Genius and gifted talents

There are suggestions that autism or Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) is associated with genius and gifted talents. Einstein, Mozart and Newton are said to be amongst the list of famous people with autism. If you have seen the movie Rain Man, your impression of autism could be that of Dustin Hoffman’s character, the autistic savant with an exceptional memory for facts and figures. Temple Grandin is an example of a successful autistic individual who uses her special connection with animals to revolutionise the livestock industry. Stephen Wiltshire uses his unique skills and artistic talent to draw lifelike accurate representations of cityscape from memory. AS has also been referred to as the geek syndrome, accounting for the seemingly increasing number of geeky talents in high-tech industries.

AS is part of the autism spectrum and not everyone on the spectrum is a genius or has gifted talents. Sadly, my AS has not made me a genius nor gifted person. I do not have a prolific memory nor artistic or scientific talent. I am neither a geek nor tech-savvy. I can only make use of my gifted stubborn personality, if I can call it a gift, to do the best I can.

While not everyone with AS is a genius or has gifted talents, I believe children on the autism spectrum has some kind of special hidden talent to compensate for their social deficits, be it music, art, sports, animals etc. I choose to believe this because I recalled being told I have perfect pitch when I was 5 or 6 years old. It takes however the right person with the understanding, patience and compassion to uncover and unlock it.

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