Darold A. Treffert

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Savant syndrome is a rare, but extraordinary, condition in which persons with serious mental disabilities, including autistic disorder, have some 'island of genius' which stands in marked, incongruous contrast to overall handicap. As many as one in 10 persons with autistic disorder have such remarkable abilities in varying degrees, although savant syndrome(More)
D E C E M B E R 2 0 0 5 C R E D IT When J. Langdon Down first described savant syndrome in 1887, coining its name and noting its association with astounding powers of memory, he cited a patient who could recite Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire verbatim. Since then, in almost all cases, savant memory has been linked to a specific(More)
Since it was first described a century ago, the phenomenon of the idiot savant--the juxtaposition of severe mental handicap and prodigious mental ability--has remained unexplained. The author defines the condition, reviews and summarizes the world literature on this topic since the early reports, describes more recent cases, and catalogs and categorizes(More)
The use of marijuana as the independent variable produced a serious exacerbation of a psychotic process in four schizophrenic patients whose illness was otherwise well controlled with antipsychotic medication. Each patient served as his own control--the sole substance abused was marijuana and antipsychotic medication intake remained constant. Each time(More)
Savant syndrome, characterized by remarkable islands of mental ability in otherwise mentally handicapped persons, may occur in autistic as well as nonautistic individuals. Overall, approximately 10% of autistic persons exhibit savant abilities; roughly 50% of those with savant syndrome have autism, and the remaining 50% have other forms of developmental(More)
The three relatively standard criteria currently contained in most state civil commitment laws (danger to self, danger to others, and gravely disabled) have forced many obviously ill patients to deteriorate to the point of dangerousness before receiving treatment, to become criminalized, or to wander the streets untreated. After discussing the origins of(More)
We investigated whether somebody with a severe mental impairment could not only remember and reproduce music, but was also able to generate it. Musical improvisation requires the ability to recognize constraints and also demands inventiveness. Musical improvisations on a traditional, tonal and also on a whole tone scale composition were produced by a(More)