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ORIGINAL PAPERSavant Syndrome: Realities, Myths and MisconceptionsDarold A. TreffertPublished online: 6 August 2013ÓSpringer Science+Business Media New York 2013AbstractIt was 126 years ago that Down first describedsavant syndrome as a specific condition and 70 years agothat Kanner first described Early Infantile Autism. While asmany as one in ten autistic persons have savant abilities,such special skills occur in other CNS conditions as wellsuch that approximately 50 % of cases of savant syndromehave autism as the underlying developmental disability and50 % are associated with other disabilities. This paper sortsout realities from myths and misconceptions about bothsavant syndrome and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) thathave developed through the years. The reality is that lowIQ is not necessarily an accompaniment of savant syn-drome; in some cases IQ can be superior. Also, savants canbe creative, rather than just duplicative, and the skillsincrease over time on a continuum from duplication, toimprovisation to creation, rather than diminishing or sud-denly disappearing. Genius and prodigy exist separate fromsavant syndrome and not all such highly gifted personshave Asperger’s Disorder. This paper also emphasizes thecritical importance of separating ‘autistic-like’ symptomsfrom ASD especially in children when the savant abilitypresents as hyperlexia (children who read early) or asEinstein syndrome (children who speak late), or haveimpaired vision (Blindisms) because prognosis and out-come are very different when that careful distinction ismade. In those cases the term ‘outgrowing autism’ mightbe mistakenly applied when in fact the child did not haveASD in the first place.KeywordsSavant syndromeÁAutismÁAutismspectrum disorderÁHyperlexiaÁEinstein syndromeRealitiesSavant Syndrome DefinedSavant syndrome is a rare but spectacular condition inwhich persons with developmental disabilities, includingbut not limited to autism, or other CNS disorders or diseasehave some spectacular ‘islands of genius’ that stand injarring juxtaposition to overall limitations. (Treffert2010)The condition can be present from birth and evident inearly childhood (congenital) or develop later in life afterCNS injury or disease (acquired). It affects males 4–6 timesmore frequently than females. Typically the skills occur infivegeneralareas—music,art,calendarcalculating,mathematicsormechanical/visual-spatialskills.Otherskills occur less frequently including language (polyglot),unusual sensory discrimination, athletics or outstandingknowledge in specific fields such as neurophysiology, sta-tistics, navigation or computers, for example. Skills areusually single skills, but multiple skills can occur as well.