Savant Syndrome: Extraordinary Cognitive Skills In Autistic Children, Including Telepathy
Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell, MD, Neuroscientist and Psychotherapist published a paper in EdgeScience, a publication put out by the Journal Scientific exploration, detailing examples of "savants" demonstrating extraordinary abilities, like telepathy.
Why are abilities like telepathy completely unacknowledged within mainstream academia? Why are these abilities always presented as trivial when there is clear evidence of their existence? Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is referred to today as a wide range of conditions that are characterized and diagnosed by challenges with social skills, behaviours, and nonverbal communication. I’ve studied Autism for many years and there are many questions still to be asked, and many to be answered. I’ve realized that, in many cases, children can receive an ASD diagnosis despite appearing to be completely normal but display a few social characteristics that are simply different from most children. Sometimes this is referred to as high functioning autism, but I believe most children and people are high functioning in their own way. This doesn’t mean they have a “disorder.” On the other hand, some children with autism can be extremely impaired with regards to their ability to communicate and express themselves. Some children who have an ASD diagnoses may not have the same biological issue, or perhaps brain structure as others who have the diagnosis. In large part, I believe what we know as autism has also been capitalized on by big pharmaceutical companies to sell medication that in many cases is not only unnecessary, but harmful as well. In some cases I believe there are some “abnormalities” in behaviour and biology, and in some cases with some children, I don’t believe these are abnormalities, they could very well be advancements or even enhancements. In other cases, there could be clear indication of brain damage, for example. Click here to learn more! Autism rates are climbing worldwide, According, to the Centers for Disease Control in the United States, autism affects approximately 1 in 54 children. Culprits of autism include genetics, but a wide range of information that’s been published over many years suggests multiple environmental factors are playing a big role.
These include environmental and agricultural pesticides, unnatural sources of electromagnetic radiation, prescription drug use during presidency, substances like, lead, aluminum, and mercury. One recent study even concluded that there is sufficient evidence to now list mercury as a cause of autism. But what about the perspective of the some of these children and people with the diagnosis? For a very long time, many were not able to express themselves, but technology has changed that and in turn, has drastically changed our perception of autism. Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell, MD, Neuroscientist and Psychotherapist published a paper in EdgeScience, a publication put out by the Journal of Scientific Exploration.
The article is titled Autistics, Savants, and Psi: A Radical Theory of Mind and provides multiple examples of autistic savants. She’s the one in the picture above with Ramses, as savant mentioned later on in the article. In it she provides several examples of savants, as well as examples of savants she’s directly worked with and studied. Below are parts selected from her paper about the autistic savants and what they are capable of. In her full paper she goes into more explanation and theory behind the phenomenon, so be sure to read the whole thing if you’re interested.
The inner world of autistics was a complete mystery until 1992, when Donna Williams published Nobody Nowhere: The Extraordinary Autobiography of an Autistic Girl. Donna had sent her diary to a psychiatrist, requesting a diagnosis. I heard her on NPR shortly after reading this book and stayed in my car to listen. What intrigued me the most was Donna’s inability to answer the interviewer’s questions, unless she typed her answers into her computer first.
Then she could read them. Since the 1990s, computers and the media have enabled many other high functioning autistics to dramatically change our understanding of autism, like Temple Grandin, best-selling author and professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. Some of their stories are heartbreaking, because of how much these children are misunderstood. Others are inspirational, because of the power of unconditional love and perseverance. Autism is independent of IQ. Autistics are frequently gifted, but an inability to communicate often causes them to be labeled “mentally retarded.” Many people mistakenly assume autistics don’t understand language, when some just aren’t able to coordinate their facial muscles.
Their frustration leads to many outbursts.
