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2ukenkerl
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01 Jan 2010, 4:29 pm

Savant syndrome can NOT be diagnosed with a PET scan. And WHAT lawyer would really want to advertise that they have AS? AS has REAL and perceived symptoms that might disuade one from hiring such a person as a lawyer. Usually when someone says they are the ONLY one in such a large group, they really haven't checked.



bhetti
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01 Jan 2010, 4:36 pm

Meadow wrote:
That's funny that you want her to differentiate for you on any specifics. It all plays together anyway and an individual isn't expected to talk in a diagnostic/specific fashion about their own condition or necessarily be able to differentiate those things to begin with. Who are you to judge this person about what they say is true for them? I just don't get your whole attitude and find it rather offensive and intrusive.

Edit: I see you are doing the same thing to me and I don't wish to speak to it.

I don't get what you're saying.

I didn't ask her to differentiate on any specifics of her diagnosis. I'm looking for perspective here because I'm not seeing how savantism is a disability. she engaged me in conversation, then she cut me off using autistic savant as her reason (my impression is that it's an excuse, but that's why I'm here asking for other people's perspectives). I don't have a problem with her misunderstanding me. I don't have a problem with HFA causing communication challenges. I just really don't understand how savantism is a factor, which is what I'm trying to understand.

so I'm trying to educate myself at least a little on savantism, and Callista's information on splinter skills was really helpful and led me to a bunch of useful articles.

I'd still like to be able to get the perspective of autistic savants about whether savantism or savant skills are a disability to them or an impediment to communication. why is that a problem?

also disbelieving her claim that she's the only autistic to pass the bar isn't unreasonable, given that a lot of people on the spectrum find law of great interest. I didn't say she's lying, though. even if 100 other dx'd lawyers turned up, it doesn't mean she's lying, she could just be misinformed.



Meadow
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01 Jan 2010, 4:48 pm

That's between you and her, Bhetti.

As for myself, I don't differentiate between the autism and savantism as you say. I'm grateful for the capability I do have artistically. It is significant for a reason. In a more primitive society, I might be killed altogether for my lack of capabilities, otherwise. It's just that simple for me and I'm not here to dissect or be dissected. Like all humans, we are complicated and for me it is just that much more so for a myriad of reasons which are not all associated with my neurological disability.



bhetti
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01 Jan 2010, 8:02 pm

Meadow wrote:
That's between you and her, Bhetti.

As for myself, I don't differentiate between the autism and savantism as you say. I'm grateful for the capability I do have artistically. It is significant for a reason. In a more primitive society, I might be killed altogether for my lack of capabilities, otherwise. It's just that simple for me and I'm not here to dissect or be dissected. Like all humans, we are complicated and for me it is just that much more so for a myriad of reasons which are not all associated with my neurological disability.
thanks for the perspective. I'm not here to dissect anyone, but I am trying to understand this particular issue. if it offends you I'd rather you disengage from the topic, please, rather than imply I have no right to ask. I'm not out to dissect anyone. I'm looking for information and savantism was presented as a disability.

it makes me wonder if I didn't have AS, would I have my artistic/analytical skills? I'd definitely miss the analytical skills, but I haven't had much opportunity to use my artistic skills although I'm trying to change that. if my artistic skills are savantism or splinter skills I'd have no way of knowing and they've never been a problem for me except for my mother's pushing me into one narrow avenue of self-expression, which as I said made me resent being an artist, but I'd never consider them a disability or caused by a disability and I remain puzzled why anyone would.

I guess the next thing I'll try to understand is how autistic savants are different from autistics in general. if the term "autistic savant" is a diagnosis, is it a single or dual diagnosis? it seems as strange to me to consider it a single diagnosis the same way I find it strange not to separate IQ and functioning into different scales when pasting a label on someone.



