First broadcast in 2005, The Boy With the Incredible Brain is a documentary about Daniel Tammet who has a fantastic ability with numbers and languages. He can learn to speak a new language in one week. He wrote a memoir called Born On A Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant.
I had quite a severe seizure as a very small child- a series of seizures and a diagnosis of epilepsy was made.
I know you didn’t integrate that well. I remember you walking around the playground, looking up at the trees.
By most measures Daniel is Autistic but he’s also picked up enough social skills to blend in.
Being in New York you have all these huge skyscrapers, it’s intimidating for me. And all the time I had this sensation of being surrounded by nines- the number nine is all around me. It can be a very nerve-wracking experience.
He says the answers are coming to him spontaneously, out of his mental imagery.
He does have some sense of emotion associated with these numbers because the skin response was off the charts.
My estimate is that there are probably fewer than fifty such people living worldwide.
That line between profound talent and profound disability seems really a surprisingly thin one.