The Savant Syndrome

The Savant Syndrome

The Savant Syndrome

intelligence

Temple Grandin

Born August 29, 1.947 (age 64)

Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Nationality American

Institutions Colorado State University

Alma mater Franklin Pierce University

Arizona State University

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Known for published works and work with the livestock industry
Autism rights movement

Philosophy

Neurodiversity · Neurotypical · Sociological and cultural aspects · Ableism · Social model of disability · Disability rights movement

Organizations

Autism National Committee · Autism Network International · Autistic Self Advocacy Network · National Autistic Society · Aspies For Freedom

Events

Autistic Pride Day · Autreat

Issues

Judge Rotenberg Educational Center · Karen McCarron · Inclusion (education) · Inclusion (disability rights)

Temple Grandin (born August 29, 1.947) is an American doctor of animal science and professor at Colorado State University, bestselling author, and consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior. 

As a person with high-functioning autism, Grandin is also noted for her work in autism advocacy and is the inventor of the squeeze machine designed to calm hypersensitive people.

Grandin is listed in the 2.010 Time 100 list of the 100 most influential people in the world in the category "Heroes".

Early life and education

Grandin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Richard Grandin and Eustacia Cutler. 

She was diagnosed with autism in 1.950. 

Having been labeled and diagnosed with brain damage at age two, she was placed in a structured nursery school with what she considers to have been good teachers. 

Grandin's mother spoke to a doctor who suggested speech therapy, and she hired a nanny who spent hours playing turn-based games with Grandin and her sister.

At age four, Grandin began talking, and making progress. 

She considers herself lucky to have had supportive mentors from primary school onwards. 

However, Grandin has said that middle and high school were the worst parts of her life. She was the "nerdy kid" whom everyone teased. 

At times, while she walked down the street, people would taunt her by saying "tape recorder," because she would repeat things over and over again. Grandin states that, "I could laugh about it now, but back then it really hurt."

After graduating from Hampshire Country School, a boarding school for gifted children in Rindge, New Hampshire, in 1.966, Grandin went on to earn her bachelor's degree in psychology from Franklin Pierce College in 1.970, her master's degree in animal science from Arizona State University in 1.975, and her doctoral degree in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1.989.

Career celebrity, advocacy

Grandin's interest in animal welfare began with designs for sweeping curved corrals, intended to reduce stress in animals being led to slaughter.

Grandin is a philosophical leader of both the animal welfare and autism advocacy movements. 

Both movements commonly cite her work regarding animal welfare, neurology, and philosophy. 

She knows the anxiety of feeling threatened by everything in her surroundings, and of being dismissed and feared, which motivates her work in humane livestock handling processes. 

Her business website promotes improvement of standards in slaughter plants and livestock farms. 

In 2.004 she won a "Proggy" award, in the "visionary" category, from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

One of her notable essays about animal welfare is “Animals are not Things”, in which she posits that animals are technically property in our society, but the law ultimately gives them ethical protections or rights. 

She compares the properties and rights of owning cows versus owning screwdrivers, enumerating how both can be utilized to serve human purposes in many ways but, when it comes to inflicting pain, there is a vital distinction between such 'properties': a person can legally smash or grind up a screwdriver but cannot legally torture an animal.

Grandin became well known after being described by Oliver Sacks in the title narrative of his book An Anthropologist on Mars (1.995); the title is derived from Grandin's description of how she feels around neurotypical people. 

She first spoke in public about autism in the mid-1.980s at the request of Ruth C. Sullivan, one of the founders of the Autism Society of America. Sullivan writes :

I first met Temple in the mid-1.980s ...[at the] annual [ASA] conference.... 

Standing on the periphery of the group was a tall young woman who was obviously interested in the discussions. 

She seemed shy and pleasant, but mostly she just listened.... 

I learned her name was Temple Grandin... 

It wasn't until later in the week that I realized she was someone with autism....

I approached her and asked if she'd be willing to speak at the next year's [ASA] conference. 

She agreed...The next year... Temple first addressed an [ASA] audience.... people were standing at least three deep....

The audience couldn't get enough of her.

Here, for the first time, was someone who could tell us from her own experience what it was like to be extremely sound sensitive ("like being tied to the rail and the train's coming")... 

She was asked many questions : "Why does my son do so much spinning?" "Why does he hold his hands to his ears? "Why doesn't he look at me?" 

She spoke from her own experience, and her insight was impressive. There were tears in more than one set of eyes that day.... 

Temple quickly became a much sought-after speaker in the autism community.

Based on personal experience, Grandin advocates early intervention to address autism, and supportive teachers who can direct fixations of the child with autism in fruitful directions. 

