Tag Archives: Autistic Savant

Question?: Autistic Savant

Sharon asks…

Can someone be an autistic savant with mental retardation?

Please answer only if you are pretty sure that you know the answer.

admin answers:

One of the hallmark features of Autism is what is called “scattered skills” meaning good in some areas, less in others and perhaps a specific area of high skill. When you are talking about diminished cognitive skill – yes there is a % of the population of Autism that will have some to extreme cognitive deficit – so by that information – yes someone can be a savant and be cognitively impaired.

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Question?: Autistic Savant

Robert asks…

How are autistic people portrayed/stereotyped in the UK media?

I’m doing a college presentation on the way autistic people (young or old) are depicted in the British media.

admin answers:

We are rarely shown, generally stereotyped.

I was diagnosed w aspergers syndrome, AS, 2 yrs ago. Since then ive seen 1 bbc 3 documentary abt young people w AS., cant remember the title, srry.The second gen of skins had JJ, who was diagnosed AS in the series. Louis theroux did something this year on parents of autistic children. Also something about savants, tho that mayve been before i was diagnosed.
Thats it.

Its either- UNUSUAL FREAKS!! Gasp at their amazing maths skills! Or tragic children who cant even say ‘mummy’, or adults in care (abuse in care homes etc). The middle ground; most of us, in fact, is rarely, if ever, explored.
Cure for autism’ type articles appear in the press, but there’s still no cure, so that’s rot.

Obviously having it, i notice its media presence, or absence.

Do consider eg, (gosh, i sound so daily mail, but its true)- why eg the bbc, which makes an admittedly highly fictionalised version of the arthurian legend, Arthur, casts black actors as extras (non speaking) bt has no disabled ones (not that many black ppl in the uk then, certainly not in the south west, certainly not in court or army). Bt there would have been people w visible disabilities- lost eye, limb etc, as medical care was so iffy; where are they? Most of the black actors are extras, so not cast for their acting skill, but rather to be PC. Fine, bt this is racist (done for racial reasons); inclusivity is not extended to women (itd make more visual sense to have women in the army), gay or disabled people.
There are no disabled people on tv- but the bbc in particular is overly PC about black inclusion. Im not being racist- but- disabled? Or gay?? Nowhere. I was pleased to see the directors cast a disabled girl to play a disabled girl in that inbetweeners ep where they smack someone w a frisbee. Thats it. Ugh i do sound horribly like the daily mail- but really. Disability is never seen. So discrimination.

Autism is admittedly a fairly invisible condition, but few VISIBLY disabled people are seen at all on tv, anyway.
Autism doesnt figure; so your question about portrayal would be better rephrased as ‘why never shown?’ thn ‘how shown?’
tho i tire of the ‘eccentric scientific genius’ stereotype, sheldon cooper in the bbt is actually pretty good. Im a girl w AS, + therefore able to hide my AS-ness more (the female presentation is slightly different; women are more attuned to learning social skills than men, anyway) bt his behaviour is certainly stuff i recognise- tho if you met me, you wouldnt suspect til you knew me a while. Flick through a tony atwood book to get an idea on this- hes an amazing authority on aspergers.
We say its like being a spy, as we have to cover our ‘real’ selves, learn the social rules of your world, + ‘act’ a part, conceal our inner sheldon.

Most of what one reads in the media about any type of autism is concerned w children, as though its some Logan’s Run condition, + we all die off at 18, or 20. Obviously, as its life long, there are more over 18 than under, bt thats not what youd deduce from the media. Suicide rates are sky high for autism- it is a hideous condition for many.
For people with AS, we are typically above average intelligence, to off the scale IQs. Newton, da vinci, Einstein, steve jobs, bill gates clearly have/had it; again the eccentric scientist model. But there are just as many muscians, artists, actors and designers w it (one attempt at sub catagorisation of types within AS called one ‘the morrissey type’, ha ha). Its often less apparent in the arts type (me) than the science type (eg, my uncle) but does NOT mean *our* presentation is any less invidious.

