Einstein syndrome is a term coined by the economist Thomas Sowell to describe exceptionally bright people who experience a delay in development of speech. Commonalities include usually being boys, delayed speech development, highly educated parents, musically gifted families, puzzle-solving abilities, and lagging social development. Einstein syndrome can often be misdiagnosed as autism. Many of these high achieving late-talkers were notoriously strong willed and noncompliant as children. One major difference between Einstein syndrome and autism is that in Einstein syndrome, communication skills automatically reach a normal level and the child requires no further special treatment. Outlook with or without intervention is generally favorable.
Sowell claimed late talkers are often inaccurately categorized as having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and that a small subset of late talkers are actually highly intelligent children with common characteristics concentrated in music, memory, math or the sciences.
Einstein syndrome is named after Albert Einstein whom Sowell used as his primary example. Sowell also included Edward Teller, Srinivasa Ramanujan, the mathematician Julia Robinson, Richard Feynman, and the pianists Clara Schumann and Arthur Rubinstein to be in this group.
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