Memorization abilities

Damion has always had a memory above those of his peers, if I’m being honest, above most of my peers as well. Text books would probably compare his mind as similar to that of someone with an eidetic memory, although between his gaps in communication and my lack of understanding on the subject, I can’t say that for sure. I don’t think about it much until he springs what I would call a new “party trick” on us out of the blue and amazes me with his memorization capabilities.

We got our first glimpse of his memory gifts when he was 4. He hadn’t been verbal for very long at that point, he could not yet read, but he had a love for the alphabet. We purchased a very age-appropriate app that he really enjoyed that had a bunch of different activities, it had games and fun activities all focused around the ABCs. Within this app, they had a section that was known as the “fruit train”, which you moved through train cars and they would go in alphabetical order spelling out one fruit per letter of the alphabet.  (Apple, banana, etc. all the way to zucchini). One night during our normal bedtime routine, I asked Damion if he could spell “apple”. He did, but he didn’t stop there. In a completely amazing spectacle he spelled apple, and then went on to spell every other fruit in the “fruit train” app in alphabetical order without pause between each word. I just stood there in awe listening to him spell each, perfectly, without stopping. Some of these fruits I am not even sure I could spell correctly myself without some help from spell check. We were floored after our first real introduction to his amazing memory.

It wasn’t shortly after this that his next amazing memorization feet was revealed, although this was beyond even that of normal memorization. We had just finished giving him his evening bath and we were allowing him to play with his alphabet bath toys which were his current favorite at the time. Listening to him list off and identify his letters for the 100th time my husband casually said to me, “He knows his ABCs better than anyone”, which made a curiosity lightbulb go off in my head. He had heard his ABCs more times than I could count, but always in the same order. He could recite them just like any other child who was familiar with the song, but could he do even more than that? I looked at him and instantly just said “Z, Y, X”, to which he didn’t hesitate, he recited the entire alphabet in reverse order. He said it just as fast as if he was stating it without it being in reverse. No extra thinking time needed between each letter. It was like he could just see it, as if it was written in the air in invisible ink.

Fast forward to very recently, a new interesting memorization ability has emerged. He loves going through car rides. He finds it especially enjoyable to be in the car as we drive through a town and say “hello” to each store he reads as we pass by. The other day, he asked if we could go to Bellefontaine, one of the closer towns to our middle of nowhere home. I said not today, but instead of complaining he just started stating and saying “hello” to each store and restaurant on the main drag of Bellefontaine in order from memory as if we were really there driving by them. Something that my husband and I now jokingly refer to as “verbal mapping”. It seems that he is now able to do this in multiple towns that we drive through or he has driven through during school trips.

I’m always curious what new amazing memorization technique he will surprise us with next. These memorization skills definitely are a pro for him, then again, I believe knowing his strengths is really just half the battle. The real goal from here is actively trying to find ways to use what we know he is good at to help him in move forward productive ways, or find ways to incorporate his strengths into helping him through areas that he still struggles. I am so amazed by my boy’s mind; I have no doubt that he is truly gifted. Now I just need to work to help get to the root of his alphabetic and mapping savant capabilities to become something that he can use to help learn and grow and develop skills above that of really cool party tricks.