if you only care about autistic people when they’re savants then you don’t actually care about autistic people. if you claim to care about those of us who can draw cities from memory or do advanced mathematics then you should also care about those of us who had to drop out of school, those of us with memory problems, those of us who feel accomplished for reading a book or getting a C on a school assignment. 

it’s important to remember that only a very small portion of autistic people are savants (people who can do things like multiply five digit numbers in their heads or memorize every single street in a city), and that most of us can’t do anything near that. That doesn’t mean we’re not deserving of the same respect- we’re humans, and we shouldn’t have to be able to draw LA from memory to be treated as such.

Watch “The Good Doctor”

Seriously. Go watch it. Support it.

I am crying right now because this show is about a young man with Autism who, his whole life, faced stigma even as he was a genius. He faced many hardships that neurodivergent people face every day, and yet he still pushes forward.

Throughout the episode - the first episode - I felt like someone was batting my heart with a baseball bat until the very end where they reached in and tore it out. The end left me in messy tears.

I never cry in movies. Moved? Yes. Cried? Never. Dogs could die and the main protag could lose it all, and I didn’t bat an eye. This had me crying.

The main character is a savant autistic young man who only wants to help people, help them live long and wonderful lives because of the tragedies of his past. He’s brilliant and has no ulterior motives to be at this hospital besides help people. Yet, even as he has one in his corner, everyone else sees his diagnosis and tries to shut him out.

But he tries. He tries harder than anyone else would. He does the seemingly impossible even as everyone else struggles to understand him.

This show is so important to me as someone who is neurodivergent and as someone who has grown up with autistic family. Please, please watch the show on ABC or hulu or some channel that streams it for cost because it needs support. It needs to stay on the air. It’s too important, already, to lose.

PS For friends, please be warned that this may be triggering. Emotional abuse and abuse of animals is present as is death. If these deter you, then please reblog and have others see it, understand the meaning of the show.

I know we like to talk about as autistic kids who’re geniuses with numbers, or beautiful musicians, or incredible artists. But that’s really not the norm. Autistic kids aren’t all savants. I have an autistic sister, and have worked with people on the spectrum, and most of the time you’ll find that autistic people are just autistic. And they don’t have to make up for it by having a brilliant mind. They don’t have to prove their value by being special in certain areas. They’re valuable because they’re people. Don’t spread the idea that autistic people have to be savants. That’s just perpetuating the idea that impairments are something to be ashamed of


Forget what you know | Jacob Barnett | TEDxTeen

Jacob Barnett is an American mathematician and child prodigy. At 8 years old, Jacob began sneaking into the back of college lectures at IUPUI. After being diagnosed with autism since the age of two and placed in his school’s special ed. program, Jacob’s teachers and doctors were astonished to learn he was able to teach calculus to college students.

At age nine, while playing with shapes, Jacob built a series of mathematical models that expanded Einstein’s field of relativity. A professor at Princeton reviewed his work and confirmed that it was groundbreaking and could someday result in a Nobel Prize.

At age 10, Jacob was formally accepted to the University as a full-time college student and went straight into a paid research position in the field of condensed matter physics. For his original work in this field, Jacob set a record, becoming the world’s youngest astrophysics researcher.

His paper was subsequently accepted for publication by Physical Review A, a scientific journal shared on sites such as NASA, the Smithsonian, and Harvard’s webpage. Jacob’s work aims to help improve the way light travels in technology.

Jacob is also CEO and founder of Wheel LLC, a business he started in his mom’s garage, and is in the process of writing a book to help end “math phobia” in his generation.

