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By Philip Allmen • STAFF WRITER • September 2, 2010

 

When the McCormick family goes for a drive, they don’t need to worry about bringing along a map book or GPS.

 

They’ve got Sean, their second child, to tell them the way.

 

Sean, an 8-year-old about to enter third grade at Lakewood Elementary, is a whiz with roads. And it’s all in his head.

 

On a recent Thursday morning, Sean had his paper and pencil pulled out. But he wasn’t drawing dinosaurs, rocket ships or cars. His latest creation is a road map of the five-county metropolitan Detroit area. His focus that morning was around the area where I-75 and I-696 intersect in Madison Heights, complete with all of lanes, curves and entrance ramps that go along with it. As his map grows, he tapes another piece of paper together to continue adding roads. Dozens of sheets of paper make up his work.

 

Sean’s mom, Jill McCormick, said her son’s passion for maps started when he was 4. It started with drawing houses with long, winding driveways and morphed into roads.

 

“He liked to be in the car, and he always wanted to take different ways,” she said. And any route he rides along is committed to memory, including curves in the road, which he can rattle off later. “If you compare it to a Google map, it’s all right,” she added.

 

Tell Sean where you live and where you work, and he can relay the most likely commuting route you take back and forth.

 

“If you need to go anywhere in southeast Michigan, he can tell you how to get there,” she said.

 

Sean was diagnosed with autism at age 2. A high-functioning student, he does well in classes, but still struggles with some of his social skills.

 

Autism is a neurological disorder that affects a child’s capacity to relate appropriately to people, an absence or delay in language, speech, or meaningful communication and unusual or inconsistent responses to sensory stimuli. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize.

 

Sean gets extra help through Huron Valley Schools, an area Jill McCormick said helps significantly. This will be Sean’s second year in the autistic impaired program at Lakewood. He spent his first two years at Kurtz before transferring to get extra support available there. Sean spends almost all of his time in general education classes, though he is pulled out from time to time to work on socialization skills.

 

Read in Full: 

http://www.hometownlife.com/article/20100902/NEWS11/9020408/Milford+boy+a+whiz+with+a+map



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