They aren’t aloof just because they don’t look at you. In fact, they are often strongly empathic and withdraw because they can’t handle the emotional and/ or sensory overload. – Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell, MD, Neuroscientist “Savant Syndrome” Another characteristic associated with an autism diagnosis is what’s known as “savant syndrome,” where autistic children and people display unimaginable talents and abilities that are incomprehensible and completely unexplainable. Savant syndrome is the presence of extraordinary cognitive skills without the usual building blocks underlying them. It is rare in the general population but occurs in approximately 10% of autistics – Powell Oliver Sacks (1998) investigated two famous savants, John and Michael, who were identical autistic twins.
They took great pleasure in tossing consecutive six digit prime numbers back and forth, without consciously deriving them, or even knowing how to do simple math. Sacks met them in the 1960s and joined their game by looking up tables of primes; he challenged them to go up to 8, 10, 12, and even 20 digits. He was only able to verify their accuracy up to 12 digits, the computing capacity at the time.
There is no algorithm for calculating consecutive primes, so this would be remarkable even if they could do math.
The twins said they saw the answers, which just appeared. John and Michael could also tell you the day of the week for any date spanning 80,000 years, as well as the dates Easter would have fallen on. When a box of matches accidentally spilled onto the floor, Sacks (1998) heard them spontaneously say the number “111,” in unison, the exact count. After repeatedly demonstrating their abilities in front of audiences, they were separated.
Their obsession with each other and their number games interfered with the development of real life skills, so they were forced to live independently “for their own good.” Their extraordinary abilities disappeared. Bernard R imland (1978) was a psychologist whose autistic son inspired him to study over 5,400 other autistic children, 119 of whom were savants. Four reportedly exhibited ESP, which Rimland listed as a savant skill.
These children routinely predicted events in advance, especially concerning their caregivers, and provided specific information that only these caregivers could have known (Rimland, 1978, Treffert, 1989). In January 2013, I evaluated several savants in India. One was a six-year-old boy with an encyclopedic knowledge of science, reportedly without having studied. Another was a girl who always knew exactly how many potato chips her father had reserved for later. One boy had accurately predicted several of his teachers’ promotions and transfers. I also learned of a boy who may have saved a life. He had a history of touching people, but only if and where they had physical problems. One day he tapped a woman’s breast. As a result, his psychiatrist recommended she get a mammogram, and it revealed breast cancer. None of these Indian children could be used for formal experiments at the time.
The most promising of them used facilitated communication (FC), involving physical touch to support the autistic child’s movements while they type. That doesn’t necessarily mean the typed words aren’t their own. Some learn to type independently, demonstrating intact language skills. Skeptics regard all writings obtained from FC as tainted—wishful thinking on the part of parents who desperately want to communicate with a child—and are concerned about unconscious cueing. Months later psychiatrist Darold Treffert referred a nine-yearold mute autistic girl nicknamed Hayley for my evaluation. She is an American child who doesn’t use FC. Hayley communicates by either pointing at letters and numbers on thick plastic stencils, or typing into a device called a “talker” that converts text to speech. Hayley’s parents and therapists hadn’t believed telepathy was real until Hayley exhibited it.
They want to keep their identity hidden to protect Hayley from attention by the media. Her father is a medical doctor, which is why he immediately realized how significant this would be to science. Everything I learned about her indicates a very low likelihood of fraud. Hayley’s family initially thought she was a mathematical savant. She could give answers to increasingly complex problems involving several digit numbers, but she couldn’t do simple math. One day she typed her answer in an exponential format for the first time. She hadn’t been asked to, but the therapist’s calculator had just accidentally been switched to displaying results in that notation.
The shocked therapist asked how she knew. Hayley typed, “I see the numerators and denominators in your head.” Hayley then accurately answered questions for her therapist that she shouldn’t have known the answers to, such as her landlord’s name, “Helmut.” Hayley also could type the exact words her therapist was thinking to describe pictures hidden from view. She even typed prose, word-for-word, including several foreign languages, but only when her therapist knows or reads it. In August 2013, Hayley’s family sent me three videos demonstrating telepathy. Filmed with a smartphone by her father in August 2012, they showed a young woman with a ponytail (Therapist A), looking at pictures, sentences, and numbers. A much younger girl in pigtails typed into a device with an electronic voice, giving answers exactly matching what the therapist had shown to the camera.