She has described her hypersensitivity to noise and other sensory stimuli. 

She claims she is a primarily visual thinker[6] and has said that words are her second language. 

Temple attributes her success as a humane livestock facility designer to her ability to recall detail, which is a characteristic of her visual memory. 

Grandin compares her memory to full-length movies in her head that can be replayed at will, allowing her to notice small details. 

She is also able to view her memories using slightly different contexts by changing the positions of the lighting and shadows. Her insight into the minds of cattle has taught her to value the changes in details to which animals are particularly sensitive, and to use her visualization skills to design thoughtful and humane animal-handling equipment. 

She was named a fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers in 2.009.

As a partial proponent of neurodiversity, 

Grandin has expressed that she would not support a cure of the entirety of the autistic spectrum.

Personal life

"I think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we've got to do it right. 

We've got to give those animals a decent life and we've got to give them a painless death. 

We owe the animal respect." —Temple Grandin

On May 16, 2.010, Grandin also received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Duke University.

Grandin says, “the part of other people that has emotional relationships is not part of me” and she has neither married nor had children. 

Beyond her work in animal science and welfare and autism rights, her interests include horse riding, science fiction, movies, and biochemistry. 

She describes socializing with others as “boring” and has no interest in reading or watching entertainment about emotional issues or relationships.

She has noted in her autobiographical works that autism affects every aspect of her life.

 She has to wear comfortable clothes to counteract her sensory integration dysfunction and has structured her lifestyle to avoid sensory overload. 

She regularly takes anti-depressants, but no longer uses a squeeze-box (hug machine) that she invented at the age of 18 as a form of stress relief therapy, stating in February 2.010 that: “It broke two years ago, and I never got around to fixing it. I'm into hugging people now.”

In popular culture

Grandin has been featured on major media programs, such as Lisa Davis's It's Your Health, ABC's Primetime Live, the Today Show, and Larry King Live, the NPR show, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and written up in Time magazine, People magazine, Discover magazine, Forbes and The New York Times.

In 2.012, Grandin was interviewed on Thriving Canine Radio to discuss "A Different Perspective on Animal Behavior."

She was the subject of the Horizon documentary “The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow”, first broadcast by the BBC on June 8, 2.006, and Nick News in the spring of 2.006.

She has also been a subject in the series First Person by Errol Morris.

Grandin is the focus of a semi-biographical HBO film, titled Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes as Grandin.

The movie was released in 2.010, was nominated for 15 Emmys, and received five awards, including Outstanding Made for Television Movie and Best Actress in a Drama.

Grandin was on stage as the award was accepted, and spoke briefly to the audience. 

Coincidentally, the 2.010 Emmy Awards happened on Grandin's birthday. 

At the 2.011 Golden Globes, Claire Danes won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.

Grandin was featured in Beautiful Minds: A Voyage Into the Brain, a documentary produced in 2.006 by colourFIELD tell-a-vision, a German company. 

She appeared in a 2.011 documentary on Sci Channel, "Ingenious Minds".

She was named one of 2.010's 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.

Major publications

Emergence: Labeled Autistic (with Margaret Scariano, 1.986, updated 1.991).

The Learning Style of People with Autism: An Autobiography (1.995). 

In Teaching Children with Autism : Strategies to Enhance Communication and Socializaion, Kathleen Ann Quill.

Thinking in Pictures: Other Reports from My Life with Autism (1.996).

Developing Talents: Careers for Individuals with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism (2.004). 

Animals in Translation : Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior (with Catherine Johnson, 2.005).

The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships : Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism (with Sean Barron, 2.005).

The Way I See It: A Personal Look At Autism And Aspergers (2.009).

Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best life for Animals (with Catherine Johnson, 2.009).



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James Henry Pullen

James Henry Pullen (1.835–1.916), also known as the Genius of Earlswood Asylum, was a British autistic savant, possibly suffering from aphasia.

Childhood

Pullen was born in Dalston, London in 1.835, and lived in Peckham, South London. 

Both he and his brother William were regarded as deaf (presumably he was not in fact deaf, mute and were developmentally disabled. 

By the age of 7 Pullen had learned only one word, mother, which he pronounced poorly.

As a child, he began to carve small ships out of firewood and draw pictures of them. Pullen was first confined to Essex Hall, Colchester.

Earlswood

At the age of 15, in 1.850, he was taken to the then new Earlswood Asylum (later called Royal Earlswood Hospital). 

Contemporary account tells that Pullen could not give any answers through speech, but could communicate through gestures. 

He could read lips and gestures but never learned to read or write beyond one syllable. 

