Asperger’s Experiences & Personal Growth: Stephen’s Evolution

Unleashing the Logic Within: How Autism Powers Language, Music, and More

October 03, 2023 Stephen McHugh Episode 17
Asperger’s Experiences & Personal Growth: Stephen’s Evolution
Unleashing the Logic Within: How Autism Powers Language, Music, and More
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this captivating episode, we journey into the remarkable world of autism and the extraordinary powers of logic and pattern recognition it brings. Join me as I explore with you, how being on the autism spectrum can be a unique advantage, from mastering foreign languages to composing beautiful melodies.

Discover how logic and pattern recognition extend their influence to the realms of mathematics, computers, and problem-solving, painting a vivid picture of the limitless potential that lies within. Be inspired to embrace your own logical mind and find solutions to life's puzzles. Don't miss this enlightening episode filled with personal stories, insights, and the celebration of diversity on the autism spectrum.

Section 1:  The Unique Strengths of Autism (3:30 - 7:26)
Description: Explore the diverse and unique strengths of individuals on the autism spectrum, and how logical thinking and pattern recognition are the keys to unlocking hidden potentials.

Section 2:  Deciphering the Language Puzzle  (7:30 - 13:17)
Description: Dive into the world of language learning, where logic and pattern recognition illuminate the path to mastering foreign tongues and forging meaningful connections.

Section 3:  The Symphony of Music and Friendship  (13:22 - 20:08)
Description: Discover how the magic of music goes beyond melodies, forging friendships and connections that transcend time and distance through the shared passion for harmony.

Section 4:  Mastering Mathematics and Beyond (20:13 - 24:46)
Description: Journey into the world of numbers, where logic and pattern recognition unravel mathematical mysteries, from mental arithmetic to trigonometry.

Section 5:  Cracking the Code of Computing (24:50 - 32:08)
Description: Uncover the power of logic in the realm of computing, where teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills take centre stage.

Section 6:  Embrace the Power Within (32:13 - 35:07)
Description: Conclude our adventure by embracing the unique strengths of autism, celebrating the beauty of logic and pattern recognition, and inspiring you to unlock your own hidden potentials.


Thanks for listening. You can find me on my website stephensevolution.com, or on twitter here. You can sign up to receive news of new episodes when they're released here.


Artwork produced by Elena Designe
Music composed by Nela Ruiz

Unleashing the Logic Within: How Autism Powers Language, Music, and More


Opening Music

Introduction: 0:22 - 3:26

Stephen McHugh: "Hello, wonderful listeners, and welcome back to the Stephen’s Evolution podcast, the show where I like to explore the fascinating intersections of life, learning, and living on the autism spectrum. I'm your host, Stephen McHugh, and in this episode, I’m diving deep into the world of autism, logical thinking, and the extraordinary power of pattern recognition. But before I begin, a friendly reminder that in the show notes, there’ll be time stamps to help guide you quickly and easily to any section that may pique your curiosity."

Stephen McHugh: "Have you ever found yourself mesmerised by the intricate designs in a kaleidoscope, or the colourful patterns on wallpapers? Or even perhaps, when you gaze at the night sky, does the vast constellation of stars beckon you to connect the dots and discover their hidden stories? If so, you might just relate to the remarkable journey we're about to embark on."

Stephen McHugh: "Autism, often described as a spectrum of unique and diverse minds, offers us a kaleidoscope of experiences and perspectives. For it's a world where the ordinary can become extraordinary, where the everyday can hold the most captivating patterns if we only take a moment to observe."

Stephen McHugh: "But what happens when we combine this extraordinary perspective with a logical mind? What unfolds when we explore how autism, with its unique way of seeing the world, can transform our ability to decipher patterns, not just in art or the night sky, but in the intricate language of words and the harmonious notes of music?"

Stephen McHugh: "In this episode, we're delving into the connections between autism, logical thinking, and the magic of pattern recognition. We'll uncover the ways in which this triad can open doors to mastering foreign languages and creating wonderful music. It's a journey of discovery, empowerment, and inspiration too, and it all starts right here, right now, on the Stephen’s Evolution podcast.

