Maps - no problem.
Time - no way.


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ToughDiamond
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24 Oct 2022, 2:43 pm

Time:
I'm very dependent on clocks and timers. Can't easily keep track of time by intuition and guesswork, especially if I'm well-focussed on something, i.e. nearly always.

Maps:
I find good maps very useful, but I can get into problems with them. If I look away from the map, then my short-term memory isn't good enough to retain the details (and a map contains an awful lot of detail).

Also I have trouble relating the flat, "birds-eye view" nature of the map to the real thing because I'm on the ground and there are hills and valleys.

And if I don't rotate the map so that it's properly aligned with reality (north on the map pointing north in the real world), I have trouble, but if I do rotate it so it's aligned, the writing is usually on its side or upside down, which makes it harder to read (it's hard enough as it is when the writing is small, because I'm effectively long-sighted when I've got my contact lenses in).

Maps drawn by other people usually hamper me with too much detail that I don't need, not enough detail that I do need, folds and page boundaries in places that are awkward for me, and colours, styles, scales and conventions that are sub-optimal for my purposes. I sometimes find it better to draw my own map so that I can make it suit my needs better, and when I've drawn it myself I tend to be able to remember the information better.

In spite of all those difficulties, they're usually more useful to me than verbal directions. Without help of some kind I can get lost very easily in unfamiliar places, because roads, corridors etc. tend to look the same to me.



dragonsanddemons
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24 Oct 2022, 2:51 pm

I refer to myself as “directionally challenged.” I often have a general idea of the time if I have not been in hyperfocus, but probably am not better than average. I’m a lot better than I thought I was in estimating measures like time and distance, I’m just terrible at putting numbers to it, or determining from numbers given. But I’m clueless with directions.


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Last edited by dragonsanddemons on 24 Oct 2022, 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

naturalplastic
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24 Oct 2022, 2:56 pm

League_Girl wrote:
I have no idea what time it is it without a clock around but I have always been great at reading maps. I also can find my way around.

Me too.



kraftiekortie
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24 Oct 2022, 2:57 pm

I can determine the time of day within about an hour.

I'm not as good as I used to be at determining distance. I tend to believe "a mile" is shorter than it actually is.

I read maps okay----but, sometimes, I get "turned around" while trying to find a place. But my "sense of direction" is not bad at all.



KitLily
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24 Oct 2022, 3:13 pm

Seems we're all a mixture.

I can't understand verbal directions at all if someone talks at me. I need a visual map to look at. Or I use the map in my head if I've been somewhere before. I don't need to rotate a physical map.

Like KraftieKortie, I can usually get the time right within an hour without any sort of timepiece, I just use the clock in my head.

I just wondered if it's an autistic thing to be good with maps and time, it seems like it isn't. Interesting.

It seems I have a clock, a map and a dictionary in my head.


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Caz72
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24 Oct 2022, 3:22 pm

yes im quite savant with reading maps,managing time,and memorising routes

makes being a bus driver much easier :)


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autisticelders
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24 Oct 2022, 4:05 pm

yes to both, very good.


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redqueenspawn
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24 Oct 2022, 4:23 pm

I've got a really strong time sense, to the point that I can wake up in the middle of the night from a deep sleep and know within 15-20 min what time it is, without looking at the clock. Same with elapsed time, say when I put something in the microwave, leave the room, and walk back in just before the timer sounds. Doesn't matter whether it was set for one minute or 20, I just "know."

I've never considered it as a savant skill, but maybe it is. I have been rather anxiously obsessed with time since I was quite young.

To use a map to drive somewhere, I memorize the route ahead of time (visual/mapping memory) so that I don't have to look at the actual map. (I can't use GPS--all the talking is too distracting when I'm driving.)



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24 Oct 2022, 5:26 pm

Had fascination with maps since young. Cant at all use a satnav as end up in a mess as cant think the same time as listening and driving so I keep going the wrong way! Yet as I am visually minded, I can look at a map, and remember sections of it, and follow it from my mind, then pull in and memorize the next bit of map and so on. Can't do sat navs, or take spoken map instructions, but very good at hand drawn map instructions as long as very few words used so is clear and uncomplicated.

Time. Not sure. Did 9 years of precise time when on thw railways and was told I was a rare person who could do that as I would set my watch to the second, and then could keep train to time (Depending on the driver) if train had been handed to me on time. Things happen though so keeping to time was sometimes not possible... But rarely ever were delays due to me unless there was a real reason.
However, at normal life time zooms past and I can lose hours without noticing! Days can go like that! Especially online!



jimmy m
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24 Oct 2022, 8:11 pm

I have a very fine sense of knowing where I am. It is one of my skills. Here is why -

The human brain is a remarkable organ. It has the ability to reason, create, analyze, and process tons of information each day. The brain also gives humans the ability to move around in an environment using an innate sense of direction. This skill is called spatial orientation, and it is especially useful for finding routes in an unfamiliar place, following directions to another person’s house, or making a midnight raid of the refrigerator in the dark.

Spatial orientation is crucial for adapting to new environments and getting from one point to another. Without it, people will walk around in endless circles, never being able find which way they want to go.

The brain has a specialized region just for navigating the spatial environment. This structure is called the hippocampus, also known as the map reader of the brain. The hippocampus helps individuals determine where they are, how they got to that particular place, and how to navigate to the next destination. Reading maps and developing navigational skills can affect the brain in beneficial ways. In fact, using orientation and navigational skills often can actually cause the hippocampus and the brain to grow, forming more neural pathways as the number of mental maps increase.

A study by scientists at University College in London found that grey matter in the brains of taxi drivers grew and adapted to help them store detailed mental maps of the city. The drivers underwent MRI scans, and those scans showed that the taxi drivers have larger hippocampi when compared to other people. In addition, the scientists found that the more time the drivers spent on the job, the more the hippocampus changes structurally to accommodate the large amount of navigational experience. Drivers who spent more than forty years in a taxi had more developed hippocampi than those just starting out. The study shows that experience with the spatial environment and navigation can have a direct influence on the brain itself.

Source: Spatial Orientation and the Brain: The Effects of Map Reading and Navigation


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HeroOfHyrule
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24 Oct 2022, 8:24 pm

I've always been really good at keeping time, though I am not great at reading maps or orienting myself. I couldn't even really read maps until a few years ago, but I do get better at it as time goes on, which is good.



naturalplastic
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24 Oct 2022, 8:51 pm

I suck at time. I know day from night. And thats about it.

But if I am driving, and I glance at my watch to see the time of day, then I can tell if I am northbound or southbound, on a highway by looking at which way the shadows of the trees along the road are pointing. Has saved me miles on the road quite a number of times.



Raleigh
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24 Oct 2022, 9:49 pm

My father was the map savant.
He could even tell you the distance between any given city/town and how long it would take you to get there.


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