ABOUT THIS BOOK
- A wide-ranging exploration of one of the most mysterious facets of autism - its connection with special talents - shedding light on an issue that has long fascinated the public
- Examines the current cognitive theories, the brain basis for special talents, and the representation of autism and talent in fiction
- Contains colour pictures of savant art, child art and outsider art, highlighting the creativity of autistic artists
Autism spectrum conditions affect as many as one in a hundred people. One of the most startling aspects of this social-communication disorder is the high rate of special, or savant, skills. Around 10% of people with autism are thought to have a striking skill in music, art, calculation, or memory. So why might people with severe social-communication impairments be predisposed to develop perfect pitch, photographic-like memory, or lightening calculation?
This book explores the puzzle of talent and its close association with autism. Expert contributors from many areas of both science and the arts describe the latest research - using brain scanning, experimental tasks, twin studies, and case histories of extraordinary savants. It considers the many puzzling questions that the relationship between autism and talent raises: Do similar genetic effects predispose for talent and for autism? What is the role of obsessive practice? Could we all become savants? What is special in the brains of people with savant skills? Is detail-focus at the root of talent in individuals with and without autism? How can talents best be fostered in children and adults with social and communication difficulties?
With contributions from some of the leading authorities in the world, the book tries to unravel the mystery of savant skills in autism, as well as reflecting on the very different way that people with autism (with or without talent) see and understand the world. It will be of great interest to a broad readership across the sciences, arts, and humanities
Readership: Psychologists, philosophers, those in the arts, parents and professionals working with people with autism and students.
Edited by Francesca Happé, Kings College London, and Uta Frith, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London
"It is fascinating reading for clinicians, researchers, and families of
autistic individuals" - Doody's Notes
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1: Francesca Happé and Uta Frith: Introduction: The beautiful otherness
of the autistic mind
2: Darold A. Treffert: The savant syndrome: an extraordinary condition.
3: Patricia Howlin, Susan Goode, Jane Hutton, Michael Rutter: Savant skills in autism: psychometric approaches and parental reports
4: Francesca Happé, Pedro Vital: What aspects of autism predispose to talent?
5: Simon Baron-Cohen, Emma Ashwin, Chris Ashwin, Teresa Tavassoli, Bhismadev Chakrabarti: Talent in autism: hyper-systemizing, hyper-attentin to detail, and sensory hypersensitivity
6: Laurent Mottron, Michelle Dawson, Isabelle Soulieres: Enhanced perception in savant syndrome: patterns, structure, and creativity
7: Kate Plaisted Grant, Greg Davis: Perception and appreception in autism: rejecting the inverse assumption
8: Allan Snyder: Explaining and inducing savant skills: privileged access to lower level, less processed information
9: Katherine Woollett, Eleanor A. Maguire, and Hugo J. Spiers: Talent in the taxi: a model system for exploring expertise
10: Richard Cowan and Chris Frith: Do calendrical savants use calculation to answer date questions? A functional magnetic resonance imaging study
11: Gregory L. Wallace, Francesca Happé, and Jay N. Giedd: A case study of a multiply talented savant with an autism spectrum disorder
12: Manuel Casonova and Juan Trippe: Radical Cytoarchitecture and patterns of cortical connectivity in autism
13: Temple Grandin: How does visual thinking work in the mind of a person with autism?: A personal account
14: Pamel Heaton: Assessing musical skills in autistic children who are not savants
15: Jennifer E. Drake and Ellen Winner: Precocious realists: perceptual and cognitive characteristics associated with drawing talent in non-autistic children
16: Roger Cardinal: Outsider Art and the Autistic Creator
17: Ian Hacking: Autistic Autobiography
18: Douwe Draaisma: Stereotypes of Autism