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org/savant_syndrome/overview_of_savant_syndro me/synopsis "Training The Talent": Successful Education Approaches Etiologic considerations aside, what is the best approach to the savant and his or her special skills? Phillips framed the controversy in 1930 when he stated: "The problem of treatment comes next… is it better to eliminate the defects or train the talent?". Experience has given the answer — train the talent and some of the "defect" subsides. The special talent, in fact, becomes a conduit toward normalization, using the unique savant skills to achieve better socialization, language acquisition and independence, all without the trade-off or loss of special abilities for those valuable gains in other areas of functioning. The special skills can be used as a way of engaging the attention of the savant and rather than seeing the special abilities as frivolous, they can be used as a form of expression with the goal of channeling those abilities more usefully. Clark developed a Savant Skill Curriculum using a combination of successful strategies currently employed in the education of gifted children (enrichment, acceleration and mentorship) and autism education (visual supports and social stories) in an attempt to channel and apply, usefully, the often nonfunctional obsessive savant and splinter skills of a group of students with autism66. This special curriculum proved highly successful in the functional application of savant skills and an overall reduction in the level of autistic behaviors in many subjects. Improvements in behavior, social skills and academic self-efficacy were reported, along with gain in the communication skills of some subjects. Donnelly and Altman note that increasing numbers of "gifted students with autism" are now being included in gifted and talented classrooms with nondisabled gifted peers67. Along with such inclusion, they outline some of the other special approaches that are effective with the gifted student with autism, including an adult mentor in the field of their talent, individual counseling, and small group social skills training. Some specialized schools are emerging as well. For example, Soundscape Centre in London recently began operating as the only specialized educational facility in the world uniquely dedicated to the needs and potential of persons with sight loss and special musical abilities, including musical savants68. Orion Academy (www.orionacademy.org) in Moraga, California specializes in providing a positive educational experience for high school students with Asperger's Syndrome. Hope
and be shown acceptance by the people who gives care for them. that savant aptitudes do not translate into wondrous talents without reinforcement. so they don't need lessons. In adults. in many cases it takes hundreds of hours of practice for the talent to emerge in the first place. Its mission is to "train the talents and diminish the disability" through the use of fine arts therapy including visual arts. they may develop better attention towards daily living skills. Actually. and repetition over the course of countless hours. communication skills and their interaction towards other people. Experience had shown that trying to keep them away from their skills may prove to be detrimental for them. these skills increase in almost all cases.org/myths. music. but they still need to practice. 2005 http://www. and storytelling. prodigious savant talents have usually been honed over the course of a lifetime. Through continuous supervised training. Savants should not be denied if they want to practice their talents.hopeu. Everyone likes approval but the emotional needs of savants are demanding. Most savants are always practicing their special skills. How to Deal With Savant Syndrome Patients http://beatsme.savantacademy. though some savants. however. appear to perform calculations without any conscious attention. Another important thing to remember about savants is that they must be praised. when savants are encouraged with their skills. 2011 Savant Syndrome It is noted that savant skills persist within the life of the person and with continued practice. . Educators of savants should assist in the functional use of their talents.hubpages. in particular mathematical and „calendar calculating‟ savants.com/hub/Savant-Syndrome March 20. In fact. drama. It is clear.php Savants have a natural gift. encouraged. Common Myths About Savants October 23th. dance. Savants teach themselves. their defects tend to subside in time. encouragement.University (www.com) in Anaheim California is a fine arts facility for adults with developmental disabilities.