Transition to main content

Stephen McHugh: "So, let's embark on this extraordinary adventure together. Are you ready? Let's go!"


Section 1: Unveiling the Spectrum (3:30 - 7:26)

Stephen McHugh: "In this section, which is section 1, as I’ve already said, I'm going to dive deep into the world of autism, logical thinking, and the extraordinary power of pattern recognition. Before we delve into how these elements intertwine, let's begin by understanding the fundamental aspects of autism spectrum disorder."

Stephen McHugh: "Autism is a lifelong developmental condition characterised by differences in one's behaviour, particularly in the ways they may interact with others in social situations and navigate the wider world."

Stephen McHugh: "But here's the remarkable part: within the spectrum of autism lies a wide range of unique abilities and strengths that individuals can bring to the table. It's a spectrum that paints a diverse and colourful portrait of human experience, where each stroke of the brush represents an exceptional talent."

Stephen McHugh: "From excelling in a particular language to crafting beautiful melodies, from solving complex mathematical problems to mastering the intricacies of computers, individuals with autism often display a logical mindset and a remarkable aptitude for pattern recognition."

Stephen McHugh: "Imagine a world where no two individuals with autism are alike. One may possess a flair for music, effortlessly weaving melodies and harmonies that resonate with the soul. Another may excel at mental arithmetic, navigating the world of numbers with precision and grace. Yet another might be an artistic virtuoso, painting and drawing vivid stories on canvas."

Stephen McHugh: "This diversity, for me, represents the heartbeat of this episode. I’m here to explore how these unique strengths, grounded in logical thinking and pattern recognition, become powerful tools in the journey of learning, understanding, and connecting with the world."

Stephen McHugh: "But let's not stop there. We'll also unveil how these skills extend into other domains, from computers and programming to everyday problem-solving and the development of social skills."

Stephen McHugh: "So, as we embark on this captivating voyage of discovery, remember that no two stories are the same, just as no two minds are identical. Each individual with autism holds a unique treasure chest of abilities, waiting to be explored."

Stephen McHugh: "Stay with us as we navigate this fascinating terrain together. In Section 2, we'll zoom in on the incredible world of language learning, where logical minds like mine, can thrive on recognising patterns. Are you ready to explore the secrets of decoding languages and unlocking the power of pattern recognition? Let's embark on this captivating linguistic journey right here, right now."


Section 2: Navigating the Linguistic Landscape (7:30 - 13:17)

Stephen McHugh: "Step into Section 2, where we'll embark on a journey through the world of language learning, guided by the magical compass of logic and pattern recognition. In this section, we plunge headfirst into my adventures in learning French, illuminating the incredible transformations that occur when we unveil the hidden patterns."

Stephen McHugh: "When you embark on a journey to learn a new language, the first roadblock you might encounter is often word pronunciation. French, with its melodic nuances, was no exception. But then, something remarkable happened."

[Example 1 - Word Pronunciation]

Stephen McHugh: "I stumbled upon a colourful dictionary that had a secret, a treasure trove of pronunciation clues hidden in its pages. In its index, I found word pronunciations broken down for every word mentioned in the dictionary itself."

Stephen McHugh: "This revelation transformed the way I approached word pronunciation. For instance, 'er' and 'e’ with an accent going up, both pronounced as 'ay,' became my allies. 'Il,' with its elusive 'eel' sound, no longer posed a mystery."

[Example 2 - Recognising Verb Conjugation Patterns]

Stephen McHugh: "But the adventure didn't end with pronunciation. French verbs, notorious for their conjugations, became a playground for my logical mind. Let's take the verb 'parler,' meaning 'to speak,' as an example."

Stephen McHugh: "The key was recognising the pattern. 'Je parle' became 'I speak,' where 'er' becomes 'e.' on its own. 'Tu parles,' 'you speak,' 'il or elle parle,' 'he or she speaks,' all followed suit. The exception here was that with ‘tu parles’, er becomes ‘es’. 'Nous parlons,' 'we speak,' where 'er' became 'ons,' on the end, and 'vous parlez,' 'you speak,' where 'er' became 'ez'.These all offered more clues."

