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The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late

The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late

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by Thomas Sowell

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The Einstein Syndrome is a follow-up to Late-Talking Children, which established Thomas Sowell as a leading spokesman on the subject. While many children who talk late suffer from developmental disorders or autism, there is a certain well-defined group who are developmentally normal or even quite bright, yet who may go past their fourth birthday before beginning to


The Einstein Syndrome is a follow-up to Late-Talking Children, which established Thomas Sowell as a leading spokesman on the subject. While many children who talk late suffer from developmental disorders or autism, there is a certain well-defined group who are developmentally normal or even quite bright, yet who may go past their fourth birthday before beginning to talk. These children are often misdiagnosed as autistic or retarded, a mistake that is doubly hard on parents who must first worry about their apparently handicapped children and then must see them lumped into special classes and therapy groups where all the other children are clearly very different.Since he first became involved in this issue in the mid-1990s, Sowell has joined with Stephen Camarata of Vanderbilt University, who has conducted a much broader, more rigorous study of this phenomenon than the anecdotes reported in Late-Talking Children. Sowell can now identify a particular syndrome, a cluster of common symptoms and family characteristics, that differentiates these late-talking children from others; relate this syndrome to other syndromes; speculate about its causes; and describe how children with this syndrome are likely to develop.

Editorial Reviews

Drawing from the results of two studies of children who are "unusually late -- sometimes years behind schedule -- beginning to talk" but are, at the same time, way ahead of their peers in intellectual development (Einstein was such a child), this book will assuage the anxiety and guilt experienced by most parents of these children and demystify this misunderstood condition. Sowell reveals family patterns that have been observed, explores possible causes for Einstein syndrome, and charts the expected development of the late-talking but very bright child, while meticulously supporting his assertions with charts and statistics from both studies. The author's clear mastery of this subject and his generally positive attitude will be an additional comfort to parents.
Two separate studies provide dramatic stories of children who are exceptionally bright and at the same time exceptionally late in beginning to talk. Examples of famous as well as ordinary individuals in many walks of life are presented. Some names you will recognize are pianists Clara Schumann and Arthur Rubinstein and Nobel prize winners in physics Richard Feynman and Albert Einstein. The book also explores are the more immediately pressing personal question of how parents can cope with problems of a late-talking child and the often much bigger problems of officials who want to "label" these children and shunt them off into questionable programs. 2001, Basic Books Inc., $25.00. Ages Adult. Reviewer: C. Henebry SOURCE: Parent Council, September 2001 (Vol. 9, No. 1)

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Basic Books
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Meet the Author

Thomas Sowell has taught economics at a number of colleges and universities, including Cornell, University of California Los Angeles, and Amherst. He has published both scholarly and popular articles and books on economics, and is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

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The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book after my child was diagnosed with autism. Our family fit the 'Sowell profile' to a T: intellectually gifted family, musical, work in science related fields, etc. I clung to this book hoping it pertained to my child because it fit so well. Unfortuately, the diagnosis of autism was correct. For two years I was in denial. There very well may be a subset of children who are late talkers, I do not dispute that; but these children are very rare. The tone of the book portrayed school systems and early intervention as if they were only driven by their desire to find more autistic kids and get federal funding. The book also states that it does not want to give 'false hopes' but that is exactly what it does. All of Mr. Sowells case studies sound surprisingly autistic, so my child fit in well with the descriptions. I hope that people who decide to buy this book and will read my review and be cautiously optimistic instead of foolish like I was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Case-study on delayed speaking in children. Note this is for children that do not speak at ALL not "picky speakers" and by late they are mostly talking about 3+
Guest More than 1 year ago
Our son was under the autistic umberella. Although he had many autistic qualities it did not seem to quite fit. He was affectionate and understood things we would say to him. He could play piano and build amazing structures before he was talking. I found this book when he was four. He fit the profile exactly. We continued with speech and occupational therapy. He attended a regular preschool and elementary school. He struggled socially for the first few years. Basically playing catch up for years he secluded himself from others. He is now in fourth grade and has several good friends, does very well academically in school, is amazing with legos, and wants to be an architech. He has zero signs of autism or sensitivity issues. His teachers can not believe he was ever under the autistic umbrella. I agree with the person who claims it is potentialy dangerous and feel for their situation, but they warn you in the first chapter about that. There really is this group of late-talkers. We lived it. There are other parents right now that are going through this and need this book. It is the responsiblity of the parent to be realistic about what is going on with their child. I work with autistic children and there is an obvious diffence between the children in the study and autistic children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is any many ways a follow up to Dr. Sowell's previous work Late Talking Children. While the author's primary focus is on children who talk late but have other exceptional strengths such as Albert Einstein had, many of his conclusions are also helpful for parents of any late-talking children. As a parent of three late-talking children, all of whom have differing abilities in other areas, the most important thing that I gained from this book is that language difficulty is not necessarily an indicator of autism and/or mental retardation, or any other non-language difficiency. Dr Sowell argues convincingly that it can be quite possible to have a late talking child with average, above average or even exceptional cognitive skills. The important thing for parents to do is to get as many qualified, professional opinions as possible as to your child's true abilities, and not simply to trust that any one specialist (especially if that specialist is connected with the public school system) has made a reliable assessment of your child's true abilities. Far too many late talking children are being misdiagnosed as autistic or mentally retarded and being put on a non-academic track in the public school system. This book should convince parents to get a second, disinterested opinion before they agree to put their late talking child on such a life altering course.