Autism Answer Book : More Than 300 Of The Top Questions Parents Ask by William Stillman

Autism Answer Book : More Than 300 Of The Top Questions Parents Ask by William Stillman

Written in an easy-to-understand Q&A format, The Autism Answer Book serves as a comprehensive guide for parents seeking to comprehend their child’s diagnosis and formulate a roadmap for their success. According to current estimates, the prevalence of autism among children is at a staggering rate of 1 in 150, and this number continues to rise.

In a time characterized by the abundance of bewildering and sometimes contradictory information, parents find themselves increasingly overwhelmed. The Autism Answer Book alleviates this confusion by offering clear and confident advice, directly addressing their most pressing concerns.

The Autism Answer Book tackles a wide range of subjects including obtaining a diagnosis, managing social sensitivities, maintaining physical well-being, nurturing mental health, and achieving academic success.

By employing a reader-friendly Q&A structure, The Autism Answer Book empowers parents to not only comprehend and accept their child’s condition but also to develop a customized plan that paves the way for their child’s triumphs.

The Monty Hall Problem: Marilyn Vos Savant’s Surprising Answer

It’s quite fitting that Marilyn Vasivant’s last name, in French, means learned. Learning came easily to her, considering she has an IQ of 228. Vasivant was born in St. Louis, Missouri on August 11, 1946, to immigrants from Germany and Italy. Her parents never told her she was exceptional, she once said in an interview: “No one really paid much attention to me, mostly because I was a girl, and I accepted that.” But the world would pay attention in 1985 when she became known as the smartest person in the world, topping the Guinness Book of World Records list.

In 1985, Parade Magazine wrote a profile on her and readers had so many questions for her that the magazine offered her a Sunday column, “Ask Marilyn,” which still exists today. In this column, she ignited one of the fiercest debates in probability of the 21st century.

The Monty Hall Problem

In 1990, a reader asked Vasivant the following question: “Suppose you’re on a game show and you’re given the choice of three doors. Behind one door is a car, and behind the others are goats. You pick a door, say number one, and the host, who knows what’s behind the doors, opens another door, say number three, which has a goat. He says to you, ‘Do you want to pick door number two?’ Is it to your advantage to switch your choice of doors?”.

Most people assume that both doors are equally likely to have the prize, so they don’t see the benefit of switching. However, Vasivant replied: “Yes, you should switch. The first door has a one in three chance of winning, but the second door has a two in three chance.”

This response sparked intense backlash. Vasivant received thousands of angry letters, with 90% of them telling her she was wrong. Math professors and experts criticized her logic and accused her of propagating mathematical illiteracy.

But the reality is, switching your door does increase the probability of winning the prize. When you first choose door number one, there’s a one in three chance that the prize is behind that door and a two in three chance that it’s behind one of the other two. The host then steps in and opens a door with a goat, filtering out the bad option. So, door number two now has a two in three chance of having the prize. Switching doubles your odds of winning.

The outrage against Vasivant was extreme, but she felt compelled to devote several columns to explaining her logic. She noted that the benefits of switching can be proven by playing through all the possibilities. Mapping out all the possibilities shows that there’s a higher chance of winning if you switch than if you stay.

Some eventually admitted they were wrong. A team at MIT worked on the problem and concluded that Vasivant was indeed correct. But why did so many people get it wrong in the first place?

The Misconception of Two Choices

Our biggest misconception is assuming that two choices mean a 50/50 chance of something happening. This may make sense if we don’t have any other information. But as Vasivant pointed out, information matters.

Take the example of a tennis match. If we ask who would win between two randomly chosen players, we have a 50/50 chance of getting it right. But if we know that Player A just took out the sport yesterday and Player B has won Wimbledon, this information would likely change our choice.

Similarly, in the Monty Hall problem, the game show host knows which door has a goat. They aren’t opening a door randomly. The more you know, the more informed decisions you can make.

Intellectual Potential and Education

Vasivant has been critical of compulsory schooling, arguing that it hinders intellectual potential. She believes that students learn passively in the traditional classroom system, being told what to believe instead of learning to think independently.

For her, there’s another way to learn that doesn’t involve sitting in a classroom. She advocates for online interactive learning platforms like Brilliant, which help individuals brush up on math, science, and computer science skills.

Brilliant offers courses on probability, including the famous Monty Hall problem. It explores misconceptions that can arise in probability problems and provides explanations for those who are stuck. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to improve your knowledge, there’s something for everyone.

Brilliant is free to sign up through the custom link in Vasivant’s description. The first 200 people to use her link will get 20% off their premium membership, which grants access to all courses.

So, next time you encounter a probability problem, remember Vasivant’s advice: gather all the information you can and make an informed decision. It might just increase your odds of success.

Thanks for reading. For Newsthink, I’m Cindy Palm.

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