Friday, January 15, 2016

Is my son an autism savant?

According to The estimated prevalence of savant abilities in autism is 10%.
In the neurotypical community, savant ability is seen in less than 1% of the population.

Since my son picked up his first crayon, I have been amazed by his talent. He doesn't draw just a ship, he draws the Titanic, complete with smokestacks, rails, wires,  lifeboats, etc. He attention to detail is amazing.

My son drew this at age six

Several local businesses have his artwork displayed and he is known in his school as a "great artist."

Last summer we attended a family function at which there was an old piano. Liam went to the keyboard and started picking out the theme music to "Luigi's Mansion." I was shocked!

Wondering if he had an unexplored talent, I bought him a keyboard for Christmas. Ten hours later he was playing this video:

My son is way behind his classmates in reading, comprehension and speech. He has an average math ability. But for every area in which he has a deficit, another area - such as artistic ability and attention to detail is magnified. I'm sure it is because of the way his brain developed while in the womb.

My nephew, who is more socially delayed than my son, has always been a wiz with numbers and facts. He always wanted to know how deep a lake was, how long a ship was, etc. He excelled in math in school.

The National Institute has an interesting article on autism savants. It covers the history of autism savants, and goes into more detail about the savant abilities.  NIH

I'd like to hear from other parents of autistic children, Does your child display any savant abilities?

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