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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Daniel Tammet, or, The Savant Myth

My book club just read Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet. The discussion was excellent (as usual) but it started me thinking about the myth of the savant. Not every kid with an ASD has the meteoric intelligence of a savant, but I've found that people are curious whether or not that's true. "Does she show any particular talent?" is a question I've been asked, even by professionals during the interview process. I want to say, she has a TON of talents! She can sing all the words to Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard, she could count to fifty at age two, she knows that taffy is a kind of candy and that Jose Feliciano is from Puerto Rico (trust me, she knows). But any affinity? Any real focused, superlative gift? I don't know yet. She could be a Daniel Tammet, a Kim Peek. But that carries a weight of its own, and I'm unsure of whether I would want Ellie to be so stratospherically brilliant. It can be lonely enough for her right now. Put her on that level, and I wonder if even I could reach her. Daniel Tammet's blog

1 comment:

Ammie said...

I'm so sad I've been missing book club! Argh! But I'll be back again now. :D I really loved living in Madison. There are so many things to benefit from there: the autism research, the biking and walking paths, the farmer's markets, the arboretum, and the free zoo. :) I loved those things. Sarah, I need to hang out with you more, so you can teach me what's great about this area!