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Savant Syndrome: Clinical and Neuropsychological Features

İbrahim Durukan, Tümer Türkbay.

Savant syndrome defines the people who have severe developmental and mental disabilities but also have extraordinary mental skills which are missing in many people. Although general mental capacity is under average mental level, savant has excessive knowledge about one or more domains. It is accepted that as many as one in 10 persons with autistic disorder have such remarkable abilities in varying degrees, although savant syndrome occurs in other developmental disabilities or in other types of central nervous system injury or disease as well. Males outnumber females by an approximate 6 : 1 ratio in savant syndrome. Savant skills are limited to five general categories. These are music, art, calender calculating, mathematics and mechanical or spatial skills. Savant skills can also be divided into three as savants who have splinter skills, talented savants and prodigious savants. A remarkable memory welds to the special abilities determined in savant syndrome. Savant syndrome can be congenital or it can be acquired. Most often savant skills emerge in childhood, superimposed on some underlying developmental disability present at birth. However, acquired savant skills can also appear, when none were previously present, in neurotypical individuals following brain injury or disease later in infancy, childhood or adult life. Savant skills don’t depend on only rote memory. It is approved that an enhanced or spared ability to represent and manipulate highly organised domain-specific information. Various theoretic models were defined to explain the neuropsychological profile in savant syndrome. Interest in savants has a long history, stretching back to the early 18th century; nevertheless, the savant syndrome remains as much a mystery now as it did when it was first described. Given that many questions about the existence and nature of savant talent remain unanswered, it seems likely that research efforts will continue unabated.

Key words: Savant, Autism, Memory, Talent, Savant Syndrome

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