Pullen's brother William later followed him to the asylum; a good painter, he died at the age of 35.

Earlswood Asylum tried to teach its patients a number of handicrafts so they could support themselves and the asylum. 

Pullen continued his handicrafts and became a gifted carpenter and cabinet maker. 

He would work at workshop at days and draw at night. 

Most of the drawings were of the corridors of the asylum and he framed them himself. 

If Pullen could not find a suitable tool, he would make it himself. 

In addition he would also make practical items, such as bed frames, for the needs of the asylum.

Pullen was alternatively aggressive or sullen. 

He could be reserved but also wrecked his workshop once in a fit of anger. 

He did not like to accept advice and wanted always to get his own way. 

Once he took a dislike to a certain member of the staff and built a guillotine-like contraption over his door. 

Luckily for the target, it went off too late. 

Once, when Pullen developed an obsession to marry a woman he fancied, the staff mollified him by giving him an admiral's uniform instead.

Notability

Queen Victoria accepted some of the drawings and Prince Albert received one Pullen had drawn of the Siege of Sebastapol in the Crimean War, based on newspaper accounts. 

He even attracted interest of the Prince of Wales, future king Edward VIII; Pullen referred to him as "Friend Wales." 

Prince Edward sent him pieces of ivory so he could carve them. 

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer sent engravings of his paintings to Pullen and his brother Arthur so they could copy them.

Asylum superintendent Dr. John Langdon-Down, the discoverer of Down's syndrome, gave Pullen a great deal of leeway. 

For example, he was allowed to eat his meals with the staff.

Pullen's masterpiece is a model ship, The Great Eastern, that he spent seven years building; Pullen made all the details, including 5,585 rivets, 13 lifeboats and interior furniture in miniature, himself. In its maiden voyage the ship sank for lack of buoyancy but Pullen repaired that flaw later. 

The ship was exhibited in the Crystal Palace.

Pullen also built a large mannequin in the middle of his workshop; he would sit inside it, manipulate its appendages and talk through a concealed bugle in its mouth.

Legacy

After Pullen's death in 1.916, his workshop became a museum of his work until the Royal Earlswood Asylum was closed in 1.997. 

It is now an apartment complex. 

Some of Pullen's ship models, designs and art work can be seen on permanent display at the Belfry Shopping Center, High Street, Redhill.

One of the earliest, and most colorful, savants was James Henry Pullen who came to be known as the Genius of Earlswood Asylum. 

Pullen spent 66 years of his life at Earlswood, near London, from age 15 until his death in 1.916. 

During that time, because of his marvelous mechanical and drawing abilities, he became a bit of a national celebrity and his abilities are extensively documented by a number of observers of that time including Drs. Sequin, Tredgold and Sano. 

Even his majesty King Edward, when Prince of Wales, took a tremendous interest in this remarkable man and sent him tusks of ivory to encourage him in producing beautiful carvings. 

Pullen's story is outlined in considerable detail in a chapter named after him in Extraordinary People. 

Pullen was deaf and nearly mute. 

At age 5 or 6 he was impressed by the small ships that his playmates tried to maneuver on narrow puddles in Dalston, his birthplace, and he became obsessed with making such toys. 

He became skilled in carving ships and reproducing them in penciled drawings. 

Until he was age 7 he spoke only one word, "muvver." 

He later learned some monosyllabic words. He entered Earlswood at age 15 where he was described as "unable to give any intelligible answer, unless he could accompany his broken words by gestures."
At Earlswood, Pullen continued his skills as a carpenter and cabinet maker, becoming a tremendous craftsman. 

He would work constantly in his workshop from morning until night, then, later still in the evening would do drawings in dark, colored chalk. Dr Sequin describes those drawings as "most meritorious; and many of them, framed and glazed by himself, adorn the corridor and other parts of the asylum. 

One was graciously approved and accepted by the Queen, who was kindly pleased to send the artist a present. 

And Mr. Sidney had the honor of showing some of them to the Prince Consort, no common judge of art, who expressed the greatest surprise that one so gifted was still to be kept in the category of idiots, or ever had been one. 

His Royal Highness was particularly astonished, not only by his copies of first rate engravings, but by an imaginary drawing made by him of the Siege of Sebastopol, partly from the illustrated London News and partly from his own ideas." 

Because of his expert craftsmanship, Pullen became a bit of a celebrity at Earlswood. He was given two workshops, and freedom to pursue his talents. For many years those two workshops became museums of his art after his death. 

Royal Earlswood closed in 1.997. 

The museum artifacts mostly went into storage, but some are now on display in showcases in a Shopping Centre in Redhill. 

