Savant and splinter skills are seen in memory, art, music or spatial skill amongst others. They can appear remarkable, but tend to be seen as 'obsessive' behaviors. Exploring Giftedness and Autism is based on a unique study which introduces and explores a differentiated curriculum and presents a combination of strategies employed in the education of gifted children and autistic children. Providing insights on the obsessive nature of savant skills, the challenging behaviors of savants and the familial link between the subject child’s savant abilities and giftedness, the author highlights how the inclusion of this curriculum is critical in promoting better school performance and post-school employment opportunities.
The study has demonstrated the importance of using a ‘strengths’ rather than a ‘deficits’ approach in the education of students with a disability, and regards autistic savants as gifted students with disabilities, or as ‘twice-exceptional’ students with autism. With a practical section dedicated to putting the research into practice this book is an incredibly important read for anyone working with gifted young people with disabilities in the classroom.
Trevor Clark is National Director, Education, at Autism Spectrum Australia.