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2018 Archive

Update: August 17, 2018

State grant will make Treffert charter school possible

The North Fond du Lac School District and Agnesian HealthCare’s Treffert Center have received a $700,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to introduce the Treffert Way School for the Exceptional Mind charter school in fall 2019. Click here to read the full story.

Update: August 6, 2018

Brain Gain: A Person Can Instantly Blossom into a Savant—and No One Knows Why

First there is the congenital savant, whose extraordinary abilities emerge in childhood. Then, there is the acquired savant whose amazing abilities surface following brain injury or disease. Now, there is the sudden savant in ordinary persons who have an abrupt onset of astonishing savant skills following an ‘epiphany’ of insight and abilities in areas of no former interest or training. Technically, a more accurate term would be “sudden genius” since these persons are not on the spectrum and there is no underlying disability. Such a phenomenon reinforces the idea of latent abilities within us all. Tapping those non-intrusively is the challenge. Click here to read more.

Update: July 27, 2018

Chinese edition of Islands of Genius book

Doctor Treffert’s most recent book on savant syndrome—Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired and Sudden Savant—is available now in simplified Chinese. It can be purchased from the two largest online bookstores in China, Dangdang and Jingdong. The book also is available in an Arabic edition.

Update: July 9, 2018

Moving the Goal Posts for Autism

A question continually being asked is whether or not the prevalence of autism is increasing; is it an ‘epidemic’? Dr. Treffert addresses that question in a May 24, 2018 Scientific American guest blog titled: “We need to stop moving the goal posts for autism.” Click here to read the blog post.

Update: April 27, 2018

A Case of Acquired Art Abilities in an Already Accomplished Musician

Hiroki Morimoto is a well known and celebrated musician in Japan. He goes by the name of Goma and has developed a large concert following for his band and his expertise on the didgeridoo. After an automobile accident Goma suddenly developed prodigious pointillism (dot art) ability with a large following now as an artist. He recently visited the Treffert Center as part of the filming of the documentary Reborn, which tells his remarkable story.

Update: March 29, 2018

The Treffert Center and the Miracle Named Justice

This video features a boy named Justice, who was diagnosed with hyperlexia and Einstein Syndrome (late speaking). With the assistance of experts at the Treffert Center, Justice is making amazing progress through a strength-based educational curriculum and multi-disciplinary treatment approach. Click here to view the video of Justice’s remarkable story.

Update: March 2, 2018

Autism, Hyperlexia and Einstein Syndrome: A Closer Look

The Treffert Center in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin will be hosting a one-day conference on children who read early or speak late. These conditions are often confused with autistic disorders. The conference will focus on careful differential diagnosis and best practice choice of intervention and education strategies—both in treatment settings and the home. For persons not able to be at the conference, it will be available on video after the conference concludes. In many ways this conference stems from the wide visibility given a WMJ article on this topic in December of 2011, which can be seen here.

Update: Feb. 23, 2018

Acquired savant syndrome gets more visibility

A recent Reader’s Digest article—How Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Unleash Extraordinary Hidden Talents—provides more visibility for acquired savant syndrome and some of the science behind it. While reports are still quite rare, the Treffert Center is analyzing about 75 such cases and will be providing summary documents soon. Click here to read the article.

Update: Feb. 20, 2018

A conference on autism, hyperlexia and Einstein Syndrome

Children who read early or speak late are often given a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While some such children do exhibit early reading or late-speaking as a part of the autism disorder, others have “autistic traits” that disappear over time—shedding “ASD” which they never really had. The first step in treatment is to make an accurate diagnosis and the March 26 conference Autism, Hyperlexia & Einstein Syndrome—A Closer Look provides guidelines for careful differential diagnosis of children presenting with these symptoms, and outlines methods for useful intervention at home or in the classroom. Click here for more information.

Update: Feb. 16, 2018

Artwork by individuals on the autism spectrum

Doctor Rosa Martinez, president of Strokes of Genius, Inc. has put together an extraordinary exhibit of artwork by 25 individuals on the autism spectrum—World Autism Ability Awareness: “Don’t ‘dis’ the Ability”: Artworks by Individuals on the Autism Spectrum. It includes a range of ages from adolescent emerging artists to highly renowned international adult artists—prodigies, savants and prodigious savants. The exhibit will run in New York City from February 11 to March 18, 2018. Click here to learn more.

Update: Jan. 31, 2018

The boy without a brain: A lesson in brain plasticity

Noah was born with less than two percent of brain tissue and was not expected to survive. His mother was shopping for baby coffins. But even having been born with hydrocephalas and spina bifida, he did manage to survive. In an Extraordinary People documentary about Noah, a CT scan shows him starting out his life with barely any cortex. Now, at age four, Noah has not only survived, but has thrived, astounding both doctors and his family. Today, he is a fully verbal and happy boy. His CT scan shows an almost 80 percent growth of new brain tissue. This is an extraordinary example of brain plasticity. Click here to watch the video.