Is vision a learned process? Perhaps not. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that it isn’t developed, or merely somehow inborn, pre-programmed, and little influenced by epigenetic processes and interactions. I’m with Jacob Barnett. Learning doesn’t lead to creativity. Seeing with your own unique perspective leads to visual thinking, and thinking leads to creativity.
I read about Jacob on today’s Huff Post. Love his line that “Special Ed” is extremely special in the fact that it didn’t educate him. Which he considers a blessing in disguise. Because he had to stop learning the way others expected him to learn, he was able to engage in a different kind of thinking.
But this is really a story about Mother’s Day. Jacob’s mother, Kristine, is very much in the mold of Eustacia Cutler, Temple Grandin’s mother. I would daresay that behind virtually every child with Autism who succeeds to the level that Jacob is succeeding has a special mother as her or his driving force. Jacob has two brothers, one of who is a chemist and the other a meteorologist. So clearly there is strong interest in science in the family. His mother’s story about nurturing genius in her family is told in her new book, The Spark. What will strike you about Jacob’s TEDxTeen talk is that he has a wicked sense of humor and more sociability – at least to my eyes – than Temple Grandin. I got a kick out of Jacob relating that when he was two, an early intervention therapist told his mother that he would never talk and probably wouldn’t be able to do elementary eye-hand coordination tasks such as tying his shoes. Toward the end of his presentation he says that “there’s probably some therapist watching this who’s freaking out right now”. Most successful behavioral/developmental optometrists and optometric vision therapists I know are a little bit quirky. We don’t see things the way our peers do. I’ll bet many of us had special mothers. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you, to whom this applies.