General Question

rockfan's avatar

Do you think I might have savant syndrome?

Asked by rockfan (14627points) February 28th, 2019
16 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder and a severe learning disability in math. Following the diagnosis, I decided to pursue art therapy to ease my social anxiety and I also took an introductory drawing class at my local community college. Having never drawn before, (besides doodling when I was a kid) I was really excited to learn a new skill.

These are the very first drawings I attempted, using a reference photo. I didn’t trace.

Here are some other ones I did, about 6–8 months later.

What confuses me the most is that Michael Tolleson is considered an autistic savant, yet I don’t think his paintings are particularly great:

Also, I’d like to add that I’m going to see a psychologist soon. I’m just really interested in hearing your opinions on savant syndrome. Thanks.

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rockfan's avatar


The only reason I asked this question is because I just watched the video I linked above. I mean, if that guy is diagnosed with savant syndrome, I think I could potentially have it as well.

Or maybe not savant syndrome, but just a higher ability in one area.

zenvelo's avatar

Both you and Tolleson have some talent. I question who named him a savant; artistic talent is not usually associated with savant-like traits.

Being a fast artist is not rare or unusual, Bob Ross had a longstanding TV show from it.

rockfan's avatar


On the contrary, artistic talent is a common trait of autistic savants, especially the ability to play music.

gorillapaws's avatar

I’m certainly not qualified to give a credible answer to this, but I’m impressed. At the end of the day, I’m not sure how important labels really are (unless it affects decisions your psychologist makes), if you enjoy art and it helps with anexiety, then who cares if you’re a savant? I’m impressed with what you were able to create without formal training, and if you’re proud of your work too, then that’s ultimately all that matters.

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Kardamom's avatar

I don’t know, but I really like your drawings.

RocketGuy's avatar

Nice artwork! Typically a savant is fantastic at one thing and crap at most other things.

Yellowdog's avatar

People often SAY that the work of autistic savants is extraordinary—but I disagree. The painting in this video has SOME artistic merit, but I’ve seen similar work at the Dollar Store.

I once bought a CD of piano music supposedly by a Savant. It was supposed to be soothing to animals. But I found it was just a lot of nonsensical playing with the keys. Not unpleasant to listen to, but not really music and rather random and more like a child pretending.

You, @rockfan are a true artist. Your work is excellent, and if you were interested in marketing it, you would go far. Savants have to have other people SAY that their work is excellent. Your artistic talent is self evident.

raum's avatar


kruger_d's avatar

No idea, but your proportions and observation of light and shadow are impressive.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I am guessing that if you are a savant that you wouldn’t be able to write this question. I love your Dr. Strange art. That said you can’t rule out that you could be a genius.

Pinguidchance's avatar

Do you think I might have savant syndrome?

Yes, either that or you are a very gifted artist notwithstanding the autism spectrum.

In either case you’ve discovered ability that you and others can enjoy and develop into a career in the same way that others pursue their talents and interests to forge success.

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raum's avatar

The problem with this question is that you are only comparing your skill to his skill. You also need to compare your level of disability to his level of disability.

Savant syndrome is an island of genius which stands in marked, incongruous contrast to overall handicap.

rockfan's avatar

Thanks everyone for the responses!

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