Friday, January 27, 2012

Islands of Genius

Today I'm thinking about the coalescence of some ideas this week.  When speaking with the director of the place where my son with Down Syndrome works/lives, she commented that people with special needs tend to only be able to do 1 thing really well at a time.  I remember read a book on child development when my son was little that talked about "touch stones."  The concept was that as little children are having developmental spurts learning to walk, or talk, or potty train, or grow their fine motor skills---whatever---they tend to backslide in other areas of their development.  If, say, a child was potty trained, and then started wetting himself again, it was important to look at other areas of his life: was there some new developmental milestone or touchstone?  I shared this with the director--she'd never heard this theory before, but it certainly fits with what she experiences with the adults in her facility.

From my Amazon wishlist, I received for Christmas
and am reading it now.  It's a look at the fascinating condition of a very narrow area of brilliance in an otherwise (frequently) developmentally disabled person.  This can also happen after some kind of brain injury, and is usually limited to just certain skills---music, art, math, and calendar counting mostly.  This rare condition reveals an otherwise unknown extraordinary talent that cannot be explained.  It makes the scientists (and me) wonder if there is this "island of genius" inside all of us.

So, aside from that whole topic being interesting unto itself, it leads me to think about the 8 intelligences, another developmental/learning theory I learned about when my son was little.  From Wikipedia:

"Gardner argues that there is a wide range of cognitive abilities, and that there are only very weak correlations between these. For example, the theory predicts that a child who learns to multiply easily is not necessarily generally more intelligent than a child who has more difficulty on this task. The child who takes more time to master simple multiplication 1) may best learn to multiply through a different approach, 2) may excel in a field outside of mathematics, or 3) may even be looking at and understanding the multiplication process at a fundamentally deeper level, or perhaps as an entirely different process. Such a fundamentally deeper understanding can result in what looks like slowness and can hide a mathematical intelligence potentially higher than that of a child who quickly memorizes the multiplication table despite a less detailed understanding of the process of multiplication."

Well, all this leads me around to my HSHB course and our FB group, which is the closest to heaven that I've ever been! There have been comments about every aspect of ourselves, but today I was particularly thinking/dreaming about the advice that we should try to do just a few things well. Many of us artsy-types want to try so many different ways to express ourselves, or think we SHOULD try other things, that we kind of scatter our energies and focus, diluting our own power. It's not the trying that isn't good, but trying to be really excellent at a lot of things, rather than letting them go, or asking for help only lessens our chance for success, when we think the opposite is the truth

1 comment:

WrightStuff said...

I've done so much thinking since this course started that my brain hurts! I'm also enjoying it so much - both the course and the thinking! This is fascinating material you have shared here Amy.