Get to know Savant Syndrome, an Intellectual Disorder Experienced by People with Autism


“Savant syndrome refers to a condition when someone with developmental problems has extraordinary talents or skills, this syndrome is more common in people with autism. However, savant syndrome in autistic people is different from autistic people who are gifted."

People with autism are often underestimated by society. Even though some of them have high intellectual abilities, which even reach above average. Well, this condition is known as savant syndrome.

Savant syndrome is a rare condition in which a person with a mental problem or developmental disorder has extraordinary talents, knowledge or abilities.

They could be good at art, math, music, and have a keen memory. In fact, some influential figures in the world are born with this condition.

What is Savant Syndrome?

Savant syndrome is a rare condition when a person with an intellectual disability has one or more skills that exceed the average normal human.

This condition can be present at birth or develop during childhood. In some cases, this syndrome can develop after an injury or brain disorder.

People who have savant syndrome may have very low IQs or other mental disorders. However, they show exceptional ability in one particular area that is very specific. Often they have skills in:

  • Music.
  • Art.
  • Calendar calculation.
  • Mathematics.
  • Mechanical or spatial skills.

Savant syndrome is often associated with autism, but not all people with autism have this syndrome. In addition, savant syndrome is actually not an official diagnosis, and there are no diagnostic criteria for this syndrome.

Getting to Know Savant Syndrome in People with Autism

Autism is a type of developmental disorder that is often associated with savant syndrome. Although savant syndrome is common in people with autism, it can also develop in people with other mental disorders.

As previously explained, people with autism with this syndrome, means having extraordinary skills in one or more specific areas of knowledge. These skills are usually associated with very strong memory abilities.

However, there is a difference between "autistic savant" and "autistically gifted". Many autistic people have ordinary talents, but autistic people with this syndrome are rare cases, and they have very high abilities.

In other words, autistic people who can count, paint, or play musical instruments, but with mediocre skills, are not considered "autistic savants".

Research shows that there are differences in cognitive and behavioral profiles, between autistic people with savant syndrome and "autistically gifted people", namely:

  • Increased sensory sensitivity.
  • obsessive behavior
  • Systemization or drive to analyze or build systems.
  • Technical and spatial abilities.

Signs and Symptoms of Savant Syndrome

In addition to extraordinary abilities in the areas they are good at, people with savant syndrome often have other symptoms, which include co-occurring mental conditions or developmental disorders.

For example, people with autism with savant syndrome also have symptoms such as:

  • Problems with communication. Autistic people may avoid eye contact and not have appropriate facial expressions when communicating. In addition they find it difficult to interpret other people's emotions.
  • Restricted or repetitive behavior. People with autism may be very focused on certain parts of an object, and be sensitive to changes in order.
Other problems. Autism can also cause various other problems such as delays in language, movement, or problems with cognitive development.
Those are things about savant syndrome in people with autism that you need to know.

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