Prodigy vs Savant
Whenever we come across a person with some extraordinary talent or skill, we tend to describe him with words like genius, prodigy, gifted, savant and some more. We tend to equate these words with each other without pausing for a moment to think, if there indeed are any differences between a savant and a prodigy. This article tries to take a closer look at the two concepts to find and highlight the differences.
Though a child is usually prefixed with prodigy, the concept can be applied to adults, as well. A prodigy is a person with exceptional talent in a particular field. A prodigy does not necessarily translate into a genius later on in his life, and when this does happen, the person is described as precocious talent that did not deliver as an adult.
A savant is a person who may give the impression of being exceptionally talented in one field, though; he may not have the intelligence to put his perceived skill into good effect or use. In fact, a savant may not even understand the implication of his extraordinary skill level in a particular field. Most savant persons are retarded and in conjunction have autism. However, not all autistic people are savants. A savant never qualifies to be a prodigy.
It is hard to believe one’s eyes when one comes across a savant; it is hard to believe a retarded person can have such extraordinary talent or skill in a particular field. The most obvious difference between a savant and a prodigy is that, despite perceived abilities, savants are, in reality, retarded persons and in 50% of cases, also autistic. On the other hand, prodigies never have any mental disability in conjunction with their extraordinary ability.
A savant is a person with one or the other developmental disorder and simultaneously has an extraordinary skill, brilliance or expertise that seems to defy his mental limitations.
There are some people who classify as prodigious savants. This kind of people are extremely rare with only about a 100 cases reported so far in the last century or so. Such a savant person has an extraordinary skill or ability without any ostensible cognitive disability. The abilities of prodigious savants are of such high level that these abilities are rare even in normal people.
What is the difference between Prodigy and Savant?
• To a casual observer, especially when observing exceptional abilities only, a savant and a prodigy might look similar. It is only on closer analysis that it becomes clear that savants are retarded people and have autistic trait. Not all autistic people are savants; also, only about 50% of savants are autistic.
• A prodigy is always related to children and never associated with any disability.