|Basic InformationMore InformationLatest NewsQuestions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews|100 Things Guys Need to Know3 NBS of Julian DrewA Guide to Asperger SyndromeA Tribe ApartA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDA Walk in the Rain With a BrainAdolescence and Body ImageAdolescent DepressionAfterAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAll Alone in the UniverseAmelia RulesAmericaAnother PlanetAntisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsArtemis FowlAssessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems, Second EditionAutistic Spectrum DisordersBad GirlBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBeyond Diversity DayBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBill HensonBipolar DisordersBody Image, Eating Disorders, and ObesityBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBoyBoysBrandedBreaking PointBreathing UnderwaterBringing Up ParentsBullying and TeasingCan't Eat, Won't EatCatalystChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChildren Changed by TraumaChildren with Emerald EyesChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of OneConcise Guide to Child and Adolescent PsychiatryConquering the Beast WithinContentious IssuesCrackedCutDancing in My NuddypantsDemystifying the Autistic ExperienceDescartes' BabyDilemmas of DesireDirtyDoing ItDoing SchoolDying to Be ThinEating an ArtichokeEducating Children With AutismElijah's CupEllison the ElephantEmerald City BluesEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEvery Girl Tells a StoryFast GirlsFeather BoyFiregirlForever YoungFreaks, Geeks and Asperger SyndromeFreewillGeography ClubGeorgia Under WaterGirl in the MirrorGirlfightingGirlsourceGirlWiseGLBTQGood GirlsGoodbye RuneGranny Torrelli Makes SoupGrowing Up GirlHandbook for BoysHealing ADDHeartbeatHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHollow KidsHow Children Learn the Meanings of WordsHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tHug MeIntrusive ParentingIt's Me!It's Perfectly NormalJake RileyJoey Pigza Swallowed the KeyJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKeeping the MoonKilling MonstersKim: Empty InsideKnocked Out by My Nunga-NungasLaura Numeroff's 10-Step Guide to Living with Your MonsterLearning About School ViolenceLeo the Lightning BugLet Kids Be KidsLiberation's ChildrenLife As We Know ItLisa, Bright and DarkLittle ChicagoLord of the FliesLoserLove and SexLove That DogManicMastering Anger and AggressionMind FieldsMiss American PieMom, Dad, I'm Gay.MonsterMore Than a LabelMyths of ChildhoodNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNo Two AlikeNot Much Just Chillin'Odd Girl OutOdd Girl Speaks OutOn the Frontier of AdulthoodOne Hot SecondOne in ThirteenOphelia SpeaksOphelia's MomOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the DustOvercoming School AnxietyParenting and the Child's WorldParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerPediatric PsychopharmacologyPeriod PiecesPhobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and AdolescentsPINSPraising Boys WellPraising Girls WellPretty in PunkPrincess in the SpotlightProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Psychotherapy As PraxisPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsRaising a Self-StarterRaising BlazeRaising Resilient ChildrenReclaiming Our ChildrenRedressing the EmperorReducing Adolescent RiskRethinking ADHDReweaving the Autistic TapestryRineke DijkstraRitalin is Not the Answer Action GuideRunning on RitalinSay YesSexual Teens, Sexual MediaSexuality in AdolescenceShooterShort PeopleShould I Medicate My Child?Skin GameSmackSmashedStaying Connected to Your TeenagerStick FigureStoner & SpazStop Arguing with Your KidsStraight Talk about Your Child's Mental HealthStrong, Smart, & BoldStudent DepressionSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving OpheliaTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaming the Troublesome ChildTargeting AutismTeaching Problems and the Problems of TeachingTeen Angst? NaaahThat SummerThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Arctic IncidentThe Bipolar ChildThe Buffalo TreeThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Carnivorous CarnivalThe Depressed ChildThe Developing MindThe Dragons of AutismThe Dream BearerThe Dulcimer Boy The Einstein SyndromeThe EpidemicThe Eternity CubeThe Explosive ChildThe Field of the DogsThe First IdeaThe Identity TrapThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Little TernThe Mean Girl MotiveThe Men They Will BecomeThe Myth of LazinessThe New Gay TeenagerThe Notebook GirlsThe Nurture AssumptionThe Opposite of InvisibleThe Order of the Poison OakThe Other ParentThe Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Rise and Fall of the American TeenagerThe Secret Lives of GirlsThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Shared HeartThe Spider and the BeeThe StepsThe Thought that CountsThe Unhappy ChildThe Vile VillageThe Whole ChildThen Again, Maybe I Won'tTherapy with ChildrenThings I Have to Tell YouTouching Spirit BearTrauma in the Lives of ChildrenTreacherous LoveTrue BelieverTwistedUnhappy TeenagersWay to Be!We're Not MonstersWhat about the KidsWhat Would Joey Do?What's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhen Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Sex Goes to SchoolWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWhere The Kissing Never StopsWhose America?Why Are You So Sad?WinnicottWorried All the TimeYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!You Hear MeYoung People and Mental HealthYour Child, Bully or Victim?
