Autistic savants have extraordinary abilities
Published Thursday, December 13, 2012 6:40PM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 14, 2012 7:55PM EST
Children with autism are often thought primarily through the filter of their condition, but there’s another side to each of their stories.
Studies show that anywhere from one-tenth to one-third of all people with autism spectrum disorders are autistic savants.
Autistic savants can have a wide variety of extraordinary skills, most often involving math, memory, art or music.
Amanda Bell is the president of Autism Ontario’s Waterloo chapter. Her seven-year-old son Robert is an autistic savant, able to create replicas of cars and machinery with Lego.
“Robert is capable of looking at something and being able to replicate that with no drawings or anything in front of him. He’s got an incredible memory,” says Amanda.
Kaleb Beaudin, a five-year-old Cambridge boy with autism, was able to spell words correctly at an early age.
“If he gets a hold of my iPhone, he’ll text someone rainbows or the names of kids in his class or the Cat in the Hat,” says Jadie Beaudin, Kaleb’s mother.
While conventional wisdom sees autism as a difficult disability to overcome
“They say children with autism are disconnected from the world around them, but I honestly believe that they may be taking in more than what we think they are,” says Amanda Bell.
Meanwhile, American researchers say they may have found a way to detect autism through an experimental blood test.
“We found that in comparing children with autism and children without autism, the pattern of genes that are on and off is a very good predictor of which children have or will go on to have autism,” said Dr. Isaac Hocrane, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Boston Children’s Hospital.