A Puzzle

Wednesday 25th January. Morning.

What looks a bit like autism in a 3 year old boy? What does it mean when he's skilled with iphone and laptop...but has no words at all, and doesn't know his name? Loves to be hugged, especially by father. We think we have an answer.

It's the first world problem of children raised by television. From as soon as he could sit, his mother left him sat in front of the TV - leaving him calm, happy, and seemingly engaged and learning.

Result: A 3 year old boy with the mind of an 18 month old baby. Not slow, in fact very quick, but delayed. The treatment seems obvious - lots of interaction with lots of familiar people. Basically, an extended loving family. Which is exactly what he's got.

But is it actually possible for him to catch up? With this delayed start, how far can he even run? I don't know, and the research seems uncertain.

What happens when you introduce the electric light bulb to a culture that lives in tents? You get storytelling, debate and gossip that can extend into the night, instead of finishing when the sun goes down.

What happens when you introduce iPhones and internet? You get families sitting around a tray of fingerfood in the evening, each eating their fill...and then wordlessly browsing facebook for their storytelling, debate and gossip.

What happens when you introduce 24-hour multi-channel TV? The elderly can stay mentally active and entertained, without being a burden. The debate and gossip is about world events, not just the latest family scandel. You just also get boys like Wasaam.

Though to be fair, if I were a mother tasked with non-stop shopping, cooking, cleaning and care for five children, I'd be tempted to outsource the childcare to the magic window in the corner too.

He decided I was a soft and comfortable mattress. And he really didn't want to wake up.

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