A Royal Earlswood Museum Committee does still exist, however, and all paper records are held at the Sorrey History Centre in Woking, Surrey. 

Some of the pictures of Pullen's work are posted as part of this story, including his masterpiece, "The Great Eastern."

"The Great Eastern" (see picture at right) was a model ship for which Pullen fashioned every screw, pulley, anchor and paddle from drawings he made beforehand. 

The planks were attached to the ribs by wooden pins that numbered over one million. The model was 10 feet long, and contained 5,585 rivets and had 13 lifeboats hoisted on complete davits. 

State cabins were complete with chairs, bunks, tables and decorations. 

The ship was constructed so that the entire deck could be raised to view the intricate detail below. 

Pullen spent seven years completing this complicated ship, and it attracted worldwide attention when exhibited at the prestigious Fisheries Exhibition in 1.883 in England, where it won the first prize medal.

Dr. Sequin described Pullen, at age 19, as alternately wild and sullen. 

He never learned to read or write. 

The older Pullen was usually quiet and reserved, but there was another side to him as well. 

He was intolerant of advice, suspicious of strangers and, at times, ill tempered and violent. He once wrecked his workshop in a fit of anger, and, another time, erected a guillotine-like instrument over a door, hoping a staff member he particularly disliked might come through. He both impressed and frightened people with a giant mannequin in the center of his workshop, inside of which he would sit, directing movements of its arms and legs and talking through a concealed bugle fitted to its mouth. 

A picture of the mannequin is shown here as well. 

Pullen was remarkably sensitive to vibrations coming through the ground and devised an alarm system in his workshop, based on that sensitivity, that made him aware of any approaching visitor.

Dr. Tredgold sums up Pullen this way: "His powers of observation, comparison, attention, memory, will and pertinacity are extraordinary; and yet he is obviously too childish, and at the same time too emotional, unstable, and lacking in mental balance to make any headway, or even hold his own, in the outside world. 

Without someone to stage-manage him, his remarkable gifts would never suffice to supply him with the necessities of life, or even if they did, he would easily succumb to his utter want for ordinary prudence and foresight and his defect of common sense. 

In spite of his delicacy of manipulation, he has never learned to read or write beyond the simplest words of one syllable. 

He can understand little of what is said to him by lip reading, and more by signs, but, beyond a few words, nearly all that he says in reply is absolutely unintelligible."

The three doctors who knew Pullen best had differing ideas about Pullen's basic disability (they all agreed on his extraordinary abilities). 

Dr. Tredgold concluded that Pullen had a 'secondary mental deficiency' due to sensory deprivation (deafness). Dr. Sequin summed it up this way: "In short, he has seemingly just missed, by defect of some faculties, and the want of equilibrium in those he possesses, being a distinguished genius." 

Dr. Sano concluded that if Pullen has simply been affected by sensory depriviation like Helen Keller, "deprived of sight and hearing, and yet able to acquire every kind of knowledge that enobles human understanding", Pullen should have been able to advance much further, given the attention and notoriety he had experienced because of his tremendous skill as a craftsman. 

Instead, Dr. Sano points out, that "Pullen with both of his eyes wide open to the bright world of London, and his skilled ten fingers under complete sense control… could not absorb, digest or exteriorise the most ordinary sentence of politeness. 

To say, 'I am very much obliged to you' was strange to him in grammatical arrangement as well as in social meaning."

Dr. Sano carried his analysis of the case of Pullen one step further. For him, the case did not end with Pullen's death. 

Writing in the Journal of Medical Science, in 1.918 Sano gives not only his view of Pullen's life, but also provides an exhaustive description of a postmortem examination of Pullen's brain. 

The brain showed only arteriosclerosis, not unusual at Pullen's age. 

There was a slightly larger than normal corpus callosum (the mass of fibers connecting the cerebral hemispheres) and a good preservation of the occipital lobes (the visual center of the brain). 

From this particular prominent connection between the occipital lobes and the cerebral hemispheres, Sano concludes that those pathways were "bound to have special capacity in the visual sphere of mental existence".

A sketch of the inner workings of Pullen's mannequin

(How interesting in view of imaging and other findings elaborated elsewhere on this site about the 'visual thinking' nature of many present-day savants). 

There was some lack of cerebral development which, Dr. Sano felt, was consistent with the mental retardation present. 

But while Dr. Sano did find such evidence to explain the retardation, he went on to say that any further explanation of Pullen's "character" was "not to be found in his convolutions". 

Dr. Sano sums up his puzzlement and awe of Pullen by quoting Carlyle's Hero Worship to capture the magic and mystery of the savant : "Science had done much for us, but it is a poor science that would hide from us the deep sacred infinitude of nescience, whither we can never penetrate, on which all science swims as a mere superficial film. 

