Although not all autistics–or even a majority of autistics–are prodigies, for a long time people have noticed that there is an extremely strong correlation between the two. Thus, it is not in the least bit surprising to me that a connection has been found between autism and child prodigies. It’s not surprising to me because we already know about the “idiot savant,” who as we now know are/were almost all people with autism. The thing that is notable in this study is, of course, that child prodigies seem to have all the advantages of autism with none (or few) of the deficits.
Of particular note is a suggestion for how to treat your autistic child:
When parents of prodigies realize that their child has an extraordinary talent in art or math or astronomy, they understandably try to nurture that talent, even if it seems to border on obsession.
Children with autism also often have obsessions with particular subjects or talents. But because of their troubles communicating and showing emotions, parents often don’t let them follow these obsessions.
Ruthsatz has uncovered a few instances, however, where parents have let their children with autism pursue their passions.
“Instead of focusing entirely on trying to teach the children to speak or to make eye contact, the parents let their child do the thing they love to do, whatever that is,” she said.
“In some cases, the children get excited about their particular talent, they get good at it, and they want to communicate about it. The speech and communication and social skills come along with their growing ability.”
This is treating children with autism as if they were prodigies by focusing on their strengths and ignoring the deficits, she said. In some cases, those deficits become less pronounced as they follow their talents.
While (as noted in the article) this may not work with every autistic child, I would note that absolutely no harm could possibly come from it, it’s almost certainly almost nothing but helpful to a child to allow him/her to be happy (as following their passions makes them), and this might not be all that bad a suggestion for pretty much any child.