This may sound like pointless whining or hair splitting bt thanks to eg bbc’s ‘saints and sinners’ there has been an exponential rise in attacks on the disabled recently. Only ever hearing abt the happy autism stories, or mis-perceiving disability as being visible, usually with a wheelchair etc, means that people with ASDs get told ‘you dont look like you have autism’. If someone cant ‘see’ a wheelchair, they think a disabled person is ‘a scrounger’; a fake.

Contry to what you will read, there ARE physical characterises of autism. Looking much younger than actual age, poor eye sight, a certain type of forehead, poor digestion, inflammatory conditions, hypermobile joints, allergies etc etc. Post a Q anyway, on wrongplanet.net, the most widely used autism forum, bt visit too, astheres an in-site search option so you ca find anything you want.
This is a nother, and uk only, forum~ http://www.asd-forum.org.uk

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Question?: Autistic Savant

Maria asks…

Any autistic savants in Yahoo land ?

I posted this in mental health, and now am posting it here, to get broader coverage. Are any of you considered to be an autistic savant? I am most interested in anyone’s experiences, either someone who is a savant, or someone who knows one. I love to read about how their mind works. I just read a great book by an autistic savant, “Born On a Blue Day”……..have any of you read this ? Anything of interest to share with me ?
Thanks !

admin answers:

Savants are acutaly really rare. However, they’re probably savants out there that do not have an offical diagnosis of savant syndrome. I myself am on the autistic spectrum and have the ability to rember random tidbits of facts and information that most people would not rember (much to the displeasure of my family) are able to recit them later. I am not a savant but I do have that unique gift. I have you done research on Kim Peek he is the biggest example of an autistic mega savant. Daniel Tamment was recently diagnosed with AS so he is on the spectrum himself he is a savant when it comes to numbers.

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Question?: Autistic Savant

Helen asks…

What classifies someone as an autistic savant?

Is it its own syndrome in the DSM-IV-TR?

I understand to be a savant you have to have a great ability in a specific area, but is there…a list or something? Of criterion:?

admin answers:

An autistic savant is a person with both autism and savant syndrome. Savant syndrome is usually recognized during childhood and is found in children with autism and other developmental difficulties. However, it can also be acquired in an accident or illness, typically one that injures or impairs the left side of the brain.

Most autistic savants have very extensive mental abilities, called splinter skills.
– They can recall facts, numbers, license plates, maps, and extensive lists of sports and weather statistics after only being exposed to them once.
– Some savants can mentally note and then recall perfectly a very long sequence of music, numbers, or speech
– Some, dubbed mental calculators, can do exceptionally fast arithmetic, including prime factorization
– Other skills include precisely estimating distances and angles by sight, calculating the day of the week for any given date over the span of tens of thousands of years, and being able to accurately gauge the passing of time without a clock

Most autistic savants have a single special skill, while others have multiple skills. Usually these skills are concrete, non-symbolic, right hemisphere skills, rather than left hemisphere skills, which tend to be more sequential, logical, and symbolic

Savantism is not described in the DSM, but some Autistic disorder criteria mentioned include:
– impairment in social interaction (no eye contact, lack of pointing out objects of interest, failure to develope peer relations, etc.)
– impairment in communication (delay or lack of spoken language, inability to sustain conversation, repetitive language, lack of varied or make-believe play, etc.)
– restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior (strict adherence to rituals and schedules, preoccupation with one or more pattern of interest, repetitive movements, preoccupation with parts of objects, etc.)

