Monday, April 18, 2005

Einstein, The Golden Mean and Owen

Another diversion. I can tell its about time to start grading again...I am getting more and more distracted.

And Robin, I'd gladly take your exams. I am not all that sure you want my performance recorded on your official transcript, however.

Kim...thanks for visiting my 'Scholarly" was getting pretty echoey in there!

Side note: Ever hear of a ganglion cyst? I have one on my wrist. It acts up during marking season every year - since it comes from repetative strain from using the computer. Yup. Grading has workplace hazards. I wonder if I'll be able to squeeze workmans comp out of it? Well duh! Of course not...I don't even get health benefits for educating our future's intellectuals.

So, it seems that I am in Anniversary mode. last week was Terry Fox. I needed to do that...his story plays heavily into my Canadianness and weaves in some father/daugher sentimentality as well. I get terribly nostalgic about my father.

But not this week. Today Marks the 50th anniversary of Albert Einstein's death, and nears the 100th Anniversary of his Relativity Theory. I have a special fondness for Al. I mean, he must have been impossible to live with. Look at the hair. There were definately creatures contemplating quantum mechanics up there too. And who can forget that classic picture of him sticking his tongue out at the camera? What ever happened to nutty professors anyway? Suddenly the world seems way too serious these days.

Why Einstein. Well, he was a beacon of encouragement for me a couple of years ago. So, I am taking time out of my busy marking schedule to officially pay homage to Time Magazine's person of the say "Thanks, Man".

When my 7 year old son Owen was 3, he was diagnosed with Austistic Spectrum Disorder. More specifically, he was labelled as having PDD-NOS - Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. I spent a good majority of the following years researching this diagnosis, and a good amount of time, frustration and stress attempting to have this diagnosis removed. This is a huge narrative. Someday I'll find the time to get it all into writing. But for the time being, I am going to use grading as my excuse and provide you with the Readers Digest version for the time being. In a nutshell, PDD-NOS means "this case does not fit neatly in the criteria for autism or Aspergers in the DSM-IV". Owen just happened to be so liminal that it really depended on the way you looked at him. I worked very hard to get people not to look through the label. Why was he given this diagnosis? He was a late -talker, and all kinds of behavioural issues stemming from his lack of expressive and receptive language. He also had some queer kinds of habits. Spinning things. Fascination with 90 degree angles, and constructing things that were 90 angles and he could spin. I later came to appreciate that he was unknowingly fascinated with the Golden Mean. This sort of thing was easily dismissed as a classic symptom called "persevatating". I was keen on letting him study this abstract concepts quickly before he mucked his brain with language. Imagine being able to visualize and conceptualize geometry without needing to interpret it through language? Fascinating stuff to this geek mom.

But none of the psychologists would see it my way.

(to be to do some grading)

1 comment:

Robin said...

Hm, I thought the obsession with passing out ritalin with juice at recess was mostly an American thing.