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Psychologist probes possible link between prodigy, autism

New book contends young geniuses may inform study of developmental disorder

By
9:00am, February 19, 2016
Mozart

EARLY GENIUS  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, depicted at age 6 in this 1763 portrait, is one of the best known child prodigies. A new book examines a possible link between prodigy and autism. 

Joanne Ruthsatz and Kimberly Stephens
Current, $28

In 1998, Joanne Ruthsatz traveled to Louisiana to meet a 6-year-old musical genius. Ruthsatz, a graduate student at the time, hoped to evaluate the boy as part of her work “unearthing the inner workings of the prodigy mind.” While taking a break from testing her subject, Ruthsatz met the boy’s cousin — a nonverbal teenager with autism. She suddenly wondered: Could there be a link between one boy’s talent and his relative’s autism? 

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