Tell me if this sounds like a child you know:
- Delayed speech development
- Usually boys
- Highly educated parents
- Musically gifted (families)
- Puzzle solving abilities
- Lagging social development
- Delayed toilet training
She could put together a puzzle of the United States when she was 2. Ernie would sit and stack yogurt cups, alone, for up to 45 minutes when she was 2 1/2 (and really started that game after her first birthday). Ernie started speaking English at 3 1/2- before that it was an amalgamation of made up signs, made up words, and 10 words others could recognize. Oh yeah, and she didn’t even begin to potty train until she was 3. (And at nearly 5, she still has occasional accidents NEXT to the toilet. Grr.) Both her dad and I have 5 years of college education, and are both musicians.
So, whatever Einstein Syndrome is, I know it’s HER. It’s not a medical term, it’s a description coined in the book of the same name, penned by Thomas Sowell in 2001. There are a group of kids out there who have been labeled either retarded or seriously delayed, because they test poorly by choosing not to do activities they aren’t good at. Einstein is a famous example- he was labeled as retarded early in his life, but in reality had amazing intelligence and developed at a different pace than his peers.
From that same Wikipedia synopsis: “The book details a series of high achieving scientists and musicians all of whom spoke late and displayed “autistic like” features (long attention span at young age, strong will, ability to play alone, delayed language/social skills) which not rarely are seen in children with extremely high intelligence.”
I think as a society we are becoming increasingly obsessed with childhood “milestones” and whether or not our kids live up to the averages. The burgeoning number of labels for children (ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s, Oppositional-Defiant, etc.) , the increasing number of children diagnosed as “on the autism spectrum” makes me believe that we are simply finding labels for a basket of behaviors that tend to go together. Whether or not the child needs medication, intervention, or just space and time to grow at their own pace I’m not qualified to say.
However, if you know a child that displays a large number of the Einstein Syndrome characteristics, I’d definitely recommend this book.
Filed under: Children