Catching Up with Rex

60 MinutesAt the beginning of the following video, Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes asks how is it that “stunning ability and profound disability can coexist in the same person?” Her question certainly sparked my curiosity. However, it was one of her next statements that convinced me the story was perfect for this blog. According to Stahl, Rex Lewis-Clack was born with brain damage so severe that “Cathleen [mother of Rex] was told [Rex] would never walk, talk, or do much of anything.” As the following video reveals, Rex can walk, talk, and do a lot more — in spite of his blindness and mental disabilities, Rex is a musical genius.

One thing I learned by watching the following video is that conventional wisdom is not always right. Some researchers do not understand brain injury, autism, savant syndrome, or the powers of optimism, love, devotion, and determination. At one time, researchers believed savants could only parrot what they heard or saw. As demonstrated in the posts I wrote (Total Recall: The Living Camera, 60 Minutes Follows Derek, and People with Amazing Talent), savants can and do exhibit extraordinary creativity.

The following video is supposed to be a promotion for the book titled “Rex” which was written by Cathleen Lewis, but I see the video as a continuation of the previous video — a display of the amazing talent of a blind, autistic, cognitively impaired boy whose name is Rex Lewis-Clack.


  1. What could practice do for you?
  2. What are the benefits of a positive attitude?
  3. How do the words of others affect your attitude and accomplishments?
  4. How do the actions of others affect your actions?

Thanks to Rex Lewis-Clack,  Cathleen Lewis, Angela Rasmussen, Sarah Banta, David PintoCBS News, 60 Minutes, Lesley Stahl, The Early Show, Harry Smith, Wikipedia, YouTube, and all the other people who made it possible for me to use the picture and video I included in this post.


  1. I’ve needed the encouragement and guidance of others to believe in myself. Positive people who modeled successful behavior willing to assist me, empower me with knowledge, tools and strategies.Their kindness and unfettered optimism helped me build much needed confidence.The role of mentor is an invaluable gift in ones life.

    There are researchers who believe it was necessary for the “Savants gifts” to be recognized and nurtured by a parent or mentor over time with much repetition, encouragement and praise, to be able to accomplish the levels of expertise they attained.

    1. Esther, we could all benefit from the support of others, whether or not we have a significant adversity. There is a reason why people hang out in groups, clubs, etc. Most people thrive in an environment in which they can share with others. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.

      I believe, as you mentioned, that event savant skills must be nurtured. If the skill isn’t nurtured, and the savant isn’t encouraged, the skill may remain partially or completely hidden. Perhaps, we don’t have savant skills because our skills were never noticed or nurtured.

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