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The Murfreesboro Post By Dr. MARK KESTNER
A savant is a rare individual that possesses an extraordinary ability to perform mental tasks that seem superhuman. Savants are typically autistic people that are limited in some aspects of intellectual capacity, but perform like a genius in others. The most widely known example of a savant is the real person that inspired the movie, “Rainman.”

The movie was based upon a real man named Kim Peek...Now in his fifties, Kim is the most famous savant in the world. He can read a page of text in about 10 seconds.
( Click here to watch a short documentary on Kim Peek. If the link doesn't work, just go to and type Kim Peek in the Search bar.)
Darold A. Treffert, a leading medical expert on autism, states that savants tend to have exceptional abilities in one of five areas: music, art, lightning calculations, calendar calculating and mechanical or spatial skills. Savants may be able to play a complete symphony after hearing it only once or draw an exact rendering of a city skyline with only a brief glance to record the vision.

It is even more astounding to realize that there is another type of savant … those known as acquired savants. These individuals were born and developed normally. They acquired astonishing skills usually after a traumatic brain injury. [emphasis added] Often they are left with a mental impairment, but are able to do calculations and exhibit near perfect recall of certain types of memory.

A most unusual case involved Orlando Serrell. Orlando was a normal 10-yeaold boy until he was hit in the head with a baseball. Within a few months of that injury Orlando began recalling such things as every license plate of the cars that had passed. Or, if you mention a date since his accident, he can effortlessly recall the weather and his whereabouts for that day. Unlike many autistic savants, however, Orlando still retains normal brain function.

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