a girl with autism who by the age of three was producing astounding drawings. she apparently lost her artistic talent. Fortunately. it is not unusual for a young musical savant to approach a piano with fists or karate chops. by her sixth year. can be helpful in developing many other skills that allow the savant to communicate with the larger world. it is important that savants receive early and specialized technical guidance so that they do not develop idiosyncratic techniques which hamper them later in life. Treffert and Gregory L. and that her artistic gift withered for a lack of praise and reinforcement. Especially in the case of music. Island of genius JUNE 2002 Darold A. It is possible that Nadia simply lost her main source of encouragement. For example. by the time she was a teenager. particularly as they learn language. Nadia was the subject of a widely-quoted 1977 book by British psychologist Lorna Selfe. Nadia's loss of interest in drawing came in a shift in her care environment. In fact.pdf Living with Savant Syndrome A FEW REPORTS in the literature suggest that when savants are encouraged to acquire better language skills they lose their special artistic talents.sunysuffolk. When she turned seven. Savant skills are a very useful „conduit toward normalization‟ in and of themselves. demonstrated an astonishing ability to draw in what was described as „Renaissance-style‟ perspective. Savants often lose their special ability as they are encouraged along more „normal‟ lines of socialization.Savants are strongly self-motivated. . and when they exist. Nadia entered a school for autistic children that focused on verbal abilities. Selfe suggested a trade-off between language and artistic skills: that as language skills were refined. As Nadia gained communicative speech later in childhood. Nadia was more verbal but could no longer create brilliant and intricate drawings. and mostly in the wake of her mother's death. Wallace http://www2. “Nadia” was an autistic savant artist who. Perhaps the most famous of these cases is that of Nadia. but most can benefit from instruction and guidance. such trade-offs are rare. or to develop elaborate self-schooled techniques that avoid the use of the thumb.edu/benharm/Articles/islands%20of%20genius%20%20treffert%20and%20wallace%20. special artistic skills waned or disappeared.
these skills have helped individuals develop improved social skills. in the movie Rain Man. an opportunity that promotes social growth for both them and their classmates. he now travels the country talking to hundreds of school groups. music. Savants are being placed in some classes for the gifted and talented. allows them to participate more fully in the world.wisconsinmedicalsociety. despite their often severely incapacitating disabilities in communication. Musical prodigy Leslie Lemke has become more animated. And memory wizard Kim Peek has emerged from the social isolation that characterized him before the movie Rain Man was made. social and on occasions. Some new programs. Savant gifts. art. They are possibly the least recognised and underserved group of gifted underachievers. performing concerts and interacting with audiences. often display remarkable gifts or splinter skills in one or several domains. Dustin Hoffman. Others include people with similar disorders as well. calendar calculation. or may be in fact prodigious when viewed in relation to the non-disabled person. Savants gain a sense of accomplishment because of their talent. mathematical calculation. mechanical or spatial skill. played the character of Raymond. sensory sensitivity. These skills may be remarkable in contrast to the disability of autism. and computer ability. Instead the exceptional abilities of savants have proved to be strengths that are built on and used as a conduit toward normalization. better language acquisition and greater independence.This trade-off between talent and language or socialization is not something we have witnessed. Fortunately. an autistic savant who displayed remarkable intellectual talent but was unable to function . simultaneously encouraging savant abilities and normalization is proving to be the accepted approach to such individuals‟ care. athletic performance. that sense. many of whom have savant-like musical skills The Application of Savant and Splinter Skills in the Autistic Population Through an Educational Curriculum By Doctor Trevor Clark http://www. hyperlexia (ie the exceptional ability to read. These gifted children. may be exhibited in the following skill areas or domains: memory.org/savant_syndrome/savant_articles/splinterskill Among the underserved minority of gifted children with disabilities are a group of children referred to as autistic savants. music and art camps have been established for those with Williams syndrome. for example. such as the one at Hope University in Anaheim. or splinter skills. Calif. Painter Richard Wawro feels delight and excitement when he finishes a work. in turn. and he seeks out celebration. intellectual development. cater entirely to these exceptional individuals. spell and write)..
