Idiot Savant

Discussion in 'People I Have Known' started by Ken Anderson, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    When I was a kid, the term for it was idiot savant, although it's known to be a form of autism now. I never knew just how he was related to me, but he was related to me in some way. Nels lived across the road from me.

    I don't know whether the story was true or not, but the story was that he had been institutionalized at some point in his life, in a place that was then known as a nut house, although I am pretty sure that's not the politically correct term these days. After escaping several times, he was finally allowed to live where he was living while I was a kid, across the road from me.

    Nels was a harmless person. Although in his thirties or forties, maybe older, he enjoyed playing kid's games, and was very much a kid in a lot of ways, and not a particularly bright kid -- that is, unless you asked him anything having to do with numbers.

    He could tell us when all of our cats had been born, how many litters each had had, including the dates and how many kittens were in each litter, and how each cat was related to the other, which is something I couldn't even do with my own family, let alone our cats.

    More remarkably, you could give him any quantify of numbers, however long, and by the time you got to the last number, he could tell you what they added up to. The same was true of division or multiplication. The moment he was given the last number, he had solved the problem, however many digits were involved.

    Mathematics was second nature to him, or perhaps it could be called first nature, and he knew dates. Pretty much anything having to do with numbers, but he never understood the concept of hide and seek.

    He would hide pretty much in the open, and would tell you where he was if you asked him.
     
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  2. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Isn't that what "Rainman" was? It has always amazed me...
     
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  3. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    So I would imagine y'all were the ones hiding the majority of the time and he was the one seeking? :)

    Did y'all get him to help y'all with your math homework if y'all needed it?
     
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  4. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    My twin nephews are both autistic and they are still very young and getting lots of help since they were diagnosed with autism. There is so much out there now to help bring understanding about autism and to help those who are autisic. Those with autism have their own special giftedness just like all of us.

    I have read many articles that say Vaccinations cause autism. I don't know if this is true or not, but I lean towards there being a distinct possibility of this being true. I'm just thankful there is help for my nephews and that others will help them to use their gifts too.

    Although Nels gift in math is not of much interest to me as I really don't care for anything but basic math...it still must have been amazing to know someone who knew the answers almost before the problem was finished. :)
     
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  5. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Yes, the autism spectrum covers a wide range of disorders, and it seems that many of them are becoming more common today. Others, such as Aspergers Syndrome, can have advantages as far as achievements go. Although devastating as far as relationships go, the intent focus that some of these people have in one area can prepare them to excel. Among those thought to have had Aspergers Syndrome are Bill Gates, Alfred Hitchcock, Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Hans Christian Andersen, Thomas Jefferson, Wolfgang Mozart, Ludwig Van Beethoven, George Orwell, Thomas Edison, and Mark Twain. I have wondered what Nels might have been able to accomplish if he had been encouraged to focus on his strengths rather than everyone around him instead focusing on his weaknesses.
     
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  6. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    I think many of us could have accomplished so much more in life if we and others had done just what you said above. :)
     
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  7. Gloria Mitchell

    Gloria Mitchell Very Well-Known Member
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    One of my grand daughters has Aspergers, and a host of other things. With meds,and plenty of trail and error she has made much progress. She ia very smart artistic...etc etc....however she struggles socially and is still learning the concept of what a joke is. I have hilarious stories about this kid...you have to make sure you are very careful how you explain things to her...or it will back fire on you :D
     
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