Savant Syndrome

Savant Syndrome

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How many of us wished to have super powers as kids ? I don't mean being strong as hulk, being bitten by a spider to be able to climb buildings like spider man, or be able to fly like birds around the city in the blue sky's. It is known that the human brain can not focus on a single task more than 10%. But there have been some individuals that are capable of this ability. Daniel Tammet have learned one of the most strenuous languages on earth fluently in just 7 days from his interview or Stephen Wiltshire which was capable of drawing the New York city and Rome just by having an one time tour with the helicopter and flying around the city he was able to draw the whole city and mentioning all the details without captivating any pictures or writing any notes. Amazing right? Sadly these talents have their own cost. Most of these indivisible suffer in their daily lives not being able to communicate with others within verbal communication or emotionally, most of them can't even function in their daily lives by their own, dress by them self or even eat a simple lunch not even talking about preparing the food leaving them to intended to live their lives isolated from the society. This rare syndrome i'm talking about is recognized as the savant syndrome. it's an unique condition letting the persons have an intelligence above normal in some ares in life such as musical, mechanical, artistic and mathematical, in exchange of limiting this person emotionally. Savant syndrome touches several people in the world. It can occur after birth or later in any stage of life. It affects both males and females but occurs mostly in males. Many scientists have come with different explanations for the savant syndrome. First it was discovered in 1987 by J.London Down. Also, he was the one that devised and related the disorder with the skill to mention an amazing memory. A study published by Bernard Rimland have states that "the savant skills most often present in autistic people are those associated with right hemisphere functions and the most deficient abilities are associated with left hemisphere functions (Treffer, 2002). This supports prove that the left brain hemisphere model to be correct.
There are many people that have unique abilities with the savant syndrome. One of the most outstanding ones would be Kim peek within an unique ability of memorizing in excuses of 7700 of books.

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Savant Syndrome Essay

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He can also read one page by his left eye and the other by his right eye with memorizing about 98% of what he have read. Kim Peek, who lent inspiration to the fictional character Raymond Babbitt—played by Dustin Hoffman—in the movie Rain Man, was a remarkable savant (Brogaard, 2012). He was able to memorize all the zip codes in the united states and knows all the streets. Also, he draw a map of the entire united states in his head, so he can describe exactly where each street is in specific
Many researches question how could it be that a mentally sick person is able to accomplish hard tasks and have amazing talents that are not even common with those with high intelligence. More than a few theories have been studied to help give and expiation for these reasons. Two forms have been set of the memory that involve the savant syndrome. First, eidetic memory. Usually, when someone has shown an item than it's quickly taken from your eyes letting you just take a quick glace of it, the picture of the object will stay in your short term memory just for couple of seconds. while having a skillful eidetic memory, let an image of the item that is howen rapidly that removed to “stay on the retina” and be seen for 40 seconds. (Abhyankar, Thatte & Doongaji, 1981; Treffert, 2006). Second, The photographic memory is another related in the savant syndrome. This kind of memory lets you memorize a picture like you would have a picture of it in your head. His cognitive ability of memorizing is beyond average (Hermelin, 2001).
A different memory related report that is related to savant syndrome is by Joan Goodman (1972). One of her theories is that a savant isn't about memorizing but they can't simply forget the things that they experienced. Savants simply end up storing short-term memory in place of the long-term memory. Also, they have the inability to rub out or remove any of the experience they have expired. This might explain the insignificant memories that most savants face (for example, some date such as phone numbers and dates with their weather).
Another theory would be the left brain damage and right brain reward. I will simply explain the brain lateralization and how it works. The job of the left hemisphere are mostly developed to manage math, language and logic skills, Although it's not essentially that one area will work without the other. (for example, logic can be found in the right hemisphere). The right hemisphere seems to be in charge of music, visual imagery and spatial abilities (Treffert, 2006).
The left brain injury/right brain compensation - theory, which is supported by Treffert (2006), The researches have shown that most savants have been exposed to the left hemisphere damage, while savants skills are mostly in the right hemisphere. The theory is that when the left hemisphere is damaged the right one will make up the loss (Treffert & Wallace, 2004). According to Treffer and Wallace (2004), that led to the left brain injury/right brain compensation - theory have begun by the work of Pamela Tanguay in 1973 (cited in Treffertm 2006) which found similarities in the right hemisphere functions and savant syndrome. In autism, the connection between right brain's activities and left brain dysfunction was discovered in 1975; in these research's, language and math functions were seen to take over by the right hemisphere. In 1980, Brink (cited in Heaton & Wallace, 2004) One of his studies describes an 9 year old boy case that was damaged by a bullet to his left hemisphere. After the accident the boy was able to design gadgets and repair bikes.
We can say that incapability is not always disability. what we can do is to support these with the savant syndrome. Academies and research institutions should be formed to help these with savant. In addition, governments should support savants and their talents in the finest ways possible. Another issue is the public, people should be aware how to treat the disabilities to make them feel like they are part of a society and not separated from it and looked like they would be a kind of a retard.
In conclusion, We should be aware that the talents and skills that are possessed by these individuals should be protected and let the world have use of their abilities. They should also be improved and enhanced for them to help them reach their best. Finally, No one knows if Mozart, Da Vinci, Rene DesCartes and, Nostradamus were't savants? These Four individualist are all reported to have amazing skills in one specific skill, a calender calculator, mathematics, an artist and, musical genius since they were 5 years old. Do you have any specific skill that you adapted since you were young ? Think about it and maybe you could be a savant.


Works Cited

Brogaard, B. (2012, December 11). Kim Peek, The Real Rain Man | Psychology Today. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-superhuman-mind/201212/kim-peek-the-real-rain-man
Treffert, D. A., & Wallace, G. L. (2002). Islands of Genius. Scientific American. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0602-76
Abhyankar, R. R., Thatte, S. S., & Doongaji, D. R. (1981). Idiot savant. Journal of Postgraduate Medicine, 27(1), 44-47.
Hermelin, B. (2001). Bright Splinters of the Mind. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Treffert, D. A. (2006). Extraordinary People: Understanding savant syndrome. New York:
Ballantine Books.
Treffert, D.A., & Wallace, G.L. (2004). Islands of GENIUS. Scientific American Special
Edition, 14(1), 76-86.
Heaton, P., & Wallace, G.L. (2004). Annotation: The savant syndrome. Journal of Child
Psychology and Psychiatry, 45(5), 899-911.
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