Born in 1989 in Quezon City.org/savant_syndrome/savant_profiles/thristan_men doza 2011 Thristan Mendoza. Philippines. These skills appear to have little functional application or meaning for the autistic savant and are often referred to as anomalous talents or skills. With inborn perfect pitch. MD http://www.wisconsinmedicalsociety. Montessori Center. In conclusion. the autistic savant. is an internationally-recognized marimba virtuoso. or "Tum-Tum" as he is fondly called. the O.B. social skills and academic self-esteem were observed. the often non-functional obsessive savant and splinter skills of a group of students with autism. The prodigious gifts or talents of the majority of autistic savants are exhibited in obsessive and unproductive behaviors. a combination of gifted and autism educational strategies are successful in educating the gifted child with autism. he learned to play the marimba at age 5. This positive approach applies equally to the education of all students with autism.productively or independently. Using a strengths rather than a deficits approach centred upon interests and abilities should be used to teach adaptive behaviours for the child with autism. Educators and caregivers should attempt to facilitate the functional use of savant and splinter skills in individual educational programmes. Gains in behaviour. Improvements in the communication skills of some subjects were also reported. He was diagnosed with autism at age 2 1/2. The Savant Skills Curriculum proved highly successful in the functional application of savant skills and an overall reduction in the level of autism for many subjects.A Child Prodigy Marimbist With Autism from the Philippines By Darold Treffert. this study was a 'world-first'. In the design and implementation of a differentiated curriculum for a group of autistic savants. He also did excel in the Japanese Kumon method of mathematics but had to be . functionally. Thristan "Tum-Tum" Mendoza . he is now a 6th grader in the regular curriculum at a traditional school. This study trialed an educational curriculum (the Savant Skill Curriculum) using a combination of successful strategies currently employed in the education of gifted children (enrichment. acceleration and mentorship) and autism education (visual supports and social stories) in the attempt to apply.
What is the best educational approach for these special persons? Should the artificial distinction be maintained. Treffert.autismtoday. or superimposed upon. They continue to grow and excel. Tum-Tum's extraordinary ability has served as a conduit toward normalization for him through the unique. but to the benefit of his classmates and the rest of us as well. or some other form of central nervous system disease or disorder. too limiting and too confining. http://www. His special musical talent cuts across and through any such 'disability' boundaries to the benefit not only of Tum Tum. classifications and categories that have been too arbitrary. instead. as it were. flexible and innovative educational approach used in conjunction with the other therapies provided him as well. There have been continuous gains in language and social skills. in a group of other gifted and talented children without artificially separating the disabled from the non-disabled. Tum Tum's experience and growth challenges us to look closely at these vital educational questions for the savant without the typical stereotypes. it would be those treatment and rehabilitation efforts as directed toward overcoming the residual symptoms from such injury. such as Autism or Asperger's disorder. As with other prodigious savants. MD What is the 'treatment' for savant syndrome? Savant Syndrome is not a disorder or disease by itself. as it is in some programs.asp?name=Darold%20Treffert Savant Syndrome: Frequently Asked Questions Darold A. for example. There has been no trade off of special skills for gains in other areas of daily functioning. between the "gifted and talented" non-disabled children and the "disabled gifted". Thristen Mendoza's remarkable progress raises important questions that other prodigious savants present as well. in the classroom setting? Tum Tum is a sparkling example of the benefits of "mainstreaming" him. That reevaluation is underway in a number of centers and locales. a more basic brain dysfunction that rises from a developmental disability. Therefore the 'treatment' for savant syndrome is the same treatment as that directed toward the more basic central nervous system disorder. a condition in which extraordinary skills and prodigious memory are grafted onto. to both specially gifted groups when they are combined. rather than separated. Meanwhile his special musical gifts have not diminished.com/articles/savant_faq. Or in the case of persons with some other form of CNS injury. Instead.withdrawn from Kumon to shift his concentration to other subjects as he was far ahead of his other classmates in his math abilities. It is. and what benefits accrue. for example. both have prospered. . such as the savant? Is it possible.
and improved mastery of even daily living skills with movement. injury or disease. In many cases those extraordinary abilities can be used as a way of engaging the handicapped person in improved communication capacity. can be used as a useful tool in the overall treatment and rehabilitation efforts directed toward overcoming or lessening the handicaps from the more basic developmental disorder.The special skills and abilities the savant demonstrates. however. . than. improved social interaction. In that manner the savant skills can serve as a 'conduit toward normalization' for the savant and there are many individual examples of that posted on this web site and recorded in numerous other case reports and individual stories. toward greater independence overall.