Darold Treffert quotes

  • A savant, by definition, is somebody who has a disability and, along with that disability, has some remarkable ability. Prodigies and geniuses have the remarkable abilities that the savant shows, but they do not have a disability. So, by definition, a savant includes someone with a disability, and a prodigy or genius are people who have these remarkable skills but they do not have a disability.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Skills #People #Genius

  • With respect to why some acquired savants are musical, and some are good at the arts, and some are mathematical, why aren't they all the same; I think that has to do with this genetic endowment that all of us have.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Art #Thinking #Musical

  • Savant syndrome and autism, I think, are not disorders of brain structure, but they're disorders of brain function.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Thinking #Autism #Brain

  • Savant syndrome is not a disorder in the same way as autism is a disorder or dementia is a disorder. Savant syndrome are some conditions that are superimposed and grafted on to some underlying disability. So savant syndrome is not a disease or disorder in and of itself. It is a collection of characteristics, or symptoms, or behaviors that have grafted on to the underlying disability.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Autism #Disease #Way

  • Now I realize, and I acknowledge, that the right brain/left brain distinction is a tremendous oversimplification. We don't come neatly divided into right and left hemispheres, but the fact is that the two hemispheres of the brain do specialize in certain functions.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Two #Brain #Hemisphere

  • The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names in research.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Names #Research

  • Savant syndrome, characteristically, consists of left hemisphere dysfunction coupled with right hemisphere emergence, and what you see in the savant are basically right brain skills.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Skills #Dysfunction #Brain

  • When you first try to learn to ride a bike, you work very carefully at keeping your balance, and trying to keep one pedal in front of the other, and all that, and all of a sudden, ah, you know, I got it. And that's true of skiing, or it's true of all kinds of things.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Balance #Trying #Firsts

  • When I met my first savant in 1962, I was impressed by the abilities in these youngsters who had severe disabilities. They appeared to me to be islands of genius in the sea of disability. So I've maintained that word picture since that time, of these islands of genius that are so striking and so jarring when you see them, especially in people who have severe disability.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Islands #Sea #People

  • Not everyone who has a savant skill I would equate with a genius.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Skills #Genius #Savants

  • We have medicalized a lot of things that I think are not really medical conditions.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Thinking #Medical #Medical Conditions

  • Parents don't particularly care whether it's early infantile autism or whatever label the clinicians have put on it. All they want is treatment, and they want what's best for their child, whatever that is. And when it comes to treatment, it may be that there's much more shared interventions that don't make any difference what label we're putting on it.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Children #Differences #Autism

  • To some extent, we all have quirks or idiosyncrasies, and some geniuses, because of how bright they are and how focused they are, may have liberal eccentricities, but they're not at a disabling level.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Genius #Levels #May

  • There is such a thing as genius, and these are people who do not have a formal disability, DSM-IV-type. They may have liberal eccentricities or quirks in their personality, but they don't rise to the level of a disability.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #People #Personality #Genius

  • I have a fairly strict definition of early infantile autism. That is not to say that people who don't meet that classic description don't have autism, but we might do well to narrow our definitions, and our samples, down to groups that are very similar, because I think you're more likely to find the cause.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Thinking #People #Autism

  • The term syndrome generally appears to be a constellation, or collection, of similar traits or behaviors within an individual. So, savants do have sort of a constellation of symptoms, which is characterized by some spectacular skill, or skills, coupled with this massive memory which is grafted on to some underlying disability. So those three conditions quantify, in my mind, the term syndrome.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Memories #Skills #Mind

  • Not only when one does meditation one is getting into a different realm, cognitively, but if you look at the imaging that's done on people when they're meditating, they indeed are entering a different portion of the brain which is activated.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #People #Meditation #Brain

  • We have to be careful that we don't keep multiplying disorders and diluting them. I think there is a difference. People talk about Asperger's as high-functioning autism, which I think it is. But it does have some of its own characteristics, like the preservation of language, particularly, which may be right brain dysfunction instead of left brain dysfunction, and we lose something in that, as things lose their specificity, and we keep diluting things. I'm not sure that's helpful.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Thinking #Differences #Dysfunction

