Kim Peek - the Real Rainman

Topics: Savant syndrome, Rain Man, Dustin Hoffman Pages: 2 (611 words) Published: October 14, 2008
Kim Peek - Savant
The Original Rain Man

Preceding the savant Daniel Tammet by several years, Kim Peek is the real life Rain Man whom the Dustin Hoffman character was based in the movie. Described as a confounding mixture of disability and brilliance, Kim is in love with knowledge. Kim Peek is probably the world's most famous savant. Kim was diagnosed as being mentally retarded at birth, but with father Fran's unflagging support he has developed a memory that is without equal. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. Kim has lived here all of his life. The local library is Kim's favorite place in the world. Kim devours books on anything and everything, as many as eight in a day. He reads at a phenomenal rate, a page that may take you or I three minutes will take Kim about 10 seconds. He reads the left page with his left eye and the right page with his right eye and will retain about 98% of it. He has 15 subject areas but about the only thing he can't do is, he can't reason out mathematical problems.

Neurologist Dr. Elliott Sherr
What is it that makes Kim's brain work in such an extraordinary way, and do his disabilities, in some way, enhance his memory? In California, Kim has been invited to take part in a study at the University of California. Neurologist Dr. Elliott Sherr begins by going over Kim's background. This is something of a sore point as the first neurologist Kim saw, when he was only a baby, took 5 minutes to dismiss him as a hopeless case who should institutionalised. Dr. Sherr was to discover that Kim had learned to read by the age of two. While this was not a formal neuropsychological assessment, it was plain that Kim had difficulty following directions.

Psychologist Dr. Rita Jeremy
Psychologist Dr. Rita Jeremy gives him a standardised intelligence test to see where he stands in relation to the norm. She discovers that Kim has trouble with tasks that require new thinking and for which he can't call upon facts from his memory. His results...
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