Meadow
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01 Jan 2010, 8:17 pm

I don't get caught up in the diagnostic aspects or labels but I hope you find the answers you seek.



bhetti
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01 Jan 2010, 8:25 pm

2ukenkerl wrote:
Savant syndrome can NOT be diagnosed with a PET scan.
I've only found references to one study of unique brain activity in adults with savant syndrome that developed after brain damage and one autistic child with savant syndrome. I've found no references to PET scan being used as a diagnostic tool, but plenty of references of studying the brains of people already identified as savants.



LostInSpace
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01 Jan 2010, 8:53 pm

bhetti wrote:
2ukenkerl wrote:
Savant syndrome can NOT be diagnosed with a PET scan.
I've only found references to one study of unique brain activity in adults with savant syndrome that developed after brain damage and one autistic child with savant syndrome. I've found no references to PET scan being used as a diagnostic tool, but plenty of references of studying the brains of people already identified as savants.


Is it possible that this woman misunderstood the purpose of the PET scan? I too can't see how you can "diagnose" savantism with a PET scan, but as you said, researchers are very interested in conducting studies with savants using PET scans. Maybe the woman was diagnosed and given the PET scan around the same time, so that she thought that the PET scan was the diagnostic test. Like, maybe she volunteered for a savant study believing she had savant traits, and the researchers then diagnosed her officially with savantism and conducted a PET scan as part of the research. Or maybe the facility where she was diagnosed referred her to a study.


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bhetti
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02 Jan 2010, 12:44 am

unknown... she seems to have been diagnosed with autism as a child and was lucky enough to have a very supportive parent. from what she's written, she was diagnosed as high functioning autistic with savant abilities as an adult, but when she says she's among the small number of savants existing today (less than 100, many of whom are mentioned by name in articles because of their extreme talents), she seems to be putting herself into the group of "genius" savants, which she states is based on her PET scan results. it's a bit confusing because she identifies herself with a small elite group of disabled savant geniuses, but her diagnosis is savant abilities, which seem to be fairly common amongst people on the spectrum from what I'm reading.

I did turn up some informative articles, if anyone is interested:
Neuropsychological studies of savant skills: can they inform the neuroscience of giftedness?
Wisconsin Medical Society overview of savant syndrome information
I'm also working my way through an article by Gregory Wallace called "Neuropsychological Studies of Savant Skills: Can They Inform the Neuroscience of Giftedness?" and some research by Boddaert that suggests PET scans will show atypical activity in prodigies as well as low IQ savants because the prodigious skill relies on an ability to use memory that average or even talented people don't have.

what I haven't found out so far is if the brains of the one in ten or so autistics with savant skills would light up a PET scan in the same way when they're engaged in their particular skill/special interest. the information may not be out there. if it is, I'd like to read it.



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02 Jan 2010, 12:59 am

What I'd like to know, if I could get hold of a PET scanner (or an fMRI, that'd be even better), is what my brain, and other autistic peoples' brains, look like when we're engaged in special interests. Not savant skills, but the sort of pastime that's just all-consuming and fascinating and takes up all your time until you're pretty much an expert on it, unexpectedly fast, when nobody else around you knows the first thing about it. I am quite certain there is an unusual sort of learning involved in special interests; the unusually high level of skill, compared to the typical level of skill of an NT with a hobby, has to come from somewhere, and I'm betting there's something about motivation, or the reward system, or possibly concentration, that's spurring us to learn about our specialist subjects so deeply and so well.


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bhetti
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02 Jan 2010, 5:20 pm

that would indeed be of interest, Callista!

I've been searching medical journals and all autistic brain activity studies seem to be done using standard task sets. I haven't found one yet that addresses what happens in our heads when we are absorbed in our special interests.

since savant skills rely on complex memory patterns not found in average people, it makes me wonder if the same patterns would fire up when any autistic gets into their special interest zone whether it's considered a savant splinter skill or not. maybe the degree to which the multiple brain locations fire up will be different, but I think someone with a fMRI and research money should look into this!