This is an interesting article about genius. Although it does not mention autism, we think many of us can identify, as the problems of genius mentioned in the article are often the problem of autism too, not only isolation and poor social skills, but also very sharp senses (they don’t mention “sensory overload” in the article, but that’s what it is and it appears that many geniuses suffer from sensory overload according to the article).
Excerpt from this article: http://www.albert-einstein.org/article_handicap.html The very last sentence of the excerpt (that if they had tried to “cure” him he would not have become Einstein) is significant, although there are parts that don’t use appropriate expressions, like “afflicted with autism”.
A different aspect may be Einstein’s social behavior. It prompted some specialists to place him among those afflicted with autism, or its milder form, a developmental disorder called Asperger’s Syndrome. Children suffering from AS are characterized as aloof and emotionally detached; their socially inappropriate behavior and their extreme egocentricity prevent them from interacting successfully with their peers. They appear to have little empathy for others and to lack social or emotional reciprocity. Other symptoms include motor clumsiness, non-verbal communication problems, repetitive routines and stereotyped mannerisms and the idiosyncrasy for loud or sudden noises. One of the most interesting aspects of their personality is the “perseveration” an obsessive interest in a single object or topic to the exclusion of any other.
Some of the characterizations of AS described in the paragraph above actually apply well to the young Albert as we know him from Maja’s and Max Talmey’s recollections.
Both Maja and Talmey describe a boy who took little interest in boisterous games and, in general, in his peers, a boy who would concentrate patiently on elaborate constructions with building blocks or playing cards, delve into books and tricky arithmetic problems or play the violin. A sort of glass pane, as he called it many years later, separated him from his fellow human beings. Had such “social phobia” then been classified as a personality disorder, and had his parents and doctors felt the need to ‘heal’ the boy by making him conform to some norm, Albert might not have become Einstein.
Yes, “creativity and eminent achievement” are the right definition of genius.