by Thomas Sowell
Basic Books, 2001
Review by E. Siobhan Mitchell on Oct 15th 2002
It is ironic how 30 years ago
doctors were loath to give parents a diagnosis of autism when presented with a
late-talking child, yet now parents must fight to convince child evaluators
that a late-talking toddler does not always indicate pervasive developmental
disorder. The Einstein Syndrome focuses this small component of children
who might outwardly give all the signs of autism, such as fascination with
mechanical devices and reluctance to speak, who are actually normal social and
in terms of general intelligence. The name of the book comes from the famous
anecdote on Einstein, who purportedly didnt speak full sentences until age 5,
and was labeled an idiot despite exceptional mathematical ability. With The
Einstein Syndrome, Thomas Sowell, a noted economist affiliated with
Stanford, has followed up his earlier book, Late-Talking Children, with
more detailed case studies and a large section on advice to parents of
So how exactly did an economist
come to write about child development syndromes? Sowell begins his book by
relating his own experiences as a parent of a child who refused to speak until
kindergarten. He had clues that his son was intelligent by observing him
opening complicated child safety gates but found that friends and colleagues
were more discouraging about his sons intellect. Sowell found that little
documentation of this Einstein syndrome existed, and so embarked on his own
research with Dr. Stephen Camarata, collecting families and studying
similarities between them.
This book is a very useful volume
for any parents with a child whose behavior fits that of the Einstein
Syndrome. There are several chapters describing the kinds of parents that may
be more likely to have a late-talking child, such as engineers or musicians,
with extensive descriptions of behavior associated with late-talking children.
However, the bulk of the book discusses individual case studies of adults and
adolescents who were late-talking. Sowell has acquired a large database of
Einstein Syndrome children where he documents their behavior from infant to
adult, indicating their level of academic achievement or other notable skills
such as instrument-playing or computer programming. The feeling one gets from
reading these case studies is that he attempt to give the rosiest picture
possible of late-talking children, emphasizing their abilities and glossing
over deficits. Sowell finishes the book with several chapters on how parents
can get help for their late-talking progeny. There are listings of psychologists
who can provide developmental testing, websites and associations devoted to
Einstein Syndrome children. He asserts the importance of early intervention
in maximizing the potential of such individuals and ends with his personal
thoughts on sociological implications of Einstein Syndrome.
There are several aspects of this
book that need to be critiqued. First is the lack of discussion on the
cognitive neuroscience aspects of Einstein Syndrome. The epidemiological
studies cited give evidence that this syndrome does, in fact, exist, but Sowell
does not even offer possibilities on how such a cognitive phenomenon may arise.
Secondly, the case studies project a somewhat biased perspective, in that each
individual is depicted as an ultimately successful individual. Sowell records
how most case studies had moderate success in school and in finding an
appropriate career but does not delve into the social adjustment of these
children. This omission is surprising since one would expect that the main difficulty
of overcoming late speech is learning how to developing relationships with
people through communication. The author uses social descriptions of case
studies mainly to point out how these children cant be autistic, but doesnt
assess whether these adolescents are socially successful. A third critique
would be the fact that this book may be detrimental to those parents who do
have an autistic child but want to believe he or she is only late-talking.
The Einstein Syndrome is a
fascinating look at a very little known cognitive development pattern. Sowell
has obviously researched this book as a labor of love, since it is such a
radical departure from his chosen area of expertise. He presents a sympathetic
and thoughtful portrayal of what is like to be a parent of a late-talking child
and offers hope and advice on how to raise one.
© 2002 E. Siobhan Mitchell
E. Siobhan Mitchell writes about
I am a 27 year old PhD student in neuroscience living in
upstate NY. I am studying the effects of prenatal drug exposure on the brain.
My favorite authors are Diana Wynne Jones and Wilton Barnhardt. I love reading
coming-of-age books and watching the same type of movies. I have a
three-year-old son who loves listening to Harry Potter as a bed-time story.