What is an autistic savant?
“Autistic Savant” is a term meaning a person with autism who has a special ability or skill. “Savant” comes from the French word for “knowing” and means “a learned person.” About ten percent of people with autism have remarkable abilities. Often this becomes apparent in childhood. As I discussed in a previous blog, Kyle was displaying amazing memory skills at the age of two, where he lined up bottles and knew the numerical placement of at least twenty, without counting. And this is an example of why autism is NOT classified as mental retardation. With mental retardation, the individual has low intellectual functioning across the board. Autism has peaks and valleys of intellectual abilities. Why does it occur? We aren’t exactly certain. We do know that the brain is divided into two hemispheres, bridged by a band of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum. While the left brain hemisphere (often called the Analyzer) controls skills associated with symbolism and interpretation (such as und