Islands of Genius

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Ontology Tags

Classes Societies: Applaud Genius in our Midst – (1) Savants (2) Exceptional IQ & Talent | Health & Health Services: (1) Decoding the Human Body – Nuances of the Mind (2) Health Breakthroughs – Alternate Forms of Communication

Goals Challenging Problems: (1) Physical World – Human Body (2) Of the Mind – Intelligence & Learning | Intended Learning Outcomes: Critical Thinking – Reflect Critically on Learning  | CTEs & Disciplines: (1) Arts & Entertainment (2) Music Studies (3) Art Studies


Explore the workings of the human mind, how it works, the types of intelligence humans have, and why some incredibly gifted and talented people have “islands of genius” in a narrow area such as music, art, calendar calculations, or mathematics. Explore three types of savants: congenital, accidental and sudden. After studying about the human brain (its anatomy, how it works, types of intelligence and motor skills that each portion of the brain controls), choose deeper inquiries into various areas involving anatomy, psychology, music, math and more.



Chooka Parker TV

Chooka Parker is an exceptionally talented self-taught pianist and astounded the Australia’s Got Talent judges and audience when he performed on their stage in 2011, making his song up on-the-spot and finishing as a finalist.

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Prodigy: Chooka Parker Music



Accidental Genius

Darold Treffert, MD, graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1958, interned in Eugene, Oregon and completed a Residency in Psychiatry at University Hospitals in Madison, Wisconsin. His book Extraordinary People: Understanding Savant Syndrome, published in the U.S., has been translated into ten other languages. His subsequent book, Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired and Sudden Savant, was published in April 2010. It summarizes his 50 years of research in autism and savant syndrome. Dr. Treffert was a consultant to the movie “Rain Man,” in which Dustin Hoffman portrays an autistic savant.


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How Savants Do What They Do?

“Savant syndrome” is the name of a rare, but extraordinary, condition in which someone with serious mental impairment (sometimes a form of autism) displays a spectacular “island of genius” amidst his overall disability. We need to take a closer look at how savants and prodigies (who have savant-like abilities but without physical or mental impairments) “know things they have never learned.”


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An Extraordinary Condition 

Savant syndrome is a rare, but extraordinary, condition in which persons with serious mental disabilities, including autistic disorder, have some ‘island of genius’ which stands in marked, incongruous contrast to overall handicap.  The best-known autistic savant is a fictional one, Raymond Babbitt, as portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the 1988 movie Rain man.


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Where Do Savant Skills Come From?

Savants display a narrow repertoire of skills, which tend to be highly structured, rule-based, and nonverbal. Common savant domains include music, art, calendar calculating, lightning calculating, and mechanical/visual spatial skills. Most musical savants are blind and have perfect pitch, most artistic savants express themselves through realistic drawing and sculpture, and most rapid calculating savants have a fascination and facility with prime numbers.


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The Secrets of Exceptional Memory Revealed

Michele Juratowitch explains the different categories of genius, including savants. “These are “twice-exceptional individuals … high ability individuals, who also have an area of disability,” she says. “Often we think of people with autism, who have an area of disability in their social communication and the way in which they may do day-to-day tasks, but they also have extraordinary capacity in a certain area.” She points us to Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man, who had a mind-blowing ability with numbers.


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Open the Eyes of My Heart

Christopher Duffley is an inspirational and passionate singer and musician. Born prematurely, Christopher weighed only 1 lb. 12 oz. at birth and is blind due to Retinopathy of Prematurity. His goal is to share God’s love through his inspirational singing and dynamic presentations.



Christopher Duffley with The Tenors

Christopher Sings “Time to Say Goodbye” in Italian and is joined by The Tenors, for an inspiring performance during the Canucks Autism Network’s 2nd Annual Reveal Gala, which was held May 6, 2017 in Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC.


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Applied Behavior Analysis

5 Acclaimed Visual Artists with Autism

We don’t often enough ascribe positive attributes like accomplished, protege, or genius to people on the autism spectrum, yet, there are plenty of people with ASD that have displayed amazing talents and abilities in many areas of life including the visual arts.

5 Mind-Blowing Things Kim Peek Could Do That You Can’t

Despite his prodigious feats, Kim Peek’s IQ was only 87, and he lived a quiet life in the care of his family… until Rain Man. Afterward, he often toured the country with his father, advocating tolerance for disabled individuals and demonstrating some of the amazing things that he could do… things that the rest of us couldn’t even imagine being able to do.

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