The world, after all our science and sciences, is still a miracle-wonderful, inscrutable, magique, and more, whosoever will think of it."

And so was Pullen. Like the other savants before and after him, Pullen was a paradox of ability and disability. 

He captured the interest of kings, doctors and the public. 

He was proud, even boastful, but with good reason given his prodigious ability. 

He capitalized on that ability with tremendous motivation and became the recipient of equally tremendous reinforcement. 

He was original, one of a kind, not soon to be duplicated.

Pullen, and the condition of the savant, remains a remarkable mystery, one we are still unraveling more than a century later.

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Gilles Tréhin

Gilles Tréhin (born 1.972) is a French artist, author, and creator of the imaginary city of "Urville". 

His book, also titled Urville, is based on his writings of the fictional city's history, geography, culture, and economy, and includes over 300 drawings of different districts of Urville, all done by Trehin.

Tréhin is an autistic savant who lives in Cagnes-sur-Mer, near Nice, in southeastern France.

Gilles Trehin has been drawing since age 5, but at age 12 he began designing an imaginary city he named URVILLE, which is described in great detail on this posting, and on his own linked Web site as well. 

The background of the evolution of Gilles's talent in his childhood years is described on this posting as well by Gilles's father, Paul. Gilles has presented his remarkable work at a number of autism conferences and conventions. 

The History of Urville's Creation in my Mind

Since the age of five, drawing has been my passion.

My drawings were mainly airplanes, airports and cities.

The idea of Urville came very progressively. 

When I lived in the United States between 1978 and 1981, I was fascinated by New York city and its skyscrapers. 

At this time, I decided to build skyscrapers in Lego bricks, but I did not have a precise objective then. 

I was not just fascinated by skyscrapers but also by airline aircrafts : the first word I said when I was a child was "Avion" (airplane in French). I like airplanes because it is easier to go to the United States by the air than by sea. I lived five years in the USA with my family, not far from New York City.

It's in 1984 that the idea of an imaginary city became concrete, during one of my vacation journeys back in New York city. After this trip, I lived in London between 1.984 and 1.986. 

During this period, I bought a large number of little die cast aircrafts for which I built an airport model, using Lego bricks. I decided then to build a large city that was going to need such a big airport, still in Lego. I even tried to write a schedule brochure for the flights departing and arriving to the airport. 

But during those two years, I didn't have any definite idea of what this city was going to look like, until I made the first building which symbolises Urville, "Year 2000 Tower."

After leaving London in 1986 and coming back to live in Cagnes sur Mer, near Nice on the French Riviera, I imagined some other buildings : the "Twin Towers," the "Mégalopolis Tower" and the "Olympic Stadium."

I was building the airport very close to the city because it was only possible to use the space of my bedroom. 

Then the city was only taking second place after the airport in my mind, but I was thinking that if there was a large airport, it must be next to a very big city. 

After 1987, there was a big evolution in my conception of the city. 

I realised that I could expand the city in my mind without necessarily building it in Lego bricks, and compensate this by drawing. I started to base the city on the planning of the streets. 

In 1.991, in my conception of the city, I stopped using lego, and had made some drawings.

Until 1.992, I built little by little the city concept starting with the subway map and I started writing the history of the city in a general way.

Starting in 1.993, the drawings of Urville became more frequent, with the first global view of the city. 

It was the first click because with the help of illustrated books on real cities, I discovered new techniques which helped my drawing. 

During this same year, I started to study history because I realised that it was an important element of knowing a city, and history offered me the possibility to learn even more things. 

Introduction to Urville

Urville is a city with 11 820 257 inhabitants (1.999), its the largest city of France and even of Europe for the population.

It is the capital of the administrative region " Insular Provence" which counts 14 275 960 inhabitants. 

The city is divided in 35 sections.

Urville has the highest level of jurisdiction institutions, several Universities, an Archbishop palace as well as many other public service administrative services.

Urville is the economic capital of France. 

It hosts the headquarters of the large enterprises (banks, insurances, nuclear industry, petroleum companies, computer and electronic industry, chemical and pharmaceutical. 

Industrial activity (chemical and pharmaceutical, equipment, textile, agro-alimentary, consumer products…), regardless of its decline since 1.975 still represent 28% of Urville's economic activity.

Urville is also the financial capital of France, It is the largest stock exchange market of the country. 

The media and press sector is very important, Urville hosts the headquarters of more than 400 revues and magazines, 30 national newspapers and more than 100 publishing companies.

