Seniors as Calendar Stars

Senior citizens in Germany posed for a .pdf calendar inspired by classic movies. Contilia Gruppe contacted seniors in their facilities for volunteers and created the calendar, called Klassiker 2014, as a gift for the residents, their families and staff. The results were magnificent:

Senior Poses as 007

Contilia Gruppe, Germany: Klassiker 2014.

Senior Poses as Breakfast at Tiffanys Star

Contilia Gruppe, Germany: Klassiker 2014.

Photos via Laughing Squid.

Fabulous! Because you don’t just stop thinking, dreaming, laughing or existing when you get older.

Intense World Theory and Autism

Wondrously intriguing look at autism through neuroscience in an article by Maia Szalavitz in Matter. According to researchers Henry and Kamila Markram, who developed the so-called intense world theory:

“The behavior that results is not due to cognitive deficits—the prevailing view in autism research circles today—but the opposite, they say. Rather than being oblivious, autistic people take in too much and learn too fast. While they may appear bereft of emotion, the Markrams insist they are actually overwhelmed not only by their own emotions, but by the emotions of others.

“Consequently, the brain architecture of autism is not just defined by its weaknesses, but also by its inherent strengths. The developmental disorder now believed to affect around 1 percent of the population is not characterized by lack of empathy, the Markrams claim. Social difficulties and odd behavior result from trying to cope with a world that’s just too much.”

The Markrams also theorize potential solutions, starting at a very young age:

“If autistic babies tune out when overwhelmed, their social and language difficulties may arise not from damaged brain regions, but because critical data is drowned out by noise or missed due to attempts to escape at a time when the brain actually needs this input.

“The intense world could also account for the tragic similarities between autistic children and abused and neglected infants. Severely maltreated children often rock, avoid eye contact, and have social problems—just like autistic children. These parallels led to decades of blaming the parents of autistic children, including the infamous ‘refrigerator mother.’ But if those behaviors are coping mechanisms, autistic people might engage in them not because of maltreatment, but because ordinary experience is overwhelming or even traumatic.

“The Markrams teased out further implications: Social problems may not be a defining or even fixed feature of autism. Early intervention to reduce or moderate the intensity of an autistic child’s environment might allow their talents to be protected while their autism-related disabilities are mitigated or, possibly, avoided.”

The human brain is so fascinating!