via The Mighty: https://www.facebook.com/Themightysite/videos/604998539647897/
via The Mighty: https://www.facebook.com/Themightysite/videos/604998539647897/
As some of you know, we have been in a legal fight with The Vanguard School in Colorado Springs for a couple of years now. Our 8 year old autistic son was expelled due to his disability. Today we found out that his federal case is a great precedent to parents and other attorneys.
At the COPAA** Conference in Philadelphia this year, attorneys from Maine made a presentation of the 40 most important federal district court decisions in the field in 2015. They listed our son’s case, Smith v. Cheyenne Mountain School District 12, 2015 WL 4979771 (D. Colo. Aug. 20, 2015) as number 22.
We also discovered that Robert’s case was cited by a federal court in San Diego, to overturn an ALJ’s decision that refused to uphold the “stay put” placement of a child in the school set forth in the child’s IEP.
Four percent of the population, when seeing number five, also see color red. Or hear a C-sharp when seeing blue. Or even associate orange with Tuesdays. And among artists, the number goes to 20-25 percent! This neurologically-based condition is called synesthesia, in which people involuntarily link one sensory percept to another. The colors, sounds, numbers, etc. differ among people (for example, you might see five in red, while someone else sees it in orange), but the association never varies within a person (that is, if five for you is red, it will always be red). There is a surprising overall agreement among synesthetes, however.
The primary perspective of the cause of synesthesia is a mutation that causes defective pruning between areas of the brain that are ordinarily connected only sparsely. Therefore areas that are disconnected within a human brain retain certain connections in synesthetes, which causes unusual associations. The location of gene expression leads to two different types of synesthetes: If the gene is expressed in the fusiform gyrus, the brain area concerned with perception, a perceptual synesthesia results, in which people will actually perceive, for instance, a number five colored in red. If, however, the gene is expressed in the angular gyrus, the brain area involved in processing concepts, a conceptual synesthesia results, in which people will not physically see the color red when presented with a number five, but will nevertheless experience an association between the two concepts.
I must admit, I am a conceptual synesthete (but only for certain numbers). Two is a nice light cream color; three is bright green; four is beige with a bit of light brown; five is definitely blood red; seven is ice blue. Eight wants to be something, but it’s difficult… Nine is dark, almost black. I don’t physically see colors, but when numbers are colored in something other than my associations, it causes some distress. I also paint and am very sensitive to colors and sounds in general.
I also believe that even though perceptual synesthesia may be relatively rare, it does not mean that a subtler cross-sensory undercurrent is nonexistent. I would not be surprised if many creative individuals were conceptual synesthetes. They may not necessarily physically perceive the connections between the percepts, but nevertheless may exhibit the facility in linking seemingly unrelated realms in order to highlight a hidden deep similarity. For example, in a sample of normal university students, those who had higher scores on the remote associates task (which requires finding a common word that can be combined with each of the three problem words to form a common compound or a phrase: e.g., ‘shine, beam, struck;’ solution — ‘moon’) showed stronger associations between colors and pure tones than people with lower scores on the same test. Similarly, synesthetes outperformed controls on the remote associates test. In addition, examination of poetry of Poe, Swinburne, Shelley, Blake, and Keats revealed that they all employed synesthetic usage in their poetry. These findings indicate that cross-sensory linkages may be associated with creative thinking.
I would be glad to hear from synesthetes, as well as from individuals involved in creative pursuits. What are your experiences? How do you perceive the world? How do your experiences affect your daily life?
Last week, writer and tweeter extraordinaire Elizabeth McCracken tweeted this:
There is something unique about the way people talk to writers. Strangers seem very willing to offer career advice — “self-publishing is where the money is!” — literary advice — “People love vampires!” — or to oddly ask you to guess what work they’ve read in their life and if any of yours is among it. It got me thinking about what it would be like it people talked about other professions in this way.
“Ah, a middle school teacher? Have I met any of the students you’ve ever taught?”
“Cool, I always wanted to be a car salesmen. Maybe when I retire I’ll settle down and just work on selling that Buick I’ve had in my head for years.”
“Huh. A chef. Do people still eat food?”
“An accountant? Wow, I haven’t even looked at a number since high school.”
“You own a hardware shop? Nice! Do you sell tools with wood handles? People love wood handles, you should really sell tools with those.”
“So Chet tells me you’re a bartender. Would I have tasted any of the drinks you make?”
“News anchor? Okay here’s a news story I’ve been thinking about for years: the vice president slips into a vat of grape jelly. People would love that story, right? It’s yours! I’ll never have time to get away from work and break the story to a national audience myself.”
“Non-profit grant writer? Hmm. My 7-year-old niece is into non-profits. Do you write grants for any children’s non-profits? Maybe she’s read one of your grants.”
“Software programmer? Like, for actual computers sold in stores or just as a hobby?”
“Gastroenterologist? My aunt tried to be a gastroenterologist. Hard to make a living doing that! Hahaha!”
“Menswear designer for J. Crew? Interesting. Have you tried selling your clothes yourself on Etsy instead? I hear people are making millions self-designing on the internet these days.”
“You said a Wall Street banker? Interesting. Would I know any of the economies you ruined with borderline illegal practices?’
by Lincoln Michel
I hope by now you realize that I keep my word.
I do not give up; I will NEVER give up.
Are you tired of me yet?
If your answer is “yes,” my response is “good.”
What is more dangerous than a parent?
One whose child you have threatened.
Reveal my biggest, darkest secrets – scream it from the highest mountain but you will not silence me.
There is a simple, sure way to stop me…
…hire a hitman because I would rather die than give up.
© Copyright 2016 Olivia Owens. All rights reserved.
Our children attend the much sought after Vanguard School, formerly known as Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy.
Those of you who know us or follow this blog, are aware of the legal battle we are involved in regarding the school’s treatment of, what they consider, “students not in good standing” due to their… disability. Yes, you read that right.
Our 9-year-old, Michael, is a nerd – I say this proudly of course. He loves science. His microscope, petri dishes, and science experiments are his greatest joys.
The other day Michael, took his petri dishes to school because his homeroom teacher said he could bring them to show the class all the bacteria he’s been growing.
On our way to his classroom, another teacher stops him, “What’s that Michael?”
“They’re my petri dishes,” he says proudly showing them off.
“Petri dishes? I’ve never heard of that.”
“You’ve never heard of petri dishes?” he asks.
I’m right behind them and listening in to the conversation. Frankly at this point I am FLOORED by this teacher’s answer.
“No, what are they?” asks the teacher.
“You grow bacteria in them.”
“Oh. Very nice,” she says.
Seriously? SERIOUSLY???? She’s never heard of “petri dish”??? She is a second grade teacher. An “outstanding” one at that according to the school.
The Vanguard School is extremely proud of its school and teachers.
No… not when a teacher has never heard of petri dishes. It’s such a BASIC thing to know as a human being, never mind a teacher.
Guided by outstanding teachers who will benefit children? Not based on experience and certainly not knowledge.
A lesson in current news is certainly in order. Even assuming this “outstanding teacher” does not teach science, there have been enough news stories about Ebola. A petri dish always makes an appearance. Hell, does she know what in vitro fertilization means? There’s a petri dish involved somewhere in there as well.
That’s like a teacher saying she’s never heard of the alphabet before. Good grief.
Assuming you are reading this, and happen… just happen to know about or work at this school, here’s a petri dish.