In his article Is There A Little Rain Man In Each Of Us?, Darold Treffert, MD asks if it is possible “to tap and use those still existent, but less frequently used, capacities and circuits, with some of their savant-like characteristics, in those of us more wedded to left brain capacity and higher level memory?”
He is convinced there is that possibility, and cites several examples of “acquired savants” – “previously non-disabled persons who after some injury or disease begin to demonstrate some, until then, dormant savant characteristics and capacities.
In one case “musical genius appeared at age 3 following meningitis.”
Another person showed “behavioral traits and abilities that emerged at age 9 following a bullet wound to the left hemisphere, leaving him paralyzed on the right side, mute and deaf but with some special mechanical abilities and other savant skills.
And in another case, “Alonzo’s sculpting talent emerged following a head injury as a young child.”
In an interview, Dr. Treffert noted that he defines three levels of the syndrome, including “talented savants…people whose skills are also conspicuous, but conspicuous against not only people with disabilities but even within their non-disabled peer group. Generally, they are more highly honed into one particular skill, such as music or art, for example.”
And a third level, “prodigious savants. These are people whose skills are so spectacular that, if they were not disabled, they would be at a genius level.”
From article: Conversations on Creativity with Darold Treffert, Part I: Defining Autism, Savantism, and Genius, by Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman
The image is from Dr. Treffert’s book Extraordinary People : Understanding Savant Syndrome.
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