Stephen McHugh: "And finally, 'ils or elles parlent,' 'they speak,' where 'er' transformed into 'ent.' It was like solving a linguistic puzzle, one piece at a time."

[Example 3 - Cracking Sentence Structure]

Stephen McHugh: "But language is not just about words. It's about how they dance together in sentences. French sentence structure, with its 'à la,' 'au,' just au and 'aux,' the plural form, had its own magic."

Stephen McHugh: "For instance, 'aller à la banque' (going to the bank) combines 'aller' with 'à' and 'la,' which magically becomes 'à la.' 'Aller au cinéma' (going to the cinema) sees 'à' and 'le' merge into 'au.', a u 'Aller aux magasins' (going to the stores) combines 'à' and 'les' into 'aux’, a u x’, in the case of the plural."

Stephen McHugh: "These were not just rules to memorise but patterns to uncover, like finding constellations in the night sky. They transformed a seemingly complex language into a puzzle waiting to be solved."

Stephen McHugh: "But there's more to these pursuits than just the mastery of words. They can also be powerful tools for nurturing social skills."
In the realm of language learning, imagine stepping into a role play, where two or more individuals immerse themselves in a pretend situation, practising the art of conversation. These scenarios not only help us grasp the language's intricacies, but also become a bridge to real-life interactions."

[Example 4 - Language Learning Role Plays]

Stephen McHugh: "Whether it's ordering a meal at a French café or bargaining at a bustling market in Spanish, these role plays can become the rehearsal stage for the grand performance of life. There’s the potential for them to help build confidence, foster connections, and ignite friendships."

Stephen McHugh: "In the next sections, we'll explore how these linguistic skills extend beyond language, creating bridges between the worlds of music, mathematics, and even computer programming."

Stephen McHugh: "Stay with me, as I aim to uncover more patterns, more connections, and more insights."
Transition to the next segment


Section 3: Harmony Through Patterns (13:22 - 20:08)

Stephen McHugh: “Step inside Section 3, where the enchanting realm of music unfolds before us, led by the enchanting light of logic and pattern recognition. In this section, prepare to be transported on a symphonic journey through my piano-playing odyssey, where decoding musical notations emerges as an art form in itself.”

Stephen McHugh: "Learning to play a musical instrument, such as the piano, is akin to unlocking a magical language. A language where written notes on a manuscript translate into the enchanting melodies we create. My journey began with identifying which of those written notes corresponded to the ivory and ebony keys on the piano itself."

[Example 1 - Identifying Notes]

Stephen McHugh: "Much like in language learning, where we decode words and phrases, here, I decoded musical notes. 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' 'D,' and so on. Each note had its place on the piano, and, my logical mind revealed in making these connections. I even had acronyms to guide me. 'All Cows Eat Grass' for the bass clef, and 'Every Good Boy Deserves Favour' for the treble clef, where the first letter of each word represented a given note."

Stephen McHugh: "But music is not just a sequence of notes. It's an intricate tapestry woven with symbols, giving us cues on how to breathe life into a composition. Just as in language, where punctuation marks guide our expression, in music, symbols indicate how fast or slow to play various sections of a piece, and how long to hold certain notes."

[Example 2 - Symbols and Tempo]

Stephen McHugh: "Imagine a 'p' for 'piano,' indicating 'softly,' or an 'f' for 'forte,' telling us to play 'loudly.' Deciphering these symbols was akin to translating the emotions behind the music. Logical thinking served as my compass in this musical journey."

Stephen McHugh: " I employed a strategy much like breaking down complex sentences into manageable phrases in language learning. I'd slow down, dissect the composition into sections, and methodically work through each part."

[Example 3 - Breaking Down Complex Pieces]

Stephen McHugh: "This allowed me to conquer some very challenging compositions, one piece at a time, just as one tackles a complex sentence word by word until it makes sense."

Stephen McHugh: "Now, let me share a special gift that became my ally in this musical adventure, perfect pitch. With perfect pitch, I could discern the exact note being played on the piano without needing to look at sheet music. It was as if I had a musical compass guiding me."

