Because the number of children being diagnosed with autism is increasing, it is essential to understand how different and complex the mind-set of an autistic person can be.Through the character of Christopher, Haddon is able to show that people with autism have a reason for acting the way they do and that many autistic people have unique talents or abilities.Christopher takes the reader very carefully through his thought process, which needs to be concrete.Because of this concrete thought process, Christopher excels at math and has the ambition to become a scientist. He is also less likely to be affected by emotional events. He explains that facial expressions and metaphors confused him until his teacher, Siobhan, explained what they meant.Christopher does not like being touched or confused, and when he feels frustrated or lost, he will curl into a fetal position and rock back and forth, moaning.Haddon is able to create sympathy for Christopher and to make these behaviors, which may seem outwardly abnormal, understandable to a person who may know nothing about autism. This, in turn, may help the reader become more tolerant or accepting if encountering those behaviors in a real person.
In addition to promoting tolerance of people with special needs, the novel underscores that no child should be written off as unable to achieve.Many students with special needs are not offered the same opportunities for advancement or education as a “normal” student might be.In an effort to combat that stereotype, Haddon has Christopher tell of Siobhan’s encouragement of his book-writing attempt.She explains different ideas and abstract concepts to him in concrete ways so that he can understand them.For instance, she draws different faces (happy, sad, angry) and explains the different emotions behind them to Christopher so that he can interpret the facial expressions he sees on people around him.Christopher is also allowed to sit for his A-level mathematics...
(The entire section is 667 words.)