These videos were intriguing but scientifically unacceptable. Experimental protocol requires randomized stimuli, so that answers can be compared to chance. Also, the therapist was in the same room as Hayley with no divider between them. Although there didn’t appear to be any cueing, it cannot be ruled out because these videos don’t show the entire room. After learning about Hayley’s “telepathy,” her parents kept it a secret.
They didn’t know how people would react.
They let a few teachers know because they saw potential for Hayley to fool them into thinking she was learning her subjects when, like the math, she might be using telepathy to give the answers. A new therapist (B) was among those who were not told, but she began to have suspicions. Hayley’s answers were always correct, and when they weren’t, they were exact replicas of the therapist’s mistakes. She jokingly tested Hayley’s “telepathy” by asking her to translate “I love you” into German, a language the therapist knew and Hayley had never seen. Her jaw dropped when Hayley typed, “Ich liebe dich.” Hayley started practicing telepathy with therapists A and B, taking pride in her ability and squealing with glee when she heard the “talker” speak the correct answers. Hayley became so excited during testing, her therapists started touching her shoulder to calm her down. By 2013, Hayley had become psychologically dependent upon being touched during testing. This was a problem for research. My experiments were delayed while Hayley was weaned from this contact. I also needed the therapists to work with a divider between Hayley and themselves. Autism makes any change challenging and, as anticipated, Hayley’s behavior regressed.
There was no way to predict what form it would take. It could have been anything from soiling her pants to refusing to enter the room. Instead, she stopped typing her answers.
Therapists have to think on the fly and will try a variety of techniques to get a client back on track. When they returned to her initial method of communication, Hayley started participating again. She selected her answers from cut-out letters or numbers on stencils by pointing to them with a pencil in her right hand, then typing them with her left. Another complication arose. Hayley was undergoing intensive speech therapy and began to vocalize some letters, numbers, and simple words. Rather than wait until Hayley and her therapists could work in separate rooms, my videographer Kent Romney and I scheduled testing for May 2014. Speech development has been reported to interfere with savant skills, and we couldn’t take that chance. Nadia (Selfe, 1977) was an autistic savant who lost her remarkable artistic talent after acquiring language at age 12. Puberty might also diminish telepathic abilities and has according to parents of some autistics. Hayley started having menses at age 9. Upon meeting Hayley, I saw that she exhibits all of the clinical signs of autism. She was diagnosed months before turning three, a typical age. Her social and language development were delayed and aberrant. She has repetitive behaviors, such as hand-flapping, and makes little eye contact with anyone, including family. When I asked her mother if she makes eye contact, she said, “occasionally she stares at my forehead. Below is a video of one of the experiments with Haley. Former head of the Department of Psychology at Kent State, Raleigh Drake, (1938) investigated “Bo,” an 11-year-old boy whose brain injury at birth left him with an IQ of 55. Bo’s mother said he “would spontaneously tell her words or numbers which she had not overtly expressed.” Like Hayley, Bo initially was “thought to be a lightning calculator because no matter what the row of figures given he would immediately give the answer, provided it was in his mother’s mind, but he could do absolutely nothing if left alone.” Drake’s description of Bo is very consistent with autism: “When he was to leave home for a few days to stay in my home he showed no emotion at leaving his parents or any homesickness or anxiety to return. Even at the moment of seeing his parents after an absence of two days the meeting was no more than casual on his part. He is an active observer of the activities of other boys, usually younger than he, but he makes little effort to participate cooperatively in their games... His comments are, however, frequently of the perseverative type with verbal repetition and fixation of ideas constantly recurring.” Visual cues were eliminated by blindfolding and/or placing Bo on the other side of the room from his mother with his back towards her. Drake tested them with ESP cards. Each run had 25 answers. Once Bo scored an average of 84 percent on each of 14 runs. Drake did not observe any evidence of auditory cueing, and Bo’s performance actually improved when blindfolded. Recordon’s paper referenced telepathy research done in the 1930s with children who would be diagnosed as autistic savants today, but autism didn’t exist as a diagnosis until 1938. Ilga K. was a 10-year-old Latvian girl with an IQ of 48 (Bender, 1938). At age eight, Ilga spoke at the level of a two year-old. She struggled to read simple text, but when another person silently read beside her, she could verbalize the written content, including foreign languages, in her mother’s pronunciation. Like Hayley, Ilga responded best when given verbal prompts of encouragement such as “Ilga, think!” She was investigated by Ferdinand von Neureiter, director of the Institute of Forensic Medicine of the University of Riga, a commission from the Psychological Institute of Bonn University, and a commission led by Paul Dahle of the Institute of Psychology of the University of Riga.
