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Oregon Branch IDA Salem, Oregon “ Cerebrodiversity In The Classroom-- Lessons From Neuroscience” Part 3 - Slides 65-96. Gordon F. Sherman, Ph.D. Newgrange School & Education Center Princeton, N.J. www.thenewgrange.org February 24, 2007. Talents.

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Oregon Branch IDASalem, Oregon“Cerebrodiversity In The Classroom-- Lessons From Neuroscience”Part 3 - Slides 65-96

Gordon F. Sherman, Ph.D.

Newgrange School & Education Center

Princeton, N.J.


February 24, 2007

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Helps Prevent Genetic Manipulation Temptation?

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  • A match (biology/environment)

  • Sensory input

  • Basic computations

  • Memory

  • Complex and creative analysis

  • Motor output

  • Motivation

  • Courage

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Do Talents & Learning Challenges Co-exist?

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James Henry Pullen

  • Genius of Earlswood (asylum)

  • Never learned to read or write beyond the simplest words of one syllable (muvver)

  • Most speech was unintelligible

  • Savant

  • Brother

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Born on a Blue Day

--Daniel Tammet

“he…speaks of numbers with affection..they have individual personalities, particularly the smaller ones. The number four is shy (and remains him of himself); nines are scary and imposing. Ones are shiny and bright, eights are blue, fives are loud, and 333 is beautiful.”

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By the Way…

Daniel Tammet has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, can be fluent in a language in a week, and has memorized and publicly recited the number pi to 22,514 digits (a new European record).

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Are Certain Talents Related to Dyslexia?

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W. Pringle Morgan, M.D.

Percy F., 14

"Calfuly winder the sturng

rond the Pag.”

“He could multiply 749 by 887 quickly and correctly.”

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Other Advocates

Anna GillinghamS.T. OrtonMargaret RawsonNorman GeschwindPriscilla VailTom West

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Dyslexia Strengths

  • Spatial analyses

  • Mechanical/digital aptitude

  • Creative approaches to problem-solving

  • Connecting disparate pieces of a puzzle

  • Visualization

  • Artistic expression

  • Athletics

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  • Not everyone with dyslexia

  • Talents may be hidden

  • Conflict of disability/talent

  • Spatial/digital processing may be a strong channel

  • Complicated by stress

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Early Intervention: Another Reason

  • Chronic stress

  • Negative neuronal effects

    • number/size

    • adult neurogenesis

  • Impairs learning

  • Dyslexia

    • school-home environment

    • testing

  • Feedback loop

  • Strengths are not enhanced/inhibited

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Let’s Talk About Space?

  • Location of points in space (2-D)

  • Depth perception (3-D)

  • Orientation of lines in space

  • Face recognition

  • Geometric relations (forms/shapes)

  • Tracking moving objects over time

  • Object rotation

  • Navigating the world (local-global)

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Prominent Dyslexics? (Historical)

  • Thomas Edison

  • Albert Einstein

  • Leonardo da Vinci

  • Winston Churchill

  • Woodrow Wilson

  • Auguste Rodin

  • Pablo Picasso

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Prominent Dyslexics (Living)

  • Jack Horner

  • Henry Winkler

  • Jay Leno

  • Cher

  • Bruce Jenner

  • Greg Louganis

  • Jim Shea

  • Guy Ritchie

  • Paul Orfalea

  • Jerry Pinkney

  • Stephen J. Cannell

  • Robert Rauschenberg

  • David Boies

  • Tommy Hilfiger

  • Reyn Guyer

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Talented Brains

“Making talented brains is not simple. Nature has probably adopted many (strategies) for the achievement of this end…it is indeed quite possible that dyslexia… may be an unwanted byproduct of a mechanism that evolved as a means of increasing the numbers of certain types of high talent.”

Norman Geschwind--

“The Brain of a Learning-Disabled Individual”

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Challenge for Educators & Parents

College and High School Student Panel

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Another Cerebrodiversity Research Question

  • fMRI during spatial tests

  • Highly stressed experimental group

    • school-home environment

    • test situation

    • aversive stimuli (Eden)

    • appropriate control groups

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Tough Being a Rat

“Even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat”

--Lily Tomlin

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Improve Your Spatial Skills?

  • KIF17-spatial superiority

    • one of 45 kinesin proteins

    • involved in learning and memory

    • enhanced Morris Maze learning in transgenic mice

    • improved working memory

  • Human chromosome 1

    • linked to dyslexia

    • KIF17 gene

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What Else Can We Do?

  • Efficiency of remediation

  • Technology bypass

    • Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9 (S-T)

    • CAST AspireReader 4.0 (T-S)

  • Enrichment of abilities

    • Computer-based (Mac)

    • Digital music composition/performance

    • Digital video production

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What is Digital Audio?

  • You are surrounded

    • movie soundtracks

    • popular music (hip hop, rock, techno)

  • Sophisticated, complicated, exasperating

    software programs

  • Takes advantage of powerful computer technologies

    • processing speed (Intel Mac chips)

    • inexpensive memory

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Strengths Involved

  • Visuospatial

    • processing

    • memory

  • Auditory

  • Digital

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New Experiences

  • What it feels like to be motivated

  • Working/long term memory workout

  • Being attentive

  • Altered perception of time

  • Learning can be fun

  • Energy of discovery

  • High level processing success

  • Value of instruction

  • Extends to other subjects/learning situations?

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Action Plan

  • Adopt cerebrodiversity model

  • Expect differences and plan for them

  • Do not wait, intervene early

    for weaknesses

  • Utilize new technologies

  • Turn learning differences into

    learning abilities

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“Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.”

--St. Francis deSales