Darold Treffert

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Darold Treffert
Alma materBethany Lutheran College (1953) University of Wisconsin Medical School (MD, 1958)
Scientific career
FieldsSavant syndrome Autism spectrum disorder Hyperlexia
InstitutionsTreffert Center

Agnesian HealthCare St. Agnes Hospital Fond du Lac County Health Care Center Marian University University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee University of Wisconsin Medical School

Winnebago Mental Health
Websitewww.treffertcenter.com www.savantsyndrome.com

Darold A. Treffert (born March 12, 1933) is a retired psychiatrist and current research director who specializes in the epidemiology of autism spectrum disorders and savant syndrome. He lives in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. He is on the staff at Agnesian HealthCare and serves on the Board of Trustees of Marian University. Treffert was a clinical professor at the University of Wisconsin Medical School. He is also a clinical professor at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.[1]


Treffert first attended Bethany Lutheran College where he focused on pre-medical courses and earned an associate in arts degree in 1953. He received his medical doctorate in 1958 from the University of Wisconsin Medical School. He interned in Eugene, Oregon, and then completed a residency in psychiatry at University Hospitals (now University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics) in Madison, Wisconsin.[1]


External video
Accidental Genius, Darold Treffert, 17:58, TEDx Fond du Lac[2]

In 1976, he held positions in the private practice of psychiatry, was executive director of the Fond du Lac County Health Care Center and the medical director of the Alcoholism Rehabilitation Unit of St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac. From 1979 to 1980, Treffert was president of the State Medical Society of Wisconsin and from 1981 to 1987 was chair of its board of directors. He has also been the president of the Wisconsin Psychiatric Association and the American Association of Psychiatric Administrators. In 1995, he was appointed to the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board and, in January 2002, was elected its chair.[1]

Treffert maintains a website on autism, savant syndrome, and related conditions hosted by the Wisconsin Medical Society.[3][4] He currently holds a research director position at the Treffert Center, Agnesian HealthCare in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.[5]


He received awards from the Wisconsin Mental Health Association, the Office of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.[1]


Treffert has made appearances on 60 Minutes, CBS Evening News, The Phil Donahue Show, Discovery Channel, Larry King Live, the Newshour, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Today and in a number of documentaries.[1]


Treffert has written articles in Scientific American and MIND.[6] His books include:

  • Extraordinary People: Understanding Savant Syndrome, iUniverse.com, 2000. ISBN 0-595-09239-X
  • Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired, and Sudden Savant. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2010. ISBN 978-1-84905-810-0

See also[edit]

Historical figures sometimes considered autistic


External links[edit]