  • We can't use the word normal anymore because it's sort of come to be politically incorrect, because normal implies a classification, and categorizations, and exclusions, and so forth. So neurotypical is the word that we now have to use for what I call normal behavior. Neurotypical behaviors are those kinds of behaviors within the range of usual human conduct that do not rise to the level of a disorder.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Usual #Use #Levels

  • What happens is most of us are so busy in our lives with our families and our vocation which we should be, but we tend not to look at what I call these parallel interests, and they develop along the way. And sometimes one can say, well, you know, why should I grow my own garden and spend all that time when I can buy carrots cheaper at the supermarket and just put aside that kind of an interest.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Garden #Looks #Way

  • There are people at the extremes who aren't able to do anything musically, and then others sort of fall in the middle. And the same thing with math, and the same thing with art. You'll find people who are geniuses, or prodigies at the far end of the bell shaped curve, and I think you will find some of the acquired savants in that category who happened to have been endowed with that kind of talent, which explains why not everyone becomes an acquired savant.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Art #Fall #Math

  • There are some cases that have come to my attention where there's been a head injury, or getting struck by lightning and surviving, with really no disability or residual. So there are cases that I'm aware of where there's been some incident which triggered the acquired savant ability, but is not associated with long term disability, so that can occur. But I think that's probably the exception rather than the rule in that I think many of the acquired savants do end up with some residual disability.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Thinking #Long #Lightning

  • We should probably start searching around a little earlier in our lives for what I call parallel activities, because most of us get entrenched in our careers. And, of necessity, we're earning a living, and it's taking our time, and we're building our résumé, and we want our résumé generally to be our proficiency within our field, because chances are we're going to be applying for another position within the field. So we tend to put off a lot of this sort of what I call parallel discovery until we're either very successful and have the time to do that, or more often until we're retired.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Successful #Discovery #Careers

  • There does seem to be a higher educational level in parents of autistic youngsters, and I guess that's something that we need to look into.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Educational #Parent #Doe

  • Originally when we talked about language disorder it was a catastrophic language disorder. It's substantial, and from a treatment standpoint it's okay to keep diluting that term, but from a research standpoint we need to be much more precise. I wish somebody would take up the mantle of just that particular task.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Wish #Tasks #Needs

  • I think one of the problems with the definition of autism is we keep expanding it. It started as "early infantile autism", and then it became "autism", and now it's "autism spectrum disorder". I'm not opposed to that from the standpoint of trying to broaden our vistas, and so forth. But from a research point of view, the term autism is lost in specificity.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Thinking #Views #Autism

  • I think that if I could do any sort of research of autism that I wanted to do, at this point I would take a sample of classic, early infantile autism persons and compare them with what I call "classic late onset autism", individuals. I think we will find that the cause of those youngsters with autism who have autism from birth is probably different than those who have late onset autism.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Thinking #Autism #Different

  • When we come to research, if we want to find out the cause of autism, we're going to have to be much more specific, and that's why when it comes to research, I'm fairly strict with respect to criteria. When it comes to treatment, I'm much more open to not making that differentiation.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Autism #Differentiation #Research

  • Sometimes along the way, when people are actively working, they will start to do a search for their roots and maybe get really interested in ancestry and become very good at what was just a hobby. But I think that we shouldn't wait quite that long to develop and look for those parallel interests of ours and not sometimes see them as frivolous and take them a little more seriously, and spend some time and energy and maybe even capital in pursuing them.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Thinking #Roots #Long

  • The narrower we define autism, and the more strictly we control for particular behaviors, the more likely we are to find what I think are the subgroups of autism.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Thinking #Autism #Behavior

  • The ways in which acquired savants show up are usually the same ways that congenital, or non-acquired, savant syndrome shows up. They tend to show up in the same areas: music, art, math, visual, spatial skills, and calendar calculating, although calendar calculating probably isn't quite as prominent in that group. They tend to show up quite quickly, or sort of explode on the scene and they then tend to have an obsessive sort of forceful quality about them in the same way as savant skills. So they tend to show up in the same ways.
    -- Darold Treffert

    #Art #Math #Skills

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