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?

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


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.

how to prevent sensory overwhelm

The downside of being autistic is that our nervous systems tend to be very sensitive to sensory input, and tend to go into overwhelm, causing meltdowns or shutdowns. (AKA “sensory processing disorder”.) That’s a simplistic explanation, but this piece is aimed at people who already know what I’m talking about :-D

The beauty of being autistic is that we come with built-in ways to calm our nervous systems. I think of these as autistic superpowers (and not the only ones we have, imho). But a lot of allistic people play a kind of “unless you’re a savant/genius, autistic people aren’t worthwhile human beings” game with us so some of us are not into the idea of having superpowers. If that’s you, just think of it as a handy built-in tool.

The downside (again) is that many of us are forced out of using those built-in tools by people who don’t want us to “seem autistic.” So, often, we never discover them, or are viciously forced to suppress them. Additionally, each of us has slightly different tools. For example, rocking might help me, but make someone else feel seasick.

The following is a short guide to how to find the tools that will get YOU out of overwhelm, or prevent you from even going into it.

First, you need some options for what your tools might be. I’ll put a bunch of suggestions at the end of this post. You may also have some things that have helped you in the past.

My experience was that I had a handful of things that I knew helped, but I didn’t use them consistently. Part of the purpose of this piece is to encourage you to be aware not only of what works for you, but of when you need to use it. It is A LOT easier to do this kind of self-care when you have a sense that it will actually work consistently, and a sense of how well it will work for you!!

Also, if you are the parent of an autistic child: this is the shit you should be teaching them. Thank you. Sincerely, a former autistic child.

STEP ONE: On a scale of 0-10, where 0 is “perfectly calm,” 5 is “getting overwhelmed,” and 10 is “already having a meltdown/shutdown,” rate how close you are to sensory overwhelm. 

Autistics, please note: it does not matter if you “get it right.” There really is no objective gauge for this. It doesn’t matter, because we are measuring how much (or whether) this number changes.

So if today you say you’re at a 7, and tomorrow you feel the same way but you have a better sense of how overwhelmed you can get and you now call the same feeling a 3… it doesn’t matter.

All we care about here is how far you currently feel like you are from 0, and then, how close we can get the number to 0. So just pick something that sounds pretty accurate. 

STEP TWO: Write it down. Please and thank you.

STEP THREE: Pick a thing to try.

STEP FOUR: Set a timer and try it for three minutes. UNLESS you hate it. If you hate it, or even just find it really annoying, please stop immediately, pick something else, and try THAT for three minutes.

(Please note: three minutes is a little bit of an arbitrary number. I find that it’s a pretty good amount of time to actually shift things, while not taking too long to try something else. But if you want to try it for more or less time, go right ahead. I do recommend trying everything (that you don’t immediately reject) for the same amount of time - it just doesn’t have to be three minutes long.)

STEP FIVE: Stop doing the thing, and gauge where you are on the same 0-10 scale.

STEP SIX: Write your current number down.

STEP SEVEN: If you have found something that significantly reduced your overwhelm, you can stop. I mean, you can stop any time anyway, I’m not the boss of you. But you don’t have to go through and test everything on the list below. Just find as many things as you want; or spend as much time doing this at once as you want. You can always do it again later if you want more tools.

That’s it!

anniegst served as my guinea pig for this method yesterday. Thanks, Annie!

She rated her overwhelm as an 8 initially. I found a no-talking, crinkle-sounds ASMR video and handed her the headphones. She almost immediately was like, “this is reaaaaallly annoying, sorry.”

I asked her if there were other sounds that would not be annoying. She said that she thought even white noise would be okay, like rain or something. I switched to the white noise app we both use (Relax and Sleep, which is awesome bc you can play more than one sound at once – it’s free on both Android and iOS) and put the fountain noise on.

She listened to it for about three minutes, and re-rated her overwhelm. As a 2!!

She said that she thought if she kept listening (or if the dog in the other room stopped barking) she would be able to get down to a zero.

I didn’t check in with her to see if she did. But I did get the dog to stop barking!

Here is the list of different things people said helped them, when I requested your “autistic swiss army knives”. There are A LOT OF THEM, and there are likely far more out there. I think this gives a great overview of the possibilities though, thanks everybody!!!!

I’ll give you the summary first: By far the most common ones were rocking, and pressure from blankets/sheets, either weighted or wrapped tightly. Flapping and music – in general or loud, or on repeat, or specific pieces – were also extremely popular. I’ve mostly tried to only put each of these once when many people suggested them, but I’ve included a few variants below.

There were also multiple people mentioning echolalia, chewing on things (gum/chew necklaces/toys/fingers), singing, playing with one’s hair, reading, drinking tea, playing with textures, drawing/coloring, and showering!

Try whatever you like, and enjoy!

Keep reading

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.

anonymous asked:

I read somewhere a while back that autistic people tend to have a deeper connection with music. Is that true? If so, why?

Deeper than what?

If you just meant “deep”, I’d say so. Music can be an SI, a stim, and a routine, separately or all at once. It’s a combination of math and art, both things that many of us excel at. Music is also one of the more obvious savant skills - while only a tiny fraction of Autistic people are savants, most savants are Autistic.

