The book by the title “Born on a Blue day’’ is a story describing the journey through the life of a character who is also the author-Daniel Tammet. He is a person whose life, character and ability can be termed as unique. Tammet was born on January 31, 1979 in East London, England and he was the oldest in a family of nine. He was brought up in a poor family where only the father had a job to cater for the family needs. In his book, Tammet narrates his early life and how he grew up and all the challenges he faced.
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When he was young, Tammet cried continuously for long hours to an extent that the only way to silence him was through breastfeeding. At other times, the father would hold him in his arms and walk along the streets during the morning hours as a way to sooth and relieve the crying (Tammet 15).
According to Tammet (16), his crying was so loud that his parents consulted a doctor several times and after diagnosing the infant, the doctor claimed that the infant was suffering from colic- prolonged crying of a kid and thus, hard to sooth. Despite all these, his parents never got tired of looking after him. They always wanted to see their kid healthy and happy and when the right time came, Tammet was taken to school.
While at school, Tammet became a completely different pupil. He wanted to live his own life without interacting with the other kids. In many occasions, he was scared of watching television programs and dancing with other children and for this reason, he was isolated from his schoolmates.
Finally, the crying ceased something that the parents took positively not realizing that their kid was suffering from autism, a disorder in the development of the mind that was less known by then. According to Farrell, (112), autism makes the affected to have an odd repetitive behavior and usually view the environment as strange to them.
He spent most of his time in libraries since he had a great passion to learn. The fruits of his passion to learn are evident as he can express himself through speech and writing, something that was not possible before then and this is not common to many who have the same kind of disorder.
It is evident that Tammet is obsessed with the need to go by orders and routine in all what he does. For instance, he eats exactly 45 grams of porridge each morning for breakfast and using an electronic balance, he makes sure that this is the exact weight. On top of this, he takes a cup of tea exactly at the same time each day or else, he suffers from stress.
However, he understands how to control himself and get out of stress by counting numbers after which his mind settles. As a routine, he cannot leave the house having not counted the number of clothes he has worn. This is actually an unusual way of life for a normal being. However, despite all these disorders, he lives an independent life unlike many others with such a problem.
As a savant, he is mentally handicapped in certain areas, but he shows strong abilities in some other fields. For example, he is gifted in memory, mostly in mathematical calculation and in languages. He memorized the value of “pi” which has 22,517 digits in three months. Tammet completed his high school education and performed tremendously well in English Grammar, Literature and Mathematics by scoring grade ‘A’ in the three and a ‘C’ in Woodwork.
This is a clear reflection of his strengths and weaknesses; he is weak in Woodwork. Afterwards, Tammet opted to teach English for one year in Lithuania before joining university. During this time, he took a challenge of learning Icelandic, a foreign language in just one week and he emerged successful to an extent of conversing fluently in a national television station in Icelandic.
Tammet is such a gifted man; he has the ability to see numbers in colors, shapes and motions. He has also some emotions and feelings towards certain numbers. He says that these colors and shapes of numbers assist him to know the solution to a mathematical problem such as multiplication.
However, he experiences difficulties to recall some numbers such as six and eight because to him, they seem tiny dots which are black in color. He associates some numbers to certain occurrences in life. For instance, 89 remind him of falling snow, and the number 9 seems blue in his mind. He also believes that all Wednesdays are blue and that is why he says that he was born on a blue day on January 31, 1979, a Wednesday.
It is not a surprise to many who understand much about savants to say that Tammet is a homosexual. Savants are those people suffering from Asperger’s, who, for example in the case of men, they have little or no sexual feelings at all towards the females, but are sexually attracted towards their fellow men.
Following his trip to Lithuania, Tallet met Neil, a man who they became lovers and later formed a partnership and established an internet-based company where they specialized on teaching languages. He is able to come up with new ideas and implement them creatively and innovatively.
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We come to learn that later, in the year 2002 during a Christmas day, Tammet was converted into a Christian, but the funny thing is that in his testimony speech, he hardly talks of the sins that he has committed there before and says nothing to do with a change of his behavior. With this, it is not worth judging whether he committed a sin by being a homosexual or not. This is because the act itself is considered sinful in most Christian context and we have no evidence of the act whatsoever mentioned in the text in order to judge him.
The role of this book in bettering people’s understanding of special needs children cannot be ignored. It is of great importance for all people to understand and accept others regardless of their weaknesses for they do not know the fabulous gifts and abilities they possess.
For decades now, children as well as adults who are either physically or mentally challenged have faced discrimination in most countries. To curb this, the government and non-governmental organizations should intervene and ensure that all get their rights met. Those with disabilities such as mental and speech retardation, vision impairment and emotional problems should be provided with special education in order to realize and achieve their careers.
When educating students with special needs, they can either be included or excluded from the rest of the students. When excluded, a student is taught from wherever he/she is through an outreach programs. This is a highly effective method since a kid can learn even from the hospital and thus, he is not left behind by the others as they learn.
Through the inclusion method, chances are high that a kid with disorders may be pulled up by the others as they interact. However, some may be affected negatively as they are likely to face rejection and thus feel inferior.
From the book `Born on a Blue day’, we learn that Tammet required special education and since he was not given, he faced a lot of discrimination from other kids at school. However, this did not kill his dream, but if special attention was offered to him, things would otherwise have been different. To effectively cater for the needs of the special needs kids, Kirk et al (5), asserts that organized efforts from various stakeholders are needed.
Tammet had a mental disorder and an expert would have improved the condition for the better. Such things as simplified and short assignments, extra tuition and skipping of hard tasks depending on the mind’s capability would have rehabilitated his mental development. However, having gone through all this, Tammet still made it.
This is also as a result of his parent’s dedication to educate him. Although they earned very little salary and had a big family to cater for, they sacrificed the little they had and paid the fees for their kid. This should be a lesson to the present day parents who see it a shame having given birth to a mentally or physically challenged infant.
Farrell, Michael. 2006. The effective teacher’s guide to autism and communication difficulties: practical strategies. New York: Taylor & Francis. 2006. Print
Kirk, Samuel, Gallagher James, Coleman, Mary and Anastasiow, Nick. Educating Exceptional Children. New York: Sage. 2008.
Tammet Daniel. Born on a blue day: inside the extraordinary mind of an autistic savant: a memoir. England: Simon and Schuster Publishers. 2007. Print.