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Thread: Autistic Savants

  1. #1 Autistic Savants 
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    Join Date
    May 2005
    Certain autistic people exhibit extraordinary mental abilities. I heard about a blind guy that could tell you what day of the week any date was. He has autism and sits around talking to himself sometimes. I told him my birth date and he told me it was a Saturday. I checked it and he was correct. I was told by other people that he never misses. It took him about a second and a half to do that. I asked him how he did it, and he said it comes to him like a memory.
    Here is an article on autistic savants:Autistic Savant

    Written by Stephen M. Edelson, Ph.D.
    Center for the Study of Autism, Salem, Oregon
    The autistic savant is one of the most fascinating cognitive phenomena in psychology. "Autistic savant" refers to individuals with autism who have extraordinary skills not exhibited by most persons. Historically, individuals with these exceptional skills were called 'idiot savants,' a French term meaning unlearned (idiot) skill (savant). In a 1978 article in Psychology Today, Dr. Bernard Rimland introduced a more appropriate term 'autistic savant,' which is the current label.

    The estimated prevalence of savant abilities in autism is 10%, whereas the prevalence in the non-autistic population, including those with mental retardation, is less than 1%.

    There are many forms of savant abilities. The most common forms involve mathematical calculations, memory feats, artistic abilities, and musical abilities. A mathematical ability which many autistic individuals display is calendar memory. They could be asked a question like: 'What day of the week was May 22, 1961? and they can determine the answer within seconds--Monday. Others can multiply and divide large numbers in their head and can also calculate square roots and prime numbers without much hesitation.

    Examples of some memory feats include: remembering everything about presidents (birth/death, term in office, names and birth dates of family members, cabinet members, etc.), memorizing the U.S. highway system, and remembering everyone's birth date, even after meeting the person once and not seeing him/her for 20 years.

    Some autistic individuals with savant abilities are incredible artists. Dr. Rimland's son, Mark, is quickly establishing himself as an excellent watercolor artist. A child named Nadia drew beautiful pictures of horses, and her drawings have been compared to those of Rembrandt. Interestingly, she lost her drawing abilities when she started to learn to speak. Another artist with autism, Richard Wawro, who was described in an issue of Reader's Digest, is legally blind and draws in crayons. His works sell for up to $10,000, even the Pope owns one of his paintings.

    Music is another common savant ability. Many performers with autism have perfect pitch and also have a great memory for music. In some cases, a person can hear a classical piece once and play it back in its entirety. Tim Baley, who also has Fragile X, is a concert pianist and the piano player for Hi Hopes, a musical group of singers and performers with autism and/or mental retardation. Hi Hopes played at the Los Angeles autism conference a few years ago and have even played at the White House. (Tim's mother wrote a book about his life. If you would like to obtain a copy of her book or learn more about Tim, you can write to: Mrs. Baley, Box 8207, Anaheim, CA 92812).

    The movie Rain Man exposed millions of people to autism as well as the autistic savant phenomenon. (Unfortunately, some people now have the impression that all autistic individuals have these abilities.) In the movie, Raymond displayed a great memory for ball player statistics, memorized parts of the telephone book, and counted cards in Las Vegas. One wonders why this year's national autism conference is being held in Las Vegas!

    The reason why some autistic individuals have savant abilities is not known. There are many theories, but there is no evidence to support any of them. For example, Dr. Rimland speculates that these individuals have incredible concentration abilities and can focus their complete attention to a specific area of interest. Admittedly, researchers in psychology feel that we will never truly understand memory and cognition until we understand the autistic savant.

    My opinion on this phenomenon can be explained by the bible. The bible shows, as Jesus Christ said, that all things are possible to him that believes.
    Aparently the autistic Savant, at some time in his life, developed an unwavering belief that he could do something extraordinary and in response to that belief, God gave him the ability to do it.
    How might something like that happen?
    Well, perhaps they remembered what day of the week a date fell on that was just a few days ago, and being autistic they did not realize that they were not supposed to be able to do that for any date. So, they believed they could do it for any date, and God gave them the ability in response to that belief.

    Matthew 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

    Matthew 21:21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this [which is done] to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

    Mark 11:23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

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  3. #2  
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    It's fairly well understood that belief and knowledge are not the same. On the other hand, what I have learned - among other things - from this post, is that belief can become knowledge, sometimes in unexpected ways, for unexpected reasons - reasons that are far from understood. Interesting post. Thank you.

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  4. #3  
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    i just watched a tv special on savant autism last night. I am positive it can go either way with abilities.

    If you think about it, all the abilities that you have metioned ghost can be accessed in the brain, for instance certain drugs have an incredible impact on your memory (point of photographic) and other drugs have impact on creativity (music, painting, writing, speaking, thinking)

    this means an autistc can become more capable of interacting/thinking better on certain things. on the other hand, a non autistic can become more capable of reaching the certain areas of the brain not once thought possible to access giving photographic memories, and various other forms of ability.

    Autistics can have different forms of color/sound/hearing perception, which can also be corrected to regular interpretation. On the other hand, someone with normal perception can have an altered perception of color/hearing/touch.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Bachelors Degree The P-manator's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    There was an autist I read about, he could recite pi up to something like 22,000 digits. And he says he could do it again. He wrote a book.

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