It’s one thing, I guess, for Kaitlyn to be able to crush some categories on Teen Jeopardy! the way she did last week. The clues are a little easier than the regular version, even though she did do better on some than a few of the contestants.
But Amber and I could never have imagined the ease of her answers during last night’s episode. Especially since it is their “Tournament of Champions,” the best of the best of those who have won multiple times in the regular versions of the show.
Specifically, Kaitlyn owned the Olympic Cities category like she wrote the clues herself. She was able to correctly answer three of the five clues correctly, and these were not clues that referred to last year’s London Games. The one that really got Amber’s attention was when Kaitlyn nonchalantly responded correctly with Lillehammer, Norway as the host city for the 1994 Winter Games. We don’t have a lot of discussions about previous host cities around the dinner table, so for her to know about Lillehammer is remarkable. I would venture a guess that out of 10 people who were to think about that question, maybe 1 or 2 could answer correctly in under 30 seconds. I did a quick survey of my staff at work, and all three had no idea what city hosted the Winter Games in 1994.
Amber and I have known for quite some time that we have a pretty bright daughter, and we know that at some point we will really have to challenge her intellectually. But we did not ever fathom that we might have to start sooner rather than later. At some point, probably in the not-to-distant future, she will be smarter than both of us (she already thinks she is). We have our hands full, and will have to stay on our toes to stay ahead of her. In the meantime, we will have to keep her occupied until she is old enough to take the Jeopardy! test after she turns 10 (if she wants to).
It’s funny, because so much of our society looks at people on the autism spectrum or with Asperger’s, and all they see is the character played by Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. What so many people fail to realize is that many of the advances and comforts we enjoy today can probably be attributed to someone on the spectrum. Amber and I know that Kaitlyn is a very special little girl, and we have fully embraced all of her quirks and habits, knowing that supporting her is the best way for her to succeed; while it is scary sometimes when we think about what she knows (when I was 6, there is no way I could have told you what city hosted the Olympics 12 years before I was born. They were in Mexico City and Grenoble, France that year.), all Amber and I know to do is to encourage her to learn more. Yes, her having Asperger’s means that she will, does, have intense interest in certain things over others, but we do not see that as a hinderance at all. If you are lucky enough to know someone with Asperger’s or on the autism spectrum, the best thing you can do is support them, or to support their caregivers. Trust me on that.