Autistic Special Abilities - Children with autism display a wide range of intellectual abilities - Bright Tots - Information on child development - Autism information.  www.brighttots.com
Autistic Special Abilities
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Autistic Special Abilities
Children with autism display a wide range of intellectual abilities, from profound mental deficiency to superior intelligence. It is
generally thought that less than 30 percent of autistic individuals have intelligence in the normal range. Some autistic persons
show exceptional talents despite functional disability in general. Along with the difficulties, autism can bring individual strengths
along with special abilities. Some of these include strong memory skills, math skills, three-dimensional thinking, musical ability,
artistic ability, honesty, and the ability to intensely focus on an interest.

Many individuals with autism do have "splinter skills” or “islets of ability”. Sometimes people with autism show talent in a
specific area of interest. About 1 in 10 of individuals with autism have specific skills in which they excel, far beyond the average
population. Some children with autism may have special talents, such as artistic abilities (exceptional drawing), musical abilities
(play instruments), and rote memory (numerical calculations).

Not every person with autism is a savant. Ten percent of people with autism have been reported to demonstrate savant abilities in
music, drawing, or calculation. Savant is a rare condition in which persons with developmental disorders (including autism
spectrum disorders) have one or more areas of expertise, ability or brilliance. Some individuals with savant syndrome may have
little or no impaired cognitive functioning with their autism.

Other special abilities include:

•        Identifying the days of the week on which any date fell or will fall in a wide span of years, commonly known as calendar
calculation.

•        Reading fluently at a very young age though not necessarily comprehending the text well.

•        Memorizing huge chunks of facts about favorite subjects.

•        Dismantling and reassembling complex machines, such as radios.

•        Working with computers

The above are just an example of the amazing talents that have been observed in children with autism.

People with autism often perform well in tests that involve visual-spatial abilities, such as fixing jigsaw puzzles, or matching
shapes. While verbal or language tests are more of a challenge for them. A small percentage of children may do better on verbal
tests but this is usually when the tests require a good rote memory rather than understanding abstract ideas (views which are not
physical such as freedom and principles) or social rules.

Rote Memory Ability

Many children with autism have an excellent rote memory. A number of children can memorize large amounts of material, which
seem to have no practical use, ex. an encyclopedia index page. They can store huge lists of items in their minds, for extended
periods, and repeat them accurately.

Artistic Talents

A small number of children with autism show exceptional artistic and/or drawing talent. Art offers children sensorial experiences,
a sense of mastery and self esteem, all of which have been proven to be critical importance to all children. For example,
researchers and professionals have successfully used art as a means of increasing social interactions among children with autism.
Art offers other benefits such as positive emotional development to children on the autism spectrum.

Calculation skills

Some children on the autism spectrum also have the ability to say on which day of the week any date will fall. This is unlikely to
be a form of rote-memorization, it seems as if they understand the rules governing dates and are able to automatically apply them
very rapidly. They can be quicker than even mathematicians who have worked out the formulas for calendar calculation.
Occasionally, children with autism also have quick mathematical calculation, they’ re able to mentally add, subtract, multiply and
divide large numbers at astonishing speeds.

Musical Talents

Many children with autism spectrum disorder have outstanding abilities in tone recognition. Children with autism can be highly
methodical listeners and are able to access musical details more readily than typically developing children. Some autistic children
display exceptional musical abilities.
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