Is autism a form of genius

Savant syndrome

Savant syndrome: description

Often people show with intellectual disabilities or one profound developmental disorder, to them all forms of autism include outstanding skills in a small, specialized sub-area. The term "Island talent“Describes perhaps even better what exactly this phenomenon is. Because of their illness, those affected often have a reduced intelligence. Autistic or mentally retarded people are overwhelmed and dependent on help in most areas of life.

But in a very specific area, an island, they have extraordinary abilities. The Savants often dedicate themselves with all their dedication and time to just this one, extremely special area of ​​interest. If the intelligence quotient of many savants is below the value of 70, i.e. well below the average, it can be above average in their area. But savant syndrome does not necessarily have to be linked to a below-average IQ. Talented people with normal or above-average IQ are also known.

A distinction is made between a talented and astonishing talent:

  • The talented islanders have a skill in a sub-area that corresponds to the average. In view of her disability, however, it is a special skill.
  • The amazingly gifted savants stand out from the crowd with their above-average, extraordinary talent in a detailed sub-area.

Often times, these talents are so amazing that they attract public interest. Many savants are recognized painters or musicians. Some have an outstanding photographic memory and can trace pictures from their memory in great detail. There are exceptional musicians who master one or more musical instruments perfectly and can replay thousands of pieces from memory - without ever having taken music lessons. Some people with Savant Syndrome amaze with their playful use of numbers, some are unique arithmetic talent. For example, the “calendar calculator” can name the exact day of the week for each date. In many cases there is an impressive memory behind these talents. Some of the island's talented people therefore also have the nickname "living lexicon".

Common Talents in Savant Syndrome:

  • Photographic memory
  • Perfect hearing
  • Exceptional long-term memory
  • Math talent
  • Fast language learning
  • Musical talent

Savant Syndrome: Facts

The cause of these island talents is still in the dark.

  • Often have autistic people the savant syndrome. About half of all known islanders suffer from autism.
  • Most of the time, autism is that Asperger syndrome.
  • Savants are mostly men - of eight islanders, seven are male.

Scientists try to solve the mystery of the savants. The extraordinary memory performance of many people with Savant Syndrome is particularly interesting. The question of the strategies for this enormous memory and how it can come about is still unanswered. Many theories have been developed in recent years to explain the phenomenon. An excess of the male sex hormone testosterone in the amniotic fluid is said to accelerate brain growth and thus cause brain changes that occur more frequently in autism. Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish unimportant information from important information, so that some of these people can obviously fall back on all "data". It is also questionable whether the arithmetic geniuses who are gifted on the island can really calculate, or whether they repeatedly combine them from a large number of patterns that have already been carried out. The fact that savants always make the same mistakes supports this theory.

In any case, one thing is certain: these interesting, extraordinary people will continue to cause amazement!