[Example 4 - Perfect Pitch]

Stephen McHugh: "This unique ability not only allowed me to play pieces when sheet music wasn't available, but also enriched my musical experiences, enabling me to recognise and appreciate the intricate details and patterns of each note."
But there's more to music than the harmonious notes. It's a realm that can orchestrate beautiful connections, even if they're fleeting."

Stephen McHugh: "Being interested in music, I've experienced first-hand how music can bring people together. It's not just about playing the notes, it's about weaving connections through the universal language of melodies. One such connection was exemplified by a former neighbour of mine."

[Example 5 - Neighbour's Interest in Music]

Stephen McHugh: "My former neighbour shared a keen interest in music, much like myself. One day, as the melodious sounds of the piano drifted from my home, it piqued their curiosity. They reached out to me, wanting to know more about my musical journey."

Stephen McHugh: "What began as a simple conversation about music soon blossomed into a genuine friendship. We started playing music together on occasions, sharing our favourite compositions, and even composing our own melodies."

[Example 6 - Establishing Friendships Through Music]

Stephen McHugh: "Though time and circumstances led to a separation, the memory of our musical bond remains a testament to the power of music in connecting hearts and minds."

Stephen McHugh: "So, as we journey deeper into the world of music, remember that it's not just a solitary endeavour, it's a communal experience. It's a world where logic and pattern recognition guide us, and where the echoes of connections linger, even if they're no longer within arm's reach."

Stephen McHugh: "As we wrap up our exploration of the enchanting world of music, let's cherish the idea that the language of melodies transcends boundaries, and connections are woven with the threads of harmony. Now, let's step into the next section, where we'll delve deeper into the power of logic and pattern recognition in different domains.

Stephen McHugh: "We'll explore how these musical skills extend beyond the piano, creating bridges to other domains like mathematics and computer programming. Join me as we continue our journey through the fascinating landscape of logical thinking and pattern recognition."


Section 4: The Mathematical Tapestry (20:13 - 24:46)

Stephen McHugh: "Get ready to journey into Section 4, where we’ll venture together into the realm of mathematics—a world governed by logic and the elegant dance of patterns. In this section, I'll guide you through my mathematical odyssey, where the art of pattern recognition became the key to unlocking some numerical mysteries."

Stephen McHugh: "Mathematics, often seen as a labyrinth of numbers and equations, became a playground for my logical mind. It was in mental arithmetic that I first witnessed the magic of pattern recognition. Let's take an example: 65 x 35."

[Example 1 - Mental Arithmetic]

Stephen McHugh: "Rather than brute force multiplication, I saw patterns. I knew that 60 x 40 equaled 2400. Why? Because when multiplying by tens, it's all about adding one zero. So, 65 x 40 became 2600. But the sum was 65 x 35. To find that, I subtracted 65 x 5, which is 325, from 2600, landing at 2275."

Stephen McHugh: "It was like solving a puzzle, breaking down complex calculations into manageable steps using the power of pattern recognition."

[Example 2 - Trigonometry]

Stephen McHugh: "Trigonometry, a topic that can often be seen as a challenging mountain to climb, became a personal favourite of mine. One teacher's remark, calling it tricky yet rewarding, fuelled my determination to master it."

Stephen McHugh: "The trigonometric functions—Sine, Cosine, and Tangent—became my allies in working out the angles and lengths of right-angled triangles. I recognised that Sine dealt with Opposite and Hypotenuse sides, Cosine with Adjacent and Hypotenuse sides, and Tangent with Opposite and Adjacent sides."

Stephen McHugh: "Just like in language and music, where patterns emerged, trigonometry revealed its own set of elegant patterns. It was about recognising the relationships between angles and sides, and I revelled in the beauty of those connections."

Stephen McHugh: "Differentiation, another facet of mathematics, followed a pattern of its own. It was a matter of multiplying the coefficient with the power of a variable, and subtracting one from the current power. "

[Example 3 - Differentiation]

Stephen McHugh: "Much like cracking a code, differentiation, I found involved recognising and applying these patterns to unravel complex equations. I would find it interesting to note that it could be used in calculating gradients at certain points on graphs. The axes were labelled X going across, and Y going up. Once you carry out the differentiation on the equation of a graph, all you have to do then is substitute the X- coordinate point into the derivative."

