Savant Syndrome


Savant syndrome characterizes various uncommon abilities, in this condition, a person’s mental abnormality exhibit uniqueness. There are certain skills that are excelled by these people like artistic ability, rapid calculation, memory, musical ability, map making etc. They generally have one single skill. This condition develops due to neurodevelopment disorder like autism spectrum or brain injury. Most of these cases are caused by autism spectrum and is called, ‘autistic savants’. Sometimes, this disorder is detectable during early childhood while some re prominent in later life. Savant syndrome is not identified as a mental disorder. Patient’s talents can be revealed by choosing a correct psychological approach.

savant syndrome pictures

Image Source: en.wikipedia.org

 

Magnetic resonance and computed tomography of the patient’s brain indicates deficiencies of the right or the left hemispheres. It signifies that patients uniquely develop any one skill absolute hearing or phenomenal memory. These people also have unusual brain structure and it is not divided into hemispheres like normal people. According to a survey, presently there are about 67 million patients of an autistic savant in the world.

Savant Syndrome Causes

Genetic Predisposition: Mostly, this syndrome develops due to genetic predisposition, half of the patients suffer from autism while others have different types.

Injuries: Degenerative diseases or head injuries are another reason for this condition. However, some experts believe that perinatal pathology results in savantism.

Hormones: It is understood that testosterone, male hormone accelerates brain growth with this syndrome in infants. It inhibits the oxytocin hormone production that successfully adapts in society. Moreover, it is assumed that the mutating neurons are also responsible for this syndrome.

Epilepsy 

Dementia

However, the actual causes of this syndrome are still unclear and remain under assumptions. Experts believe that males are more prone to this syndrome as the neurophysiologists of America explains that the superiority of dozen genes of the chromosome X in males plays a vital role in a birth of an infant with this condition.

Savant Syndrome Symptoms

Autism spectrum disorders:  

  • Physical and mental underdevelopment
  • Abnormal changes in different parts of the brain
  • General intelligence inferiority, but genius in only one particular skill
  • Uncommunicable
  • Speech Disorders

People with this syndrome have a variety of symptoms which can be seen in day to day life. They are not talkative and generally remain in their own world. They also experience a specific type of stereotype movement. They are not enough confident to have an eye to eye communication. These people face problems to socialize properly in the society and also to expressing their thoughts.

Moreover, they face problems in common activities like dressing, eating, communicating their thoughts, purchasing an item, choosing etc. But they have a unique memory and can describe a scene once seen, or retell a long story once heard, draw whatever they see, solve complex mathematical equations etc. In savants brain’s left hemisphere is inadequate and gets compensated by activating right hemisphere parts.

Savant Syndrome Risk Factors

Genetic Predisposition being the main cause, hereditary mental disorder becomes the main risk factor. Other risk factors include:

  • Asperger syndrome in the family
  • Family History
  • Mental Illness in family
  • Prematurity in infants (gestation period <35 weeks)
  • Parents maturity (Father: over 49, Mother:  over 40)
  • Newborn baby weight remains less than 2500 g
  • Congenital Malformations
  • Newborn’s postpartum resuscitation
  • Male sex (newborn)

The effect of unfavorable ecological environment that leads to mutations of the genes and deficiency of vitamin D

Savant Syndrome Diagnosis

There are a variety of symptoms indicating this syndrome, but it is understood that this syndrome is not a disease and remains undiagnosed. But concomitant brain dysfunction is diagnosed. Autism is a rare case, but and in this cases, the patient and their family member’s anamnesis are closely checked. Other essential tests like CT, MRI,  laboratory tests and encephalography are made to closely review. Secondly, patient s are offered EQ, IQ and other diagnostic criteria to assess. However, in critical cases, other diagnosis methods are used.

Savant Syndrome Treatment

There is no particular treatment for this syndrome and the medicines and drugs do not work effectively, but with the help of modern science, one can lower the savant syndrome effect. Mental retardness and  IQ level can be improved from childhood. Special education and speech therapy help a patient to stay closer to normal life. Parents and trainers cooperation are essential to handle a situation.

Medicamental treatment is essential in rare cases. Odd abilities with developmental problems found in children require an expert outlook. To socialize them properly parents should take them to different places and help them to meet new people, it will help them to speak freely and help them to maintain a normal life. It will also help them to learn new abilities, talents and communication skills.

The nourishment and practicing a normal life can help the patient to fight autism. Continuous appreciation and practice will help the patient to gain self-confidence and lead a normal life.

Savant Syndrome Complications

Autism is often associated with different disorders and mental illness resulting in communicative difficulties, socialization etc that hinders regular life. It also prevents a child’s growth and results in depression, loneliness, self-realization and other problems. Due to improper growth, these children face difficulties to join the society. In various surveys, it is seen that people suffer from the thoughts of suicide.

Associated Disorders

Savant syndrome results in generalized development in early childhood. The affected infants or children experience linguistic disorders and other delays. There are some characteristics pointed out by the Neurological Disorders and stroke (2015) :

  • Recurrent motor behavior
  • Stereotyped and repeated behavior patterns
  • Environmental changes and cognitive rigidity
  • Difficulty and Inability to establish social interactions
  • Language impairment

Upset Asperger Syndrome: It characterizes social field alterations. These individuals face a problem to establish a relationship and identify emotions.

Upset Rett syndrome: Associated with motor skills and regressions that develops in early childhood.

Autism or Autistic Disorder: Defined by repetitive behaviors, problems in contextual changes that a child acquires before teenage. This disorder is associated with alterations in the linguistic and social field.

Heller’s syndrome or Disintegrative Disorder: It associates recurrent seizures with a high intellectual disability.

Other developmental disorders: There are various disorders which are experienced by the children with this syndrome. These cases fully meet the clinical criteria of the earlier disorders.

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