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Question?: Autistic Savant

John asks…

how can i have or like develop a photographic memory?

i now that it’s impossible for me to have a fully developed photographic memory because i read something that the ones who have 100% it are actually born with it.you know special children,maybe autistic savants..but i think it would really help me on studying. or anything.

admin answers:

Some people attribute exceptional powers of memory to enhanced memory techniques as opposed to any kind of innate difference in the brain. However, support for the belief that eidetic memory is a real phenomenon has been supplied by some studies. Charles Stromeyer studied his future wife Elizabeth who could recall poetry written in a foreign language that she did not understand years after she had first seen the poem. She also could recall random dot patterns with such fidelity as to combine two patterns into a stereoscopic image.[7] She remains the only person to have passed such a test. However, the credibility of the findings about Elizabeth are highly questionable seeing as the researcher married his subject, and the tests have never been repeated. Elizabeth refuses to repeat them.[8] There are more complex figures in Foundations of Cyclopean Perception, a book on such patterns by Bela Julesz.[9]

A.R. Luria wrote a famous account, Mind of a Mnemonist, of a subject with a remarkable memory, S.V. Shereshevskii; among various extraordinary feats, he could memorize lengthy lists of random words and recall them perfectly decades later. Luria believed the man had effectively unlimited recall; Shereshevskii is believed by some to be a prodigious savant like Peek. He used memorisation techniques where he “arranged” objects along a specific stretch of Gorky Road and went back and “picked” them up one by one. He missed an egg once because he claims he placed it by a white picket fence and did not see it when he went back for it. This is an example of a trained memory rather than a eidetic or photographic memory.

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Question?: Autistic Savant

Nancy asks…

I need help on to find a documentary i watched like half month ago?

I’m not quite sure if the channel was nat geo or discovery, but my guess is nat geo. The documentary was about autistic savants. It includes people who are born as savant and people who become savant after some accidents. It also includes a research that increases a normal persons drawing etc ability. I really need this documentary. Please give the name of documentary. If it’s possible tell me how to accuire it.

admin answers:

Can write either to nat geo or discovery and pay a premium to get it.

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Question?: Autistic Savant

Chris asks…

I have to do a summer reading project over the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime any ideas?

I have to do a summer reading project over this book but I can’t think of what to do it can’t be just a report or poster board any ideas for those of you who’ve read the book? It’s about an autistic savant.

admin answers:

You can read Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant by Daniel Tammet

Daniel Tammet is very similar (except for sexual preference)to main character of the novel so maybe you can do how the character is like 10-15 years from when the story ends…

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Question?: Autistic Savant

Carol asks…

Do you think Michael Jackson may have been an autistic genius savant or at least have signs or it?

He was a musical and creative genius with a strange disability to relate to adults. Some professionals have come forward with that possibility, that Michael had the traits of an autistic genius savant. It could explain everything, his inability to relate to adults especially. Do you think there might be some truth to that?

admin answers:

Well, he was definitely a genius, but I don’t know about an autistic savant. Autistics have a hard time relating with others and socializing with others. But you are half right, he was a genius. He was a musical genius. However, you are right, he had a better time relating to children than adults. But you never know, he could have been, slightly. Anything is possible and we will never know for sure. Interesting thought though, I’ll be sure to research it more.

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Question?: Autistic Definition

Ruth asks…

What is the term for a mentally retarded person, but is extremely gifted in one specific area?

I saw a true-story movie on a man not to long ago, who I want to say attended Harvard. He was by definition mentally retarded in all aspects of his life, but was a genius in the field of computer software where he was the highest in his class.

admin answers:

Autistic Savant

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Question?: Autistic Savant

Jenny asks…

Are autistic savants examples of the human brain working at a higher capacity?

Ok, when an autistic savant uses his or her amazing mental ability, is this a sneak preview of how the brain would be if we could use it at a higher capacity?

admin answers:

I believe that this is an insight to the possibilities of the mind and the brain when it is not overcrowded with other thoughts that 99% worry about on a day to day basis. Whene the brain is freed up to take in & absorb new information we often clutter it up like the M25 with other rubbish . When the brain is truly given the freedom to think at a much more deeper level I believe we have the ability to go beyond our own understanding. Savants don’t have the intrusions of daily living & relationships to get in the way of their ability and thoughts !

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