Stephen McHugh: "These were just a few examples of how logic and pattern recognition wove through the tapestry of mathematics, turning it into a playground of discovery and fascination."

Stephen McHugh: "In Section 5, we'll explore together how these mathematical skills extend further, even into the realm of computers and programming. Join me as we continue together to unravel the patterns that help to shape our world."

[Transition to the next section]


Section 5: Cracking the Code of Computing (24:50 - 32:08)

Stephen McHugh: "Here, in Section 5, we're about to dive deep into the digital universe, where logic and pattern recognition are the stars of the show. Brace yourself for an interesting ride through my digital escapades, from coding to unravelling complex puzzles. Here we’ll journey into the world of computers and programming—a world intricately woven with logic and pattern recognition. In this section, we'll explore together how these skills became the foundation of my digital adventures, from coding to problem-solving."

Stephen McHugh: "Like with painting, computers are the canvas, and the code is the brush. The ability to recognise patterns and think logically became my superpower in this realm. Let's dive into some examples."

[Example 1 - Coding for Colour Change]

Stephen McHugh: "To change the colour of a box, you give the box a name. It's as simple as saying, 'OnClick, box_name = red.' A user clicks a button, and voilà—the box turns red. It's about identifying the pattern of action and reaction in code."

Stephen McHugh: "But coding doesn't stop at colours. I once created a program for maths students that not only determined the correctness of their answers, but also kept track of scores."

[Example 2 - Scorekeeping Program]

Stephen McHugh: "Here, in situations like this, the code might read something like, 'If box_name = correct_answer, then display a popup box saying 'Correct', and add 1 to the score_box. In the event of an incorrect answer, code could read along the lines of, 'else display a popup box saying 'Incorrect,' as well as adding 0 to the score_box."

Stephen McHugh: "And you'd add functions like 'LoadNextQuestion,' 'NextQuestionShow,' and 'UnLoadLastQuestion' to keep the flow smooth. It's all about seeing the logic of the game."

Stephen McHugh: "My fascination extended to spreadsheets, where I record my daily walks, steps, and distances covered. But what happens when I forget to charge my watch, and the figures become wildly inaccurate?"

[Example 3 - Spreadsheet Problem Solving]

Stephen McHugh: "Here's where problem-solving comes into play. On one occasion I used averages to calculate figures much closer to the realistic values. It's all about identifying data patterns and finding solutions."

Stephen McHugh: "I've encountered challenges in website management too. Once, my website refused to display correctly. The error code was a puzzle waiting to be solved. I read it carefully and realised it was as simple as removing a plugin I didn't need."

[Example 4 - Website Management]

Stephen McHugh: "My website became a canvas for my research skills. From searching for code to implement a search function to tweaking it for the perfect display, it was about recognising and adapting patterns to create a seamless user experience.

Stephen McHugh: "I've encountered further challenges in website management too. Building a website and creating a podcast has become an important part of my journey to spread awareness of autism, and the unique contributions individuals with this condition can make to society, especially when met with empathy.

In this section, we've delved into the intricate world of computers and programming—a world where logic and pattern recognition reign supreme. But there's another aspect of this realm that often goes unnoticed, its power to shape our social skills."

Stephen McHugh: "As I ventured into the world of computing, I soon discovered that it's not just about coding in isolation. It's a collaborative effort where individuals can come together to tackle complex challenges."

[Example 1 - Teamwork in IT Course]

Stephen McHugh: "I remember a time, working in a team during what was known as a GNVQ Advanced Information Technology course, where our mission was to get a mini lift working, smoothly stopping at the designated levels it was called to. It was more than just about solving technical puzzles, it was about teamwork, communication, and learning to combine our individual strengths to achieve a common goal."

Stephen McHugh: "The world of computing is not confined to screens and code. It's a world where we can interact, exchange ideas, and build connections, all while harnessing the power of logic and pattern recognition."

