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2011 Archive

December 29, 2011

Separating ‘autistic-like’ behaviors from Autistic Disorders in children who read early (Hyperlexia) or speak late (Einstein Syndrome)

The December issue of WMJ, published by the Wisconsin Medical Society, contains an article titled: “Hyperlexia III: Separating ‘autistic-like’ Behaviors from Autistic Disorder; Assessing Children who Read Early, Speak Late” by Dr. Treffert. There has been wide interest in the Hyperlexia III posting on this website in the past several years, and now this paper puts the critical distinction between ‘autistic-like’ behaviors and Autistic Disorder itself into the professional, in-print literature. The article in its entirety can be accessed here.


December 29, 2011

Scholars with Autism: Achieving Dreams

Scholars with Autism: Achieving Dreams is a newly published book about hope and success from Auricle Press. It is an anthology of eight inspiring autobiographical journeys of some remarkable persons living on the spectrum. All achieved distinguished academic success and each refused to let a diagnosis define them. The introduction to the book is a chapter by Dr. Treffert titled “Oval Souls on a Round Planet,” which explores things in common and things distinct in this group of extraordinary people.

Scholars with Autism

December 29, 2011

“You raise me up….That’s my boy!”

If ever there was a video that shows the importance of the family who believes in their ‘boy’ and the power of mentor/teacher/coach, this is it. It is the perfect way to start an inspired New Year. Watch the whole video, it is empowering.


December 5, 2011

A Friend Indeed: the Bill Sackter Story

Before Barry Morrow wrote Rain Man, he wrote two made-for-television movies called Bill in which Mickey Rooney played the part of a cognitively disabled person named Bill. Now Layne Wyrick has produced a very inspirational, uplifting movie that features “Bill”–Bill Sackter–in real life as the touching story unfolded on the campus of the University of Iowa where Bill became, eventually, a beloved celebrity/hero in the whole state. The entire 90-minute feature can be seen at www.BillSackter.com. It is a powerful, inspirational 90 minutes well worth watching. While Bill was not a savant, his abilities and story are just as compelling.


November 10, 2011

Islands of Genius is now in paperback

Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired and Sudden Savant is now available in paperback and Kindle versions through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or directly from the Publisher, Jessica Kingsley, Inc. The cover contains comments by Oliver Sacks and Temple Grandin about the book, and notes that the book won the Gold Medal in the Psychology/Mental Health category of the 2011 Impendent Publisher Book Awards. As with the hardcover edition, the front and back covers contain Stephen Wiltshire’s five-day drawing of a seven square mile view of London from the air following a brief helicopter flight over the city.

Islands of Genius

October 3, 2011

Windows of Genius: Art of the Prodigious Savant

Very Special Arts-Wisconsin is sponsoring an art exhibit featuring the works of a number of prodigious savants including Stephen Wiltshire, Temple Grandin, Gregory Blackstock, Gilles Trehin, Ping Lian Yeak, Amanda LaMunon and others. It is running now until December 28, 2011 at the VSA-Wisconsin headquarters at 1700 Aberg Avenue in Madison, Wis. Gallery hours are Mondays and Wednesday from 2-5:30 p.m. or by appointment for groups of students or other interested persons. Dr. Treffert will present a gallery lecture about the artists in the exhibit and their very special skills on Wednesday, November 30 at 7 p.m. at the gallery.

Windows of Genius

Additionally, the exhibit will be one of the destinations featured during Madison’s Gallery Night October 14, 2011. The event will include a reception from 5-9 that evening at VSA-Wisconsin. Gallery night is organized by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

For more information about the exhibit click here www.vsawis.org or call 608.241.2131.


September 12, 2011

The fastest and best 10-minute summary of savant syndrome

This trailer for the Beautiful Minds:Voyage into the Brain DVD by Colourfield Productions in Dortmund, Germany presents the fastest and best 10-minute summary of savant syndrome available. It can be accessed at http://www.colourfield.de/brain/normalsize.html. The three-hour documentary itself, which this trailer summarizes, has been broadcast and viewed in many countries worldwide. More information about it can be obtained at www.colourfield.de/expedition/index.html in German or English language.


 June 22, 2011

Two new videos of Leslie Lemke

There are two new videos posted on the Leslie Lemke profile. The first is “May’s final concert,” in which Leslie brings his Mom, May Lemke—The Woman Who Willed a Miracle—to life out of her Alzheimer’s just as she brought Leslie to life from his severe disability. May died shortly after that last concert.

