The Einstein Syndrome

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2008
The Einstein Syndrome
2
Wed, 01-27-2010 - 1:11pm

Has anyone heard of this, or read the book, "The Einstein Syndrome"?
from wiki:

"Einstein Syndrome is a term used to describe exceptionally bright people with a slow development of speech (unlikely to have conversations before age four).

Commonalities:

* Delayed speech development
* Usually boys
* Highly educated parents
* Musically gifted (families)
* Puzzle solving abilities
* Lagging social development
* Delayed toilet training

The main thesis of the book is that late talkers are often inaccurately categorized as having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and that a small subset of late talkers are actually highly intelligent children with common characteristics concentrated in music and/or memory and/or math. It is difficult if not impossible to accurately assess the cognitive skills of a child who is nonverbal or minimally verbal if the testing is verbally weighted, which it typically is. The book also addresses children with strong personalities resisting testing and scoring well below their capabilities. The author's own son who grew up to become a programmer, was falsely thought of as retarded because of his talking despite evidence of excellent memory and no dramatic impairment in daily functioning. The book details a series of high achieving scientists and musicians all of whom spoke late and displayed "autistic like" features (long attention span at young age, strong will, ability to play alone, delayed language/social skills) which not rarely are seen in children with extremely high intelligence."

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2009
Wed, 01-27-2010 - 3:45pm
I have not read the book, but have heard of this and I believe there is definitely some merit to it. I think more children, usually boys, than we
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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2005
Fri, 01-29-2010 - 1:18pm

I have not heard of the book, but I have two boys who were speech delayed. One ended up on the autism spectrum, while my other ds clearly is not on the spectrum.

Both of my boys were also slow to toilet train. My ds with an ASD wanted to toilet train but was slow due to sensory issues. My NT (neurotypical) ds had the physical capacity to potty train but was very, very stubborn and didn't want to. When he decided he was ready, then he potty trained relatively easily because he was emotionally ready.

Although it's true that many children with ASDs have the symptoms you listed, like you said, it's premature to say that all children with these symptoms have ASDs since children mature at different rates. As a toddler, my NT ds fit almost every symptom you listed but is now 13yo and a completely different child whom you would never mistake for having an ASD. My other ds, as I said, IS on the autism spectrum, though as a toddler he exhibited fewer worrisome symptoms than his NT brother did.

There's definitely a rise in ASDs, and it's proven that early intervention can help reduce symptoms in ASDs, so I think that some people may be a little too quick to attribute a symptom to ASD when it might just be a quirk a child will outgrow. It's wise to be attentive to developmental delays, but we need to be careful not to label children too quickly.