A new study of about 100 adults with autism shows that one third have skills that stand out, both in comparison with their other abilities and with the skills of the general population. Previous studies put the prevalence of savantism in autistic people at around 1 in 10. (Biever, par.2) You may be wondering what is a savant? You may also be wondering what exactly is autism? We hear so much about this disorder, but most of us know little about it.
Autistic disorder is defined by The Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders as a severe developmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate, form relationships with others, and respond appropriately to the environment (Turkington and Anan 29). You may have heard the term autistic spectrum disorder before. This means that autistic symptoms and characteristics can appear in a variety of ways from mild to severe. The spectrum includes Aspergers’s Syndrome (more mild symptoms), Autistic Disorder (more severe), Rhett’s disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified or PDDNOS which is a condition with minor symptoms that otherwise don’t meet specific criteria for other spectrum disorders. (20)
A savant or a person with savant syndrome is described as a person who even with serious mental or physical disability has impressive, and sometimes unbelievable, natural talent. These talents might include genius mathematic ability such as being able to state the 5th power of 17 with no calculator, perfect singing pitch or other musical ability, and stellar memory (photographic memory). An autistic savant is then a person with an autistic disorder who displays unusual aptitude for one or more specific skills (42), such as those previously mentioned.
During my research on this subject I was amazed to discover the remarkable abilities some autistic individuals possess within their disability. People often focus on what... [continues]
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