[Example 2 - Sharing Knowledge with Math Teachers]

Stephen McHugh: "I also had the opportunity to explain to maths tutors how my mathematical program worked and how it could benefit students. This experience taught me that communication and articulating complex ideas to others are essential skills in the computing realm."

Stephen McHugh: "So, as we continue our journey into the heart of computing, remember that it's not just about algorithms and code, it's about the synergy of minds, the art of teamwork, and the development of social skills—all under the watchful eye of logic and pattern recognition."
As we conclude our exploration of logic and pattern recognition in the world of computers and programming, I want to leave you with this thought. Your logical mind is a remarkable tool, capable of unlocking doors you may not have even dreamed of. Now, as we prepare to enter the final section of our journey, 'Section 6: Embrace the Power Within,' I encourage you to keep your minds open, your passions alive, and your curiosity aflame."

[Transition to the next section]


Section 6: Embrace the Power Within (32:13 - 35:07)

Stephen McHugh: "Welcome to the final section of this journey in this episode. Together, we've explored the fascinating landscape of logic and pattern recognition across languages, music, mathematics, and the digital world, including the world of computers and programming. We've witnessed how these skills can transform challenges into conquerable quests, unlocking the doors to understanding, creativity, and problem-solving."

Stephen McHugh: "Through language learning, music, mathematics, and programming, I've discovered that logical thinking is not just a tool but a source of confidence. It's the belief that you can find solutions, whether on your own or with the help, support, and advice of others."

Stephen McHugh: "Now, it's time to turn the spotlight onto you, our valued listeners. I've shared my experiences, but I want to encourage you to embrace your logical minds as you embark on your own unique journeys. The power of logical thinking and pattern recognition is a gift we all possess. It's a superpower that can help you navigate the challenges and complexities of life."

[Transition]

[Encouragement for Listener Engagement]

Stephen McHugh: "Let's make this podcast a platform for collective wisdom. Do you have questions or comments related to today's topic? Perhaps you've faced a challenge where logical thinking made all the difference, or maybe you're seeking advice, inspiration and hope for your own journey, or for any others you may support."

Stephen McHugh: "I encourage you to share your thoughts, stories, and questions with me. Feel free to leave comments, messages, or questions on my platform, blog, or social media channels. You can find me on platforms like Apple, Spotify, Podchaser and Podcast Addict. There is my website stephensevolution.com, where at the footer, you can find links to my social media channels. On it too you can find my email. And it’s Stephen with a P H."

[Transition]


Conclusion: Unveiling the Logic Within (35:13 - End)
Host (Your Name): "Before we say goodbye, let's recap the key takeaways from our journey today. We've explored how logical thinking and pattern recognition are powerful allies in language learning, music, mathematics, and the world of computers and programming. We've witnessed how these skills can transform challenges into conquerable quests, unlocking the doors to understanding, creativity, and problem-solving."

[Transition]

Closing Remarks: Your Logical Journey Continues

Stephen McHugh: "As I conclude this episode, I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you for tuning in, if you’ve chosen to do so. Your support and curiosity make this podcast possible."

[Invitation to Subscribe and Connect]

Stephen McHugh: "If you found value in this episode’s exploration of logical thinking and pattern recognition, I invite you to subscribe, share, and connect with me. Towards the footer of the home page of my website, you can find a link to a form where you can sign up to receive news of any forthcoming and newly released episodes. Any feedback and engagement will mean the world to me, and help me to build a vibrant community of fellow explorers."

Stephen McHugh: "Remember, your logical mind is a treasure trove of possibilities. It's the compass that can guide you through uncharted territories, the key to unlocking your passions, and the source of confidence in facing life's challenges everyday."

Stephen McHugh: "So, until our next adventure together, keep nurturing your logical minds, keep seeking patterns, and keep thriving. This is Stephen McHugh, signing off. Stay inspired, stay logical, and keep writing the story of your unique journey."

[Music]

Stephen McHugh: "Goodbye for now, and take care."

[End of Episode]


The Unique Strengths of Autism
Deciphering the Language Puzzle
The Symphony of Music and Friendship
Mastering Mathematics and Beyond
Cracking the Code of Computing
Embrace the Power Within