What are Splinter Skills and Are They Useful?

a cute little girl in a science lab smiling at camera in lab coat and her splinter skill is science

Last Updated on

May 3rd, 2024 12:20 pm

We all know extraordinary people in our lives who can recite Pi to 100 decimals or can play any Flight of the Bumblebee on any musical instrument with their arms behind their back.

And, every now and again someone will bring up the stereotypical genius as portrayed in Dustin Hoffman’s Rain Man. But are these random bursts of pure genius actually useful, or is there more to this than meets the eye?

Let’s delve deeper into the world of splinter skills and find out why they mystify so many of us.

What are Splinter Skills?

Splinter skills, sometimes known as savant skills, are not essential to the main task at hand, but are special skills that others may see as exceptional abilities. For example, a developer may be able to code an entire program twice as