Savant syndrome is a rare condition where a person has some type of spectacular ability despite an underlying mental impairment. About half of people with savant syndrome have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The other half have some type of central nervous system disease or damage. Not all individuals with ASD have savant abilities. Additionally, some individuals acquire savant-level skills following a brain injury, disease, or other outside influence.
Research shows that people with savant syndrome have damage to the left side of the brain and the higher-level memory circuits. Those parts of the brain that do not show damage, along with the lower-level memory capabilities, compensate for those that do. The brain rewires itself to the right hemisphere to take over the left-brain activities. This rewiring releases any dormant potentials from the right hemisphere.
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