This is an introduction to the intriguing world of savants, people who have special abilities in certain specific skill areas.

Created by: Vivian Bottino
Capistrano U.S.D. Autism Specialist 


Resources Needed: 


Your Task: 

You will pick three internet articles on savants that spark your interest and review them. Then you will tap into your own savantism and design your own crossword puzzles using your chosen vocabulary.

My son, Dane Bottino is an artistic savant. He can draw almost anything.
He particularly likes to use black permanent ink pens and has never used an eraser.
He seems to see what he wants to draw and places it in his minds eye on the paper before he draws it.

He always fills the page correctly and although it looks very similar to whatever it is supposed to be his personality shows through his art. When he was little he drew thousands of pictures a day, but did not talk. Now he talks in simple sentences, but his artwork is still his most comfortable way to communicate. If you are interested in learning alittle more about him click on Savant Syndrome. He is D.B. Another famous artistic savant is Richard Wawro. Savantism comes in many forms. There are savants in music, mathematics, memory,calendar calculating, mechanical achievement and sensory discrimination Skills and Savants.

If you are interested in music Perfect Pitch is quite an article on music savantism.In The Rainman in all of Us 

it shows that even you might be capable of wonders unknown. It tells how each person can trick their brain and concentrate in one area and specialize.The real rain man, Kim Peek  , is known for his mathematics and computation skills. Temple Grandin is a savant who claims Her Mind is a Web Browser . She actually thinks in pictures. Many people that spend alot of time using computers are develping this part of their brain. Much research in this area has been done lately. Check these recent articles Islands of Genius, BBC Tuning in to Genius, and the Total Brain.  

Now you are going to tap into your own special talents. You are going to design and print out a puzzle. You can use the puzzlemaker,or  really challenge your genius and make up a puzzle similar to the brain puzzles in Total Brain.Remember you need to use at least 10 vocabulary  words that are related to the topic of savants.Print out two copies of your puzzle. Give one to your lab partner and give one to your teacher for your grade.

A Few Internet Resources:


Created August 14, 2000
Last Revised August 16, 2000

Teacher Notes

Suggested Grade Level: 9 to 12 

Science Content Standards

Grade 7: Investigation and research in area 2 - Genetics
Grade 9-12: Investigation and  research in area 2 -Genetics/ How mutations lead to genetic variation in a population

S.C.O.R.E. Lessons Standards Search by Grade and Subject
S.C.O.R.E. Standards and Framework
California Content Standards Grades K-12
California Content Standards Grades K-12 - Science - PDF Format


Students need a basic background in internet access and have the ability to synthesis information that they have read.The students wil learn by making their own mental puzzles for other students in the class to try.


Interpreting data, making inferences, forming hypotheses, and synthesizing what they have learned into a finished product
Computer literacy
Effective use of Internet resources 


Presentations - worksheet, puzzles, and mind teasers 


Presentations -PowerPoint or Hyperstudio, student created web page.