They made dictaphone and film recordings, because of concern that auditory cues could be hidden in her mother’s verbal prompts. Some potential auditory cueing by the mother was noted, but Ilga often knew the correct answer without any cueing detected, even under high amplification. When her mother’s prompts were recorded to create an “artificial mother,” replacing her mother’s live voice as prompts, Ilga still answered accurately. She demonstrated telepathy in an experiment done with her six-year-old brother, and with von Neureiter, who wrote, “I happened to glance at the word ‘Bruhte’... At the same moment the child in the next room cried: ‘Bruhte.’” (Bender, 1938) Earlier this year I started research with Ramses, a 5-year-old boy with mild autism who could read seven languages out loud by the time he was two, and has solved algebra problems since age four. He is reportedly telepathic with his mother, a brilliant surrealist artist who claims to have been telepathic with him even before his birth. So far, I have tested him briefly on five occasions. He is too young to focus for sessions longer than five minutes but speaks the answers instead of typing them. His overall accuracy has been above 90%.
There will be more to explore as he matures. Some autistic children appear to have the ability to access the thoughts of others. How can we reconcile this data with an impaired Theory of Mind? Our representation of others’ beliefs, and ToM, are believed to involve our temporoparietal junctions (TPJ), where our temporal and parietal lobes join (Samson et al, 2004, Lombardo et al 2011). Our left TPJ is usually larger than the right, and a lesion to the left TPJ is associated with language deficits. In autism, the right TPJ is often as large or larger than on the left, and may play a role in telepathy (Powell, 2012). Remarkable ‘paranormal Abilities are Not Limited To Autistic Savants There are a number of examples of documented ‘paranormal’ abilities. Here’s an article I published referencing a study/document from the CIA showing gifted people and children in China being able to transport objects, in sealed containers, from one location to another without touching them or opening the container. This is known “as breaking through spatial barriers.” I also recently wrote about a study from China, translated and archived in the CIA’s electronic reading room, demonstrating the ability of a gifted girl to physically write on a piece of paper inside a closed container using nothing but her mind.
The latest example I wrote about was about person with gifted abilities who was able to break/bend a needle, and then put it back together again without even touching it.
The Takeaway I find it odd that these capacities have been and are documented and studied within the highest level of government, yet shunned and unacknowledged by the mainstream academic community.
These incidents and examples push the boundaries of our beliefs and what we think we know about ourselves and the nature of reality. This, in a way, expands human consciousness tremendously, and perhaps with more research and investigation we could find ways of teaching these abilities. That being said, is humanity ready for such things? A large part of our human experience operates from a lower level of consciousness, one filled with ego, greed, fear and selfishness. We can have all of the game changing technology in the world, for example, but what matters is what will we use it for? What’s important is the consciousness behind developments and new discoveries, not the developments and discoveries themselves. Do we have leadership that truly has the best interests of humanity and our planet at heart? These are important questions to ask. These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox. Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!.
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