Jacob’s favorite pastime is playing basketball with the kids at his charity, Jacob’s Place. It is a place where kids with autism are inspired every day to be their true authentic selves…just like Jacob.

i saw this theory about leonardo da vinci being autistic, and this one website said that everything about da vinci makes sense for him to be autistic, except that he “displayed no savant-ish abilities”

1. just so we’re all clear, not all autistic people “display savant-ish abilites”, and 2. if there is a single person in the history of human beings i would call a savant, it would be leonardo da vinci

anonymous asked:

hey, savantism anon again, and im not sure we're on the same page of definition of savantism since you say that it's just considered "intelligence" or "normal" in allistics. I mean savantism in being a hyperpolyglot (speaking 20 or more languages), i mean Albert Einstein, I mean being able to play any instrument in the world effortlessly, I mean being able to play a Vivaldi piece from memory after hearing it once or twice only. Thats abnormal. But apart from that, what u said makes sense! Thanks

Right. Maybe I didn’t word it well. Uhm. Like, let’s say you’re good with languages. You know those 26 languages. You didn’t really have to work at them to learn them. They’re just… simple for you. As an autistic, we would call you an autistic savant.

But what do we call it if you are not developmentally disabled and you just… know 26 languages?

What makes a savant, well, a savant, is that they have a very high intelligence in a very specific area, but also that they have a developmental disability of some sort that impairs other areas of intelligence. With an autistic savant, this usually means a lower intelligence with regards to socialization, emotion, speech, etc. The things we are pathologized for.

The point of being a savant is that it is exceptionally heightened intelligence where only impaired intelligence is expected. Which brings us back to the question.

But what do we call it if you are not developmental disabled and you just… know 26 languages?

If you know those languages and you are otherwise average - which is to say you are within the expected range of intelligence for the average person of your age in all other areas - then you are not developmentally disabled and therefore you are not a savant.

People that have extremely high intelligence like this are not called savants. And like, we recognize that these people are really good at what they do and that it isn’t book smarts, that they just naturally do this thing. But we tend to call this natural talent, or even genius where savant implies exception in disability.

All this is based on the psychological definition of what it means to be a savant. Which is to say, savant is still pathologizing intelligence. It is still part of a developmental disability. It is still open to the same ableism as any other disability.

More importantly, that same type of natural, un-learned, hyper-intelligence occurs in the non-developmentally disabled population and we don’t pathologize it. Like, yeah, it’s on the outside range of “normal” but it is treated as “gifted” and “genius” instead of disabled.

Hopefully I worded better this time?

So as an actually autistic person I didn’t find The Good Doctor as painful as Atypical. In fact, I felt I related to the character of Shawn more than anyone else in the show (which doesn’t happen usually because of sexism inherent in autism diagnoses).

But especially in the flashbacks about the rabbit and Shawn’s childhood and the way he used the plastic scalpel as a stim item were extremely familiar, almost to the point of tears.

I also really liked they separated his being autistic from his having savant syndrome which not all autistic people have.

It has a lot of potential and could be either so good we should all support it, or also really really realllllly bad.

Also person first language, buuuuuut I’m willing to let it slide so far. We’ll see how much they push my buttons.

Reid’s Autistic Traits

I was bored, so I decided to make a compilation of sorts on my favorite autistic character, Dr. Spencer Reid. These have been piling up in my files, so prepare for a gif-style infodump.


Self-stimulatory behavior often consists of repetitive movements. Reid is frequently seen fidgeting with his hands and other objects. He almost always talks with prominent hand movements. He also frequently touches his face. Reid occasionally spins in chairs, rocks back and forth, etc.

Missing Social Cues/Confusion in Social Situations

Despite his excellent profiling skills, his interactions with strangers and friends often leave Reid confused and causes him issues when trying to connect with people. He will miss jokes and sarcasm, take things literally, and occasionally gets uncomfortable when speaking publicly.

Infodumping, Hyperfocus, Special Interests

Reid’s special interests, as I have observed them, involve general knowledge seeking, criminology, Halloween, old foreign films, and sci-fi. Reid has a more rare trait of autistic people; savantism. If you believe in quantifying intelligence, Reid has an extremely high IQ (187), He also has an eidetic memory and can read 20,000 words per minute. When Reid is working a case, he frequently enters hyperfocus, ignoring everything else around him. Reid often goes into long-winded explanations of things and is oblivious to others’ frustration with his infodumping.

