The savant syndrome: an extraordinary condition. A synopsis: past, present, future

Darold A. Treffert

Abstract

Savant syndrome is a rare, but extraordinary, condition in which persons with serious mental disabilities, including autistic disorder, have some ‘island of genius’ which stands in marked, incongruous contrast to overall handicap. As many as one in 10 persons with autistic disorder have such remarkable abilities in varying degrees, although savant syndrome occurs in other developmental disabilities or in other types of central nervous system injury or disease as well. Whatever the particular savant skill, it is always linked to massive memory. This paper presents a brief review of the phenomenology of savant skills, the history of the concept and implications for education and future research.

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Footnotes

  • One contribution of 18 to a Discussion Meeting Issue ‘Autism and talent’.

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