-Mod Valencia

anonymous asked:

“Look at our boy Ben! He’s some kind of autistic savant when it comes to keg stands. Apparently he’s like setting a world record right now or something.” Do you think this is ableist? It''s from a book I'm reading at the moment.

im too tired to think but honestly any mention of autistic ‘savants’ is probably extremely extremely ableist. in the context it seems like they’re trying to justify him by saying “no no, hes one of those special talented autistics” which is definitely ableist

Damn don’t get me wrong I love when autistic ppl are savants and do amazing shit but I feel like shit when the Allistics start to say shit like “it’s ssoooooo amazing how the autistic brain works” cause it

A) others autistic ppl from allistics
B) makes me, a non savant feel like a “bad autistic” for not being a savant and just living as nt passing as I can cope

Mark DeFriest. Believed to be an autistic savant was sentenced to four years in prison for ‘stealing’ tools left to him in his father’s will in 1979. Able to memorize and reproduce jailers’ keys simply by looking at them, he’s been imprisoned 36 years due to multiple escapes. source

images via dailymail

The problem with popular media’s fetishisation of autistic savantism is twofold:

  1. It leads to any exceptional talent on the part of an autistic person being regarded as some freakish hardwired “trick”, even if the individual in question has worked hard to achieve it.
  2. It leads to autistic folks who don’t display some extraordinary talent being regarded as broken or defective (even moreso than folks on the spectrum are already regarded as broken or defective, anyway).

The obsession with the autistic “savant” and assuming that anyone who claims to be autistic but doesn’t meet your stereotype of a “savant” autistic, isn’t actually autistic, is just so absurd. We’re disabled, not elves. It’s not like we’re the only ones secretly capable of finding/fixing the MacGuffin of the earth’s current problems.

Okay yes it’s true, autistic neurology does sometimes allow for some people to be called “savants”–but I think all of us are or can be “savants” at anything that becomes a special interest. What gets called a savant is a person with skills useful to ableism/capitalism. (Honestly, what the hell even is a “savant”?)

I’ve also come to the realization lately that so much art and technology would be impossible without autistic people–and thus without autism. Mozart and Einstein were probably autistic. Alan Turing was definitely autistic, and Charles Darwin probably was as well. Computers and the theories of evolution and relativity wouldn’t exist without autism. That’s something I try to take pride in–that as broken as I often feel, the existence of my neurotype has likely been essential to continued human survival. For example, without the theory of evolution, nothing else in biology makes sense. No theory of evolution means no vaccines, no gentle medicines, no understanding of modern medicine at all. No computers means no lightning fast way to crunch the data needed to make the best possible vaccine that gets delivered to your doctors’ office. Next time you get a flu shot, maybe, just maybe, give a small hat tip to the autistic neurology for making that possible. *

But an autistic also doesn’t have to be a savant to be autistic. It’s as if ableism pushes the idea that a disabled person has to be VERY VERY GOOD at something useful (in production/labor terms) in order to be considered a worthwhile person in any regard–oh wait, it absolutely does. That’s fucked up.

* I make funny joaks.


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

So i have just finished reading this amazing book called Born On A Blue Day. I am definitely not a reader but I think this book is an interesting and fairly easy book to read.

It is about an auto-biographical book about an autistic savant the author Daniel Tammet lives in the UK and has a very interesting life and letting the readers into his very puzzling (to me), intriguing, and extraordinary mind.


Born on a Blue Day

I just finished reading a new book “Born on a Blue Day”. Basically it’s about an Autistic Savant who overcomes all of his difficulties in life to live his life to the fullest. He even learned 7 different languages!

I absolutely LOVED this book. I highly recommend it. It really showed me that no matter what you’re given in life, you can still make your life beautiful and fulfilling. 


Derek Paravicini - British Musical Savant
Jacob Barnett,12, with higher IQ than Einstein develops his own theory of relativity.

A 12-year-old child prodigy has astounded university professors after grappling with some of the most advanced concepts in mathematics.

Jacob Barnett has an IQ of 170 - higher than Albert Einstein - and is now so far advanced in his Indiana university studies that professors are lining him up for a PHD research role.

The boy wonder, who taught himself calculus, algebra, geometry and trigonometry in a week, is now tutoring fellow college classmates after hours.

And now Jake has embarked on his most ambitious project yet - his own ‘expanded version of Einstein’s theory of relativity’.

His mother, not sure if her child was talking nonsense or genius, sent a video of his theory to the renowned Institute for Advanced Study near Princeton University.

According to the Indiana Star, Institute astrophysics professor Scott Tremaine  -himself a world renowned expert - confirmed the authenticity of Jake’s theory.

In an email to the family, Tremaine wrote: 'I’m impressed by his interest in physics and the amount that he has learned so far.

'The theory that he’s working on involves several of the toughest problems in astrophysics and theoretical physics.

'Anyone who solves these will be in line for a Nobel Prize.’

Jake was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome, a mild form of autism, from an early age.

His parents were worried when he didn’t talk until the age of two, suspecting he was educationally abnormal.

It was only as he began to grow up that they realised just how special his gift was.

He would fill up note pads of paper with drawings of complex geometrical shapes and calculations, before picking up felt tip pens and writing equations on windows.

By the age of three he was solving 5,000-piece puzzles and he even studied a state road map, reciting every highway and license plate prefix from memory.

By the age of eight he had left high school and was attending Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis advanced astrophysics classes.