Sensory Issues

Reid doesn’t have as many obvious sensory seeking/avoidant behaviors as many other autistics, but it does manifest every once in a while. Reid is often uncomfortable with touching strangers, especially shaking hands. He has shown sensitivity to bright lights and loud sudden noises. Reid’s clothing choices also reflect his preference to be comfortable.

Coordination/Spatial Issues

Reid tends to display spatial awareness, coordination, and dexterity issues. He prefers academic pursuits, and ridicule in childhood further led to his aversion to physical activity/sports. He has also only very rarely been shown to drive a car, and takes the train to work. This may be due to difficulties with driving ability.

Appearance/Hygiene issues

Many autistic people struggle with basic hygiene and appearance upkeep. Reid’s hair, whether short or long, is almost always messy and unkempt. Reid’s clothes are often disheveled as well.

Trouble Regulating/Expressing Emotions

Reid tends to suppress his emotions much of the time, but when he experiences strong emotions they tend to pour out and seriously effect him in ways that don’t effect the rest of the team. Reid also tends to have odd/exaggerated facial expressions which may be a way of overcompensating for his struggles of expressing himself acceptably.

Additional stuff:

Avoiding Eye Contact

Going Non-Verbal (I’ve only ever seen this happen to Reid once)

Resistant to Change

Sitting Cross-legged (I’m not actually sure if this is an autistic trait but I always sit like this and so does Reid so I thought I’d include it)

So yeah, I hope that was informative. It was fun to make this post! Thanks for reading!

Not a savant

Here’s to all the other autistics that are not particularly good at anything.


I wish the media would piss off with their constant ‘savant autistic’ characters. It’s bullshit, lazy and damaging to the majority of autistics who are not savants. We don’t have to be good at something to be worthy.


So if you’re like me and you’re average at a few things and shit at quite a few others then this post is for you.



Kim Peek (November 11, 1951 – December 19, 2009)

Kim Peek was an American savant. Known as a “megasavant”, he had an exceptional memory, he experienced some social difficulties, however he grew to be outwardly engaging.

According to Peek’s father, Fran Peek, Kim was able to memorize things from the age of 16–20 months. He read books, memorized them, and then placed them upside down on the shelf to show that he had finished reading them, a practice he maintained. He could speed through a book in about an hour and remember almost everything he had read, memorizing vast amounts of information. According to an article in The Times newspaper, he could accurately recall the contents of at least 12,000 books.

He was the inspiration for the character of Raymond Babbitt, played by Dustin Hoffman in the movie Rain Man.

Screenwriter Barry Morrow gave Kim his Oscar statuette to carry with him and show at appearances; it has since been referred to as the “Most Loved Oscar Statue” as it has been held by more people than any other. Kim also enjoyed approaching strangers and telling them on which day of the week they were born and what news items were on the front page of major newspapers. Peek also appeared on television many times. Kim Peek’s parents divorced in 1981, and his father cared for him alone until his son’s death.

During one presentation Mr. Peek gave at Oxford University in England, after he fielded students’ questions about the Lusitania and about British monarchs, a young woman stood and asked him, “Kim, are you happy?”

“I’m happy just to look at you,” Mr. Peek said.

Peek died of a heart attack on December 19, 2009 at age 58.

read more:
here and here

Okay, so I finished watching the first episode of the Good doctor. And it was… good, surprisingly. I mean, there’s still a bit of inspiration porn here and there, functioning language and all, but I actually liked it. 

I liked the fact that they separated autism and savant syndrome. It clarifies the fact that you can be one without being the other. Of course, it’s a bit sad that we’re getting yet another savant white autistic guy, but at least, they had the decency to inform the audience that being autistic and being savant are not the same thing.

Of course, some of the characters are ableist, but I wouldn’t expect less coming from a medical perspective, and especially in a story where the purpose seems to be to prove the main character’s worth to ableists and/or skeptics.

