More often than not, the most startling capabilities of the human brain are exposed precisely when anatomical, or physiological, deficiencies take place. Take, for instance, savants - people who have mental abilities that could only be characterized as superhuman but otherwise severely disabled in daily cognitive functions and social interaction. At first sight Michael (Mikey), seems like an average seven year old boy; he’s slim, of short stature, with big almond-shaped green eyes. Mikey rarely speaks, and the atypical occasions, in which he does, it is to hum the sound of a nearby bird. Yet Mikey is everything but average; in fact he’s an extraordinary boy. Being only seven Mikey plays the piano, the organ, the violin, and the cello. His prodigious memory is palpable by the Vivaldi, Mozart, and Beethoven precise replicas played out of memory, as well as his exceptional ability to recall all capitals of the world. He likes order, prefers solitude, and is intrigued by musical symbols. He feels music, smells colors, and sees sounds, a rare neurological phenomenon known as Synesthesia1. Neuropsychologist Dr. J. Shea Ph.D MD, at Mount Sinai Medical Center, in 2004, diagnosed Mikey,—four at the time— as an Autistic Savant, changing the complete course of his life, that of his mother, and bringing to Florida its first prodigy. To understand Mikey’s condition as an Autistic Savant, the pathophysiology, symptomology, theories, and treatment of both Autism and Savantism must be discussed. In addition, the differences between Savantism,—a syndrome—and Autism—a neurodevelopmental disorder—will be thoroughly examined as both a psychological, and a neurological deficit; and moreover, the standards, statistics, and theories of intelligence wil...
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...y, I could only hope he never stops gracing the keys of a piano.
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