The second video features excerpts from the Marian University concert in Fond du Lac on April 15, 2011. Especially entertaining are the several segments where Leslie confesses finally “I’m making it up” as he creates both the tune and lyrics to requests from the audience. Those songs, created on-the-spot, provide an insightful glimpse at Leslie’s ability to create, not just recall pieces. Futhermore, they contradict his measured IQ of 58.


June 17, 2011

Leslie Lemke DVD now available

A DVD of the April 15, 2011 Marian University, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin concert by Leslie Lemke–“And sings my soul”–is now available for purchase.

All of the proceeds go directly to Leslie and Mary, to help with home remodeling improvements and his continued care. The cost is $ 20 post paid. Checks or money orders should be made out to Miracle of Love Ministries and requests sent to the following address:

Leslie Lemke DVD c/o Miracle of Love Ministries W4065 Maplewood Lane Fond du Lac, Wisconsin 54937

Further information about the DVD can be obtained from savants@charter.net


June 17, 2011

A lecture on Savant Syndrome from Manifesting the Mind Symposium

This year’s “Manifesting the Mind” symposium included a lecture on Savant Syndrome by Dr. Treffert, focusing particularly on the acquired savant and genetic memory. The “Extraordinary People: Savant Syndrome” lecture can be accessed by title here.


May 31, 2011

A Gold Medal for Islands of Genius

Dr. Treffert’s book, Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired and Sudden Savant, won a Gold Medal in the Psychology and Mental Health category of the 2011 Independent Publisher Book (IPPY) Awards. The awards were presented on May 23 in New York. The 2010 book is a compendium of interesting case reports, coupled with a summary of past and current research into the recruitment, rewiring and release mechanisms in savant syndrome, which hints at dormant potential within everyone and how to tap that with the least intrusive techniques.


May 10, 2011

Psychology Today sat down with Dr. Treffert over the course of a few days to discuss a wide range of topics, including creativity, autism, savant syndrome and more. Click here to read the eight-part conversation.

April 19, 2011

Leslie Lemke in concert: “And Sings My Soul”

Leslie Lemke performed a concert on April 15, 2011 at Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Somewhat of a homecoming, it was a concert in Fond du Lac in June, 1980 that launched Leslie’s ultimate celebrity status though a wire service story of the performance, which led to an appearance on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite that Christmas season. Numerous television appearances followed, including That’s Incredible, 60 Minutes. Donahue, Oprah (several times) and many others. Dustin Hoffman was so moved by Leslie’s appearance on 60 Minutes that it influenced his decision to play the savant in the movie Rain Man.

The concert, entitled “And sings my soul” from a line in one of Leslie’s favorite hymns, helped raise funds for an “extreme home remodeling” of the house where Leslie lives with May Lemke’s daughter, Mary Parker, as his guardian and caregiver. Through the years, May, Leslie and Mary have unselfishly shared Leslie’s ‘miracle of music’ as a gift from God, never exploiting him, and living very modestly, often giving concerts for free. Their home is badly in need of repair, including the roof, windows, ramp and furnace, and in need of being made much more handicap accessible for Leslie.

Read more about the concert in the Fond du Lac Reporter.

Leslie Lemke in concert April 15 at Marian University, Fond du Lac, Wis.


March 7, 2011

Savant sculptor and artist launches website

Alonzo Clemons continues to sculpt as magnificently as ever, creating intricate animal figures with accuracy and speed. Recently he was featured in a Discovery Science program in the Ingenious Minds series. He now has a website, which provides more up to date information on this extraordinary savant.


February 14, 2011

Acquired Savant and Ingenious Minds

The acquired savant continues to get new attention. Jon Sarkin is such a case. He had a stroke and following that new, intense art ability emerged where none had been present prior to the CNS incident. Discovery Science channel is producing four one hour programs focusing on savant syndrome, with several episodes especially focused on “accidental genius.” One of these programs was already broadcast. One of the featured savants in that first program was Jon Sarkin. You can view the entire video of Sarkin here.

Discovery Science has named the series Ingenious Minds. The next broadcast will be February 17, 2011 at 10:00 pm EST. That episode will feature Derek Amato and George Widener. Each episode will include neuroimaging studies on each specific individual. The two remaining programs will be broadcast in subsequent weeks so watch for them in the Discovery Science channel.


January 31, 2011

Exploring Savant Syndrome: A radio, podcast and transcript interview

Dr. David Van Nuys hosts a popular radio program from the San Francisco Area titled “Shrink Rap Radio: All the psychology you need to know and just enough to make you dangerous.” His program # 246 is an interview with Dr. Treffert on savant syndrome. It can be accessed on Shrink Rap Radio’s website. The interview is a wide-ranging discussion of savant syndrome and Dr. Treffert’s new book, Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired and Sudden Savant. The interview has now been transcribed into print and can be accessed here.