It’s not unusual for the parents of a child having autism, to be told by someone that autism implies great ability and intelligence. The reality, however, is that in extremely rare cases a child may be an autism savant. While children with autism are often intelligent and can be a great asset to the society, autism savants are quite uncommon.
A savant is a person who has significant challenges that belie their extreme and unique capabilities in one particular area. In many cases, an autism savant may have poor IQ or other challenges, but they show extraordinary skills in some work, knowingly or unknowingly.
It’s tempting for the family of the child see autism savant as a positive thing. Savants, after all, are impressive people often having special abilities more than any ordinary person. But the reality is that the life of an autism savant may not be easier than neuro-typical people. It is, in fact, difficult in most cases.
The extraordinary abilities of autism savants can be channeled or expanded in useful directions. For instance, a uniquely talented artist or musician may be able to sell his/her work (usually through parents or managers).
Autism savant, in most cases, are “splinter skills.” It means that while such skills are real and important, they have no use in daily life. Reciting the pages of a phone book from memory may be an extraordinary feat but has no meaningful purpose in real life.