Urville is an international cultural capital and it possesses important museums as well as more than 300 theatres. 

A large number of cultural events such as concerts, exhibitions, festivals and international trade shows are organised on a regular basis.

Urville was founded in the 12th Century BC by the Phoenicians under the name of «Qart-Sous-Yam» (Carsucia). 

The name was changed in Urbis (Urville) in the 1st Century BC under the Roman occupation. 

Urville was the 3rd city of the Roman Empire until the 5th century AC. In the 3rd century AC, it had already near 250 000 inhabitants.

During the Middle Age, Urville was successively dominated by the Ostrogoths, the Francs, the House of Arles and the "Angevine Dinasty." 

During this period, after the successive crises of the 5th and 10th century, the city expanded thanks to its flourishing maritime trade in the 12th century and, inspite of the crises of the 14th Century, it became again flourishing during the second half of the 15th century.

In 1.480, Urville gets under the domination of the Kingdom of France.

In 1.789, during the French Revolution, Urville has 2.8 millions inhabitants, but the number of habitations became too limited to host the huge population growth due to the Industrial Revolution. 

In order to cope, the authorities of Urville call upon the famous town-planner Oscar Laballière (1.803/ 1-883) to start gigantic urban projects which are still outlining Urville even today.

As much as the city was spared during the 1st World War, It suffered bombing during the 2nd World War. 

However, the people of Urville paid a high human price : nearly 300 000 people were killed during the 1st World War and more than 200 000 people during the 2nd World War.

After the 2nd World War France knows a huge move of people from the countrysides to the cities. 

With this phenomenon Urville population went from 7.9 millions to 1.6 millions inhabitants, in 1.990, just 40 years later. 

"Urville's Guided Tour"

In the book I have writen, "Urville's Guided Tour," it wasn't possible for the moment to put all the major quarters of Urville because the whole of Urville is still not completely drawn. 

All the drawings, more than 250, come from the 5 main very large general views of the different sectors of the city. 

There is an example of a large view at the beginning of this text. 

Each of the smaller views show details of the streets, squares and various monuments of Urville. 

For each of them I have written a text giving more information about the history of the place.

I hope that the book will be published very soon. 

Background on Gilles' Evolution

Gilles was diagnosed with autism at about age 8 by the team of the Yale Child Study Center by the late Professor Donald Cohen. 

We had had previous imprecise formulations of a diagnosis : "Autistic like behaviour."

His developmental history has been quite exceptional. He started with a typical "kanner autism" and evolved quite positively through childhood and adolescence, then to adulthood, making astonishing progress. 

We discovered through time that Gilles had several talents. 

These really helped him build a rather good self esteem. 

Some even helped him to socialise.

Music : We noticed that Gilles had perfect pitch when he was very young. 

He would come to me begging that I play a music tune, humming it as he had very limited speech. 

When I sat at the piano or took the guitar, he had been humming it exactly in the tone I usually played that piece of music. 

He was becoming angry when music was played on a turntable not rotating at the right speed. 

He learned much later on to play electric bass guitar without having any serious lessons. Limited fine motor skills stopped him from playing the guitar. 

He took on from that knowledge, and here absolutely without lesson, to play the upright bass, playing with me some very sophisticated pieces of jazz or "bossa nova" music with complex harmonies. 

Mental Calculation : At about age 6 he surprised us by answering questions on the multiplication table which we were asking his sister for rehearsal... 

She told us that Gilles knew more, when we asked what she meant, she said "he knows 12th 13th 14th multiplication tables", we tried, (with a calculator) and indeed Gilles could multiply, actually he was only stopped as he didn't know how to express number larger than 1000...

Later on the same year, he discovered all by himself the concept of prime number... He was fascinated by them. 

He could tell immediately if a number was prime, he used to say : "In 4187 there is nothing" "What do you mean, nothing,"  "There is no 2, no 3 no 5, no 7, no 11, no 13". 

Drawing : Coming back in time, at age 5 we discovered that he could draw in 3D, actually going directly from scribbles to 3D. 

Drawing has been ever since his forte, combined with a fabulous imagination. He used it to invent an imaginary city he called Urville and on which he is still working. 

His invention goes far beyond drawings, he has invented names of personalities and events that made the history of Urville. 

He has now lost most of his capabilities with multiplications and prime numbers even though he still feels rather comfortable with numbers.

He is still very good at music, but doesn't play as much as before.

He is now almost completely concentrating upon drawing and writing about Urville.

Current Situation : Gilles lives now in France, near Nice. 

He is fluent in English since we have spent five years in the USA near New York City and two years in England in London. 

