"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."

Jun 30, 2009

Commoners

Savants Fairly Common
30-Jun-2009 -
Unknown Country.com

In autistics, anyway -

There are more savants out there than we realized.

In New Scientist, Celeste Biever describes her meeting with a 29-year-old blind musical savant with autism who can play any music you request, entirely from memory. She quotes psychiatrist Darold Treffert, who consulted on the film "Rain Man", as saying, "What makes savants so interesting is this jarring juxtaposition of ability and disability in the same person. We are used to seeing skills that are consistent with each other."

Savantism is far more common in people with autism than in people with other mental difficulties. Biever quotes researcher Greg Wallace as saying, "When you talk about savants, you have to talk about autism. In many ways they are inextricably linked." It's as if when one part of the brain is injured, another part overcompensates.

Scientists used to think that around 1 in every 10 autistics were also savants, but psychiatrist Patricia Howlin thinks the percentage is closer to 30%. She also thinks that autistic savants tend to focus on the details, rather than the overall picture, which leads to abilities that seem startling to the rest of us. They also have the determination to practice until they hone their skill do a prodigious degree.

Or as Elizabeth Knowles so famously said, "Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains."

6 Comments:

At 4:24 PM , Blogger Zoro said...

The issues are emblematic of the problems that "normal" people have at some point of reconciling the discourse of some people at different sites on the cognitive/behavioural spectrum. What I offer is to broaden everyone's experience of the spectrum that all of us populate.

Z

 
At 8:17 PM , Blogger Indigobusiness said...

I just watched Musical Minds, on NOVA.

Fascinating how music affects the mental processes, savants and most everyone. Some folks haven't any use for music at all, they're the saddest lot imho.

One man was struck by lightning and suddenly became an obsessed piano player. Go figure.

 
At 8:54 PM , Blogger Belle Epoque said...

Indigo, I don't know, maybe God isn't an asshole, but he sure can seem like one to the casual onlooker. I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I've seen the toll on parents and loved ones, and their journey is one that looks lonely and fraught with doubts. I've seen footages of these musical savants too and they are truly inspiring and remarkable, but nevertheless somehow very painful to observe.

 
At 11:02 PM , Blogger Indigobusiness said...

Lots of paradox in the ineffable equation, but could it really be any other way?

 
At 7:22 AM , Blogger Belle Epoque said...

Indi, thanks so much for not saying that old nugget "God works in mysterious ways...". That one makes me either cower under the bed, or gag...

 
At 2:01 PM , Blogger Tomas said...

Thank you for the interesting post. My attention was doubled by the way I read it (with the dictionary)
Thus I discovered the meaning of the word "Savant". My vocabulary was expanded. I hope your joy will be increased too as you visit my blog.
I hope my pictures will reveal better than this response. So I welcome you to my blogs and eagerly look forward to your comments.

 

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