Savant Syndrome is a rare but often extraordinary disorder in which an individual with a severe mental impairment or autism, have a spectacular talent or cognitive ability that others may consider genius. More recently, many have begun to classify Savant Syndrome as “Islands of Genius.” However, contrary to popular belief, not all savants are autistic. Many savants are developmentally disabled, or have some sort of central nervous system disorder. According to the Autism Research Institute,
“Historically, individuals with these exceptional skills were called 'idiot savants, ' a French term meaning unlearned (idiot) skill (savant). In a 1978 article in Psychology Today, Dr. Bernard Rimland introduced a more appropriate term 'autistic savant, ' which is the current label (Edelson, 2016).”
Skills exhibited by savants are more often a single skill. However, many savants have exhibited multiple skills. No matter what the skill is, it is usually associated with massive memory of some type. In some individuals, the special skill is mass memory. The most common savant skills include; memorization, calendar calculating, musical abilities, artistic abilities, and language abilities. About 10% of those diagnosed with autistic disorders have savant abilities, and in the non-autistic population, including those with mental retardation or developmental disabilities, the prevalence is less than 1% (Vered, 2016).
According to Darold Treffert a researcher, there is no single theory that has been found that gives explanation about the Savant syndrome, though there is one theory that states that “it is the compensation of the right human brain and left human brain injury.” Treffert believes that this medical condition often be...
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...popular 1980’s movie Rain Man starring Dustin Hoffman portrays. Unfortunately, this movie misguided a lot of people to believe that savants all had autism, which is clearly not the case. Peek had an exceptional memory and was able to read two pages of a book at a time, reading one page with his left eye, and the other with his right. He had a vast encyclopedic knowledge that he could access at a surprisingly fast speed. Unlike other savants, he did not suffer from social misunderstanding or conversational abnormalities (Brogaard, 2012). In looking at this and comparing with other known cases, it is evident that each individual case will vary as far as skill and symptoms, and whether treatment is even necessary to discuss in relation to savants, as opposed to focusing on their initial diagnosis and seeing their special skill or skills as a gift or “Island of genius.”
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