Some of the inspiration of Gilles drawings certainly owe to these cities famous monuments but he added to them and created some completely new.

We are trying to help Gilles, who would like so much to make a living out of his art. 

So we are trying to inform as many people as we can about it. 

Gilles likes to travel to new cities. 

He likes to make presentations about his imaginary city. 

He has done so at several autism congress and conferences. 

Quite honestly, his presentation of Urville is a real show, even though he is not aware of it... 

One can just walk through the streets of Urville as if it was real. 

We hope that you will find his work interesting. 

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Jason D. Padgett


Jason Padgett was cashier of a store in Tacoma, Washinngton. But his life changed when he got an extraordinary mathematical ability immediately upon receiving blows to the head during an assault.

One night I was coming out of a karaoke club in Tacoma when he was stopped by a couple of individuals who apparently wanted his jacket.

The attackers knocked him down and kicked repeatedly in the head.

The doctors said he had a concussion, but two days later discovered that Padgett had acquired the ability to draw mathematical diagrams and observe complex numbers geometrically in nature.

Ten years later Padgett says you can not disable this feature to observe cerebral language of mathematics in the outside world.

"I see pieces of the Pythagorean theorem ubiquitously.

Every little curve, every spiral, every tree is part of this equation. "

Berit Brogaard, a neuroscientist at the University of Missouri, Padgett led to Finland where they performed an MRI, which showed that the brains of young had a damaged area and part of his brain was compensating the damage by activating areas that are generally not accessible .

According, Brogaard, Padgett is a "savant" purchased (the "savants" are people, usually autistic, with outstanding cognitive abilities) Here are other 5 cases, of people who possess extraordinary abilities.


Jason D. Padgett is a number theorist with Acquired Savant Syndrome from Anchorage Alaska, currently living in Tacoma Washinton.

The beauty of numbers and their connection to the pure geometry of space time and the universe is shown in his fractal diagrams.

Fractals are shapes that when decomposed into pieces, the pieces are the same or similar to the whole.

His is currently studying how all fractals arise from limits and how E=MC2 is itself a fractal.

When he first started drawing he had no traditional math training and could only draw what he saw as math.


Eventually a physicist saw his drawings and helped him get traditional mathematics training to be able to describe in equations the complex geometry of his drawings.


He is currently a student studying mathematics in Washington state.

His drawing of E=MC^2 is based on the structure of space time at the quantum level and is based on the concept that there is a physical limit to observation which is the Planck length.

It shows how at the smallest level, the structure of space time is a fractal.

He does his own fractal diagrams and can also create new ones by request. 

His price for originals depends on the difficulty of the fractal.

So sit back and enjoy the beauty of naturally occuring mathematics in pure geometric form connecting E=MC2 (energy) to art.

All are HAND DRAWN using only a pencil, ruler and compass.

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Jonathan Lerman

Jonathan Lerman (born 1.987) is an American autistic savant outsider artist. 

He was born in Queens, NY, and currently resides in the Upstate New York suburb of Vestal.

Jonathan Lerman began to lapse into long silences at the age of two, and the next year he was diagnosed with autism. 

His IQ is purported to be 53.

Lerman's artistic bent appeared at the age of 10 in the form of charcoal drawn faces both people he knows and those he imagines. 

In 1.999 he had his own solo exhibition at the KS Art gallery in New York City.

Lerman has had personal exhibitions, and has also exhibited his work alongside others.

Lerman was also on the MTV television show True Life in the episode "True Life: I Have Autism".

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Derek Amato

Sudden musical genius

Derek's story in his own words

Although my discovery at the age of 40 would have nothing to do with autistic relevance, I found myself to be among some of these very special people I define as gifted! 

On October 27, 2.006 I had gotten together with some friends for a pool party. 

What took place that afternoon would change my life forever. 

As I dove into the swimming pool, I remember coming up out of the water complaining that my ears were bleeding. 

As I looked to my friends for explanation of what had happened, I recall their lips moving but without sound. 

As I touched my ears to check for bleeding, I realized there was no blood, and I couldn't hear anything at all. 

At that moment, I remember collapsing, and to this day cannot recall anything else from my accident. 

I had struck the bottom of the swimming pool and I was immediately taken to the hospital for a head trauma. 

I was medically diagnosed with a serious concussion, and shortly after would discover a 35% loss of hearing and memory loss that still affects me to this day. 

As I began to recover, I finally began to realize what had taken place. 

Although I cannot to this day remember several events from that particular time frame in my life, I did in fact recover reasonably fast as to the physical aspects from my injury. 

