When my autistic son first started participating in the mandatory city-wide middle school school science fair, I figured this scientifically-minded kid would naturally distinguish himself--after all, he's been doing science experiments since he was about 2--and thus enhance his chances for admission to a decent magnet high school.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
But two years have gone by, and he's won no prizes. In fact, he hasn't even gotten past the first hurdle: being chosen as the one or two students to represent his class.
Perhaps some of his classmates are very strong competitors, I'd simply assumed.
Then, this morning, a friend of mine who happens to be a school science fair veteran explained to me how it works.
To make it past that first hurdle, it turns out, you have to be elected by the majority of your classmates. And for this, you are evaluated not on the scientific merits of your experiment, but on the quality of your presentation.
Thus, graphic design and public speaking skills trump scientific talent, further reducing what few opportunities remain for left-brainers to distinguish themselves.