Skip to main content

Autism's Connection to Exceptional Abilities

Autism is a complex disorder affecting brain development that causes difficulty in social interaction as well as verbal and nonverbal communication, and often produces repetitive behaviors. Interestingly, savant abilities spring from those who are autistic to a far greater degree than the general population -- as high as 33 percent with autistic individuals, compared to less than 1 percent in the non-autistic individuals. "Savant" refers to exceptional abilities not exhibited by most persons, such as musical, artistic, mathematical, or mechanical ability, coupled with extraordinary memory.

The autism-savantism connection is a mystery. In recent years, however, a fuller picture has begun to emerge. The current line of thinking goes something like this: Much of the brain dysfunction marked by autism occurs in the left hemisphere of the brain. Many of the savant skills originate in the right hemisphere. The brain redirects neural activity from the left hemisphere to the right hemisphere to compensate for the dysfunction of the left hemisphere. Alternate neural pathways are developed to accomplish tasks, and in some instances enhanced perceptual abilities are produced. This re-organizational capacity of the brain produced by autism, plus elevated perceptual skills, plus knowledge or expertise may potentially equal savant abilities.

Savantism may also develop in those who have suffered traumatic brain injuries, or who have experienced stroke or neurodegenerative diseases. Brain imaging confirms the changes in blood flow and neuronal activity in the brain compared to the general population.

The brain is a wondrous, exceedingly complex organ. The autism-savantism connection is one avenue to unlocking a few more of its secrets.


Popular posts from this blog

Your Rights When You're Pulled Over for a Supected DUI

Fact is, most people don't even know their rights if they're pulled over! Here's a quick list of the most important rights you need to know and how the conversation may go if you are pulled over:

"Do you know why I pulled you over?" It's typically the first thing you'll hear. It's also deliberately designed to get you to admit to certain behavior. Be polite and simply ask, "Why do you ask?" and then wait for a response. Do not comment. That phrase "anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law" is truer than you'll ever know, trust us.

"Have you had anything to drink tonight?" If you truthfully have had nothing to drink that night, say, "No." If you've had something to drink, you don't have to share that information! Telling the officer that you've been drinking will be evidence used against you. Instead, say, "I have no statement to make." While it may seem unnatura…

Questioned by the Police? - Don't Forget Your Rights

One of the special things about our country's criminal justice system is that if you are suspected or accused of committing a crime, you have certain fundamental rights. Unfortunately though, many people aren't aware of their rights, or, in the head of the moment, they forget about those rights.

For instance, citizens who find themselves being questioned and in police custody may not even be aware that they have a basic fundamental right to have an attorney present any time they are being questioned by any branch of law enforcement.

Truth is, having an attorney present if you are being quested is vitally important.

Why is that?

For one thing, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you from incriminating yourself, can make sure that you don't answer questions that are designed to trick you, and can keep officers from asking the same question over and over again. Bottom line - having a criminal defense attorney on your side can help make sure that you don't ma…

Auto Accidents and Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are responsible for the deaths of approximately 50,000 Americans each year and the hospitalizations of roughly 230,000 more. Many more victims go undiagnosed.

Auto accidents are one of the leading causes of TBI. Most TBI's are closed head injuries, which means that trauma sets the brain in motion inside the skull. The brain gets slammed against the interior surface of the skull, resulting in contusions and swelling. 
Trauma can also initiate rotational forces that twist and stretch the brain, which can damage axons. Brain neurons send messages via electrical impulses; axons are the carriers of these impulses. When axons are damaged, brain function is diminished. 
A condition called diffuse axonal injury (DAI) occurs on a cellular level and leaves blood vessels and major brain structures intact. This type of damage cannot be detected by MRIs or CT scans, making DAI vastly under diagnosed and under treated. 
Brain injuries are unlike injuries to other …