Link Found Between Child Prodigies & Autism

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Ohio State University's division of Psychology recently published study findings in its 'Research and Innovation Communications' and journal 'Intelligence', saying that child prodigies have the commonality of autism. The study was conducted by an associate Psychology professor at the University and a Yale student/neurological non-profit organization Founder.

Three of the eight studied had autism and half had a family member OR first- OR second-degree relative with an autism diagnosis, though it is not specified how many of those with an autistic relative also had autism or if it is another half IN ADDITION to the diagnosed three. The study also does not specify the severity of autism in each child.

One group of eight was controlled, the other of 174 adults randomly contacted by mail not. All "child prodigies" were chosen via internet, television specials, and referrals. The control group contained one art prodigy, one math prodigy, four musical prodigies, one music/gourmet cooking prodigy, and one music/art prodigy. Six were males and the remaining two were females. It appears as though "child prodigy" in this case is defined as "at least younger than 18 years, who is performing at the level of a highly trained adult in a very demanding field of endeavour" (Wikipedia) and had elevated intelligence scores on the Stanford-Binet Intelligence test.

Each child was individually tested by researchers over the course of two or three days. In addition to the Stanford-Binet, researchers administered the Autism-Spectrum Quotient assessment. All eight tested were categorized in the top 1 percentile of the working memory sub-test.

The problematic issues with this study are the amount of control over the "autistic" group versus the huge lack of control over the randomly selected and mailed uncontrolled group. The ages were also not given of those tested (though assumedly all under 18) nor for those over 18, varying from probably 18+ to 100! The two groups qualify it as a valid study, however the large variety of control (loose to too confined) and ungiven information lead to skepticism and unreliability. Depending on the study layout, environment (in-home mailed flyer vs. interview room), and number and presence of researcher(s) possibly influencing the child prodigy.

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The study still proves nothing more than its title; there are a few links between autism and child prodigous. They simply share similar traits at this point and cannot be considered proof until further and more extensive research is done and verified.

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This page contains a single entry by Samantha Powers published on November 26, 2012 7:54 PM.

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