As I went to say my goodbye's to friends and family, for some reason I sat down at a piano, and from that day on, my musical abilities would continue to fascinate me, my family, and my friends as to what had transpired into something absolutely amazing! 

As I shut my eyes, I found these black and white structures moving from left to right, which in fact would represent in my mind, a fluid and continuous stream of musical notation. 

My fingers began to scale the piano keys as if I had played all of my life. 

I can't explain the feeling of awe that overcame my entire being, although I can tell you the expression on my friends face was enough to put us both in tears. 

I could not only play and compose, but I would later discover that I could recall a prior played piece of music as if it had been etched in my minds eye. 

Four days after my accident I had discovered this amazing experience. I asked my mother to visit the music store with me. 

I simply told her that I just wanted to show her something. 

We found the nearest piano as I asked her to sit next to me. I remember asking her if she was ready. 

I shut my eyes and hoped that I would again see these black and white structures moving left to right. 

I began to play as if I was exploring some unfound treasure that had been locked up all this time in my head. 

My mother sat and cried, and then asked me, "what are you doing." My response was simple, "I guess God decided to give me my birthday present a bit early this year mom.

" My life at that very moment changed as I knew something very special had taken place. I have since left my corporate job and continue my personal quest to share this most miraculous testimony with the world, as I do believe in miracles! 

As spoken by friend, Gerry Gomez :

We commonly refer to Derek as "Rainman Beethoven." I have been fortunate to work along side Derek since his musical discovery. 

I have seen many amazing things take place throughout my life, but this particular situation has left me speechless. Immediately following his musical discovery, I began to research documented cases in regard to the study of savant syndrome. 

We spent countless hours watching videos and reading information as to people who have this gift of savant syndrome, most of which were autistically related. 

To date we have not found another medically documented case where immediate or sudden musical savant syndrome had been acquired from a brain injury. 

Shortly after Derek's musical discovery, he was invited out to Los Angeles to display his musical abilities. 

We received a phone call just one week after his trip asking to provide a instrumental arrangement for a film agency in Japan. 

Derek's musical work was selected as best in instrumental genre and shortly following, Derek would be selected as the 2.007 Independent Artist of the Year by the Association of Independent Artists. 

We have displayed Derek's musical work with all media facets throughout the country in hopes to share this amazing experience with as many people possible.

Today, Derek is currently preparing for the release of his new album and will continue his efforts to speak and perform sharing this musical testimony of a lifetime. 

Derek's music is being played in most countries throughout the world and he will continue to be active with charity events that support (TBI) traumatic brain injuries. 




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Alonzo Clemons

Alonzo Clemons is an American animal sculptor and a savant. 

He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Clemons suffered a severe brain injury as a child that left him developmentally disabled (with an IQ in the 40-50 range), but able to create very accurate animal sculptures out of clay. 

Clemons can create a sculpture of almost any animal, even if he has seen only a glimpse of it.

He is also able to create a realistic and anatomically accurate three-dimensional rendering of an animal after only looking at a two-dimensional image for mere moments.

He is most well known for his life-size renderings of a horse, but most of his works are smaller, and accomplished in less than an hour.

In 1.986 he had a premiere exhibit in Aspen, Colorado. 

His works have sold for as much as $45,000.




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Mark Boerebach

Mark Boerebach is a savant, able to recall Australian music chart top hits from the 1.970s and 1.980s.

Personal life

Boerebach was born blind and diagnosed with Asperger syndrome as a child.

Prior to entering school, he underwent a series of operations which restored 20% of his eyesight, although he is blind in one eye.

His condition made it difficult for him to socialize at school, but despite the difficulties he encountered, Boerebach has completed five TAFE music business courses. 

He lives in Sydney, Australia.

Career

Boerebach founded an internet radio station called 2PR FM based in Sydney which plays continuous 1.970s and 1.980s pop music.

He has been described as having the ability to instantaneously list all the songs on a particular chart from any given week in the 1.980s and is able to recall roughly 15 years of Australian music chart top hits, an ability that has been reported as one result of his Asperger syndrome.

One of Boerebach's teachers at TAFE, Russell Kilby, contacted him after reading about him in local papers, and encouraged him to try out for the RocKwiz television show.

Fellow students helped raise funds for the trip to Melbourne to try out for the show, and after passing the public eliminations at St Kilda's Espy, and meeting with Glenn Baker, the three-time winner of the BBC's Rock Brain of the Universe, he appeared on the television game-show "RocKwiz".

A documentary of his preparations for and appearance on the game show was aired under the name Rainman goes to RocKwiz and was shown at the Anchorage International Film Festival in 2.010.

In 2.011, the documentary won an Aloha Accolade at the Hololulu Films Awards.

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