Autism and Savants
My colleague and friend Dan Olmsted wrote an article about autism and savantism for Spectrum Magazine. You can read it HERE. The following provides a taste:
Lately I’ve been trying to make sense of savants. What is the relationship between autism and the extraordinary abilities that, in a small percentage of cases, accompany it? Rain Man put both autism and savant skills on the map and may have created a bias toward believing that they go together a lot more often than they do.
I’ve written in Spectrum about my reporting that suggests the early cases of autism in this country can be connected to organic mercury – in fungicides and vaccines. Donald T., for example, lives in the aptly named Forest, Miss., in the middle of a national forest and not far from where mercury was first tested as a lumber preservative. (That may seem like a reach, but consider that Case 2 was the son of a forestry professor in the south, and Case 3 the son of a plant pathologist.)