Shawn Murphy felt like a real character. He’s caring for his patients and those he consider like family, while having a hard time expressing it, he’s invested in medecine and he’s ready to do anything to save other people’s lives, including putting himself in trouble or in danger. 

He’s very clean and doesn’t like things to be “messy”. He’s logical, but that doesn’t prevent him to be emotional and sensitive. He’s very calm, but becomes agitated if he’s ignored, especially in urgency times.

I didn’t find any interview done by Freddie Highmore about this project, but I would have loved to, because I don’t know if autistic people were involved in this project or not. One thing for sure : it’s better than Atypical. During this first episode, I didn’t felt like Shawn was mocked or belittled or anything.

We were invited to laugh at one of his remarks once, but I think it’s more a subversion of a trope than anything else. 

He was telling to the Medical board why he wanted to be a doctor and it’s basically a sad story, with violin and everything, and he finished by saying that he want to be rich too, in order to buy a tv. I even think that he might have been trying to be funny on purpose, while being frank.

Anyway, I’m waiting to see the rest of the show to really form an opinion about it. It really felt like an House episode, without the sarcasm of House, but it was interesting. And I like the fact that the cast seems diverse.

I would have liked to have a character that is not the white autistic guy, but well. Maybe for another tv show/movie ?

quietdoppelganger replied to your post: wouldn’t the point of it be that it’s showing how…

As an autistic person I am so tired of seeing “savant” autistics being portrayed CONSTANTLY. At least one of my autistic friends feel like they’re “not autistic enough” because they don’t fit that stereotype.

honestly?? same. coupled w the fact that I’ve had ppl approach me online before to be like “you cant headcanon [character] as autistic, educate yourself more on autism” and I’m like ok so this clearly autistic-coded character can’t be autistic and I’m just supposed to be satisfied with the rare savant stereotype the media throws at us? sure

floodhunter  asked:

Hey Dave, a little while ago you reblogged about that autistic artist, and you made sure to acknowledge that other, non-savant level autistic persons are still awesome and valid. I really appreciate that, as a person who comes deals with my own, and have known many others with autism spectrum, because so many are seen as less because we don't get the super abilities. I don't really have a point, I just want to thank you for being a great person who is always willing to adapt and accommodate. :)

Thank you for sharing. Your perspective means a lot to me.

Back in my sophomore year of high school, I had the opportunity to earn some extra credits by assisting a classroom with some of my fellow students, some of whom were autistic.

There was an autistic student named Alex who was the same grade as me. I remember asking the teacher when I met him if it was true that some autistic people could do amazing things like complex math problems in their head or memorize whole books.

And her response was very humbling and always stuck with me. She said, “Some autistic people have talents like that, but Alex has other gifts. For example, he really likes basketball.”

And something about the way she said it just really hit me hard. Like, she wasn’t mean or angry with me, but it became obvious just how ridiculous the basic premise of my question was.

I mean, nobody expected ME to have superpowers in order to feel valued or appreciated. Why should I be asking other people if they have extraordinary abilities, as if they needed them to still be extraordinary people?

I continued going to the classroom with Alex and those other classmates three days a week all the way until graduation. And on graduation day, it was my honor to walk with Alex up to the podium where he an I both got our diplomas.

Alex earned the exact same diploma that I received. The same academic honor. And he did it without so many of the advantages that I had.

And THAT is pretty damn extraordinary.

Support autistic people who don’t fit the stereotypes

Support autistics who are women

Support autistics who are trans or nonbinary or any other marginalized gender identity

Support autistic people of color

Support autistics who aren’t savants

Support autistic people who fluctuate between verbal and nonverbal

Support autistic people with special interests that aren’t STEM related

Support autistics who can “pass” as neurotypical in public but struggle at home

Support all autistics

We are all unique people with unique combinations of autistic traits.

Whether you fit the stereotypes, break every one, or are somewhere in between, you are valid and deserving of support

Honestly, when I first heard there was a new show called The Good Doctor, my initial thought was “they made a show about Carlisle Cullen?”