The Einstein syndrome is a phrase coined by Sowell and Camarata for a group of children that begin to talk very late in their lives. The syndrome has been coined after the late Albert Einstein who was exceptionally gifted but a late talker.
The characteristics that some children with this syndrome display are similar to what he displayed. These children are not linguistically challenged. In fact, these children are said to be exceptionally gifted. Certain areas of their brain are developing so fast that the area, which controls language mastery, suffers.
The Einstein syndrome
The syndrome shows some typical characteristics that are exhibited by children.
Children Are Social Recluses
Most of the children are shown to be socially inadequate and prefer to keep to themselves. However, they show great reasoning and analytical ability.
Parents Are Exceptionally Gifted
Children who show symptoms of this syndrome come from family backgrounds that have exceptionally gifted parents. Most of the parents and relatives are great thinkers, economists, engineers or renowned musicians.
Mastery Over Other Milestones
While these children show a pervasive speech delay, they show excellent mastery over other milestones like fine motor skills, running, walking, and dexterity. Their fluid intelligence is very sharp, they can solve word, and jigsaw puzzles at a much earlier age than their average counterparts can.
The speech delays are profound in such children. Most of the children can only speak 1-2 words by the time they are 3. They are able to construct a proper sentence only when they are 4.
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Precocious With Sharp Memory
The children are extremely precocious with very sharp memory skills. They show mastery over the use of an instrument or computer much before their other peers.
It has been seen that boys are more susceptible and vulnerable to developing this disorder than girls.
The Einstein syndrome can often be misdiagnosed leading to a differential diagnosis of other neurological disorders like autism, ADD. Hence, the parent has to be very attuned to the child’s symptoms and seek professional help from experts.
The Impact Of Late Talking
The distress caused by late talking is not because of the delays but because of the social stigma and ridicule that parents of these children have to face when their child is unfavourably compared to other children. It has been seen that most children with the Einstein syndrome only start talking by the time they are 4 or 5.
While their speech is delayed, they are not retarded. They are seen to be exceptionally bright and intelligent. In fact, many children have shown mastery over basic computer skills. Parents are often burdened with guilt and responsibility and it is the mother who has to take flack for her late talking child.
A Sense Of Isolation
It has been seen that parents of children with Einstein syndrome feel an acute sense of isolation because they do not know anyone else who is experiencing the same thing. The guilt intensifies when other physical and neurological problems have been ruled out. Despite this, the child can develop mastery over his speech though the progress made is very slow as compared to his/her peers.
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