Savantism: Does it only affect those developmentally disabled?

I’m curious, does “Savant Syndrome” or Savantism only occur in those with developmental delays? I was reading the Wikipedia article and it states that “50% of savants are autistic; the other 50% have different disabilities, mental retardation, brain injury or a brain disease.” I’m curious, does it also affect someone who has a sense deprivation?

The reason I’m asking this is that I had taken twickster’s Twicky Gimmick to a friend of mine for some assistance. He was curious and didn’t quite have the time to puzzle over it, so he gave it to his wife because she is really good with things like that. His wife is blind and has an uncanny ability with the written word.

Within 24 hours of him sending her the “twicky gimmick” via IM, she responded back with this.

“Do not post instant communications with such insidious forms of word play as though you know naught of any ramifications which might occur from such an act. Luckily, my frying pan is cast iron, and thus contains nothing that such word play forbids. Oops, I didn’t fully follow that thought to its natural conclusion, and thus forgot that an atomic symbol for iron contains a particular glyph, and its banishing was the initial point in composing this awkward communication. But, know now that if I find a frying pan that is aluminum and not iron, I shall visit your doom upon you.”

She is amazing…

I can’t answer your question – but will say that she’s a hell of a lot more fluent in gimmickese than I am. Tell her I said “Aloha! Hola!” :smiley:

I’ll tell her! Thanks for replying.

I think by definition being a savant requires you be severely compromised in most areas or function. But there certainly are “normal” people who are unusually good at mathematics.

I’m a little unclear on your question…

You can be a genius without any developmental delays (although it’s certainly common to be a genius and still be a little nutty).

The term Savant Syndrome or Savantism is a modern term to describe a person who would have been referred to as an Idiot Savant in past years. The “idiot” part referred to a generally low IQ and the “savant” part to an area of exceptional ability. Because it’s not an exact clinical definition, the term came to embrace anyone who is exceptional in a fairly focused area but significantly less capable in most others.

It’s common for someone with a physical disability to have heightened capability in other areas–a blind individual with a very good sense of smell, say–but that’s not really the same thing. Developmental delays–true retardation–in association with exceptional ability in a focused area would meet the traditional use of the term.

I was a little sorry to see the term Idiot Savant slip away because I liked to reassure my brother he was an Idiot Savant–we just needed to find the Savant part. However the word Idiot has long since lost any purely medical meaning and has become more or less insulting so it does seem appropriate not to apply it to people with real disability.