We all know the autistic genius stereotypes. The absentminded professor with untied shoelaces. The geeky Silicon Valley programmer who writes bulletproof code but can't get a date. But there is another set of (tiny) geniuses whom you would never add to those ranks - child prodigies. We mostly know them as the chatty and charming tykes who liven up daytime TV with violin solos and engaging banter. These kids aren't autistic, and there has never been any kind of scientific connection between autism and prodigy.
Over the course of her career, psychologist Joanne Ruthsatz has quietly assembled the largest-ever research sample of these children. Their accomplishments are epic. One could reproduce radio tunes by ear on a toy guitar at two years old. Another was a 13-year-old cooking sensation. And what Ruthsatz's investigation revealed is nothing short of astonishing. Though the prodigies aren't autistic, many have autistic family members. Each prodigy has an extraordinary memory and a keen eye for detail - well-known but often-overlooked strengths associated with autism.
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