Society and Culture

Kim Peek was the basis for the 1988 fictional film Rain Man because he was a megasavant.

A prodigious savant is someone whose skill level would qualify him or her as a prodigy, or exceptional talent, even in the absence of a cognitive disability. Prodigious savants are those individuals whose abilities would be considered phenomenal or genius even in a person without any limitations or special diagnosis of impairment. The most common trait of these prodigious savants is their seemingly limitless mnemonic skills, with many having eidetic or photographic memories. Indeed, prodigious savants are extremely rare, with fewer than one hundred noted in more than a century of literature on the subject. Treffert, the leading researcher in the study of savant syndrome, estimates that fewer than fifty or so such individuals are believed to be alive in the world today. The website of the Wisconsin Medical Society lists 29 savant profiles. Darold Treffert is past-president of the society.

The following are well-known people with savant syndrome, noted for their talent in their identified fields:
Kim Peek, mnemonist, speed reader and calculator, although not autistic

Alonzo Clemons, American clay sculptor

Tony DeBlois, blind American musician

Leslie Lemke, blind American musician

Jonathan Lerman, American artist

Thristan Mendoza, Filipino marimba prodigy

Gottfried Mind, Swiss artist known as the "Raphael of Cats".

Derek Paravicini, blind British musician

Gilles Tréhin, artist, author

James Henry Pullen, gifted British carpenter

Matt Savage, American autistic jazz prodigy

Henriett Seth-F., Hungarian autistic savant, poet, writer and artist

Stephen Wiltshire, British architectural artist

Richard Wawro, British artist

George and Charles Finn, calendar calculator twins

Florence 'Flo' and Katherine 'Kay' Lyman, calendar calculator twins. Featured in a documentary produced by TV network TLC entitled Twin Savants: Flo & Kay

Temple Grandin, a Doctor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, and consultant to the livestock industry in animal behavior

Jason D. Padgett, American Mathematical Artist

Daniel Tammet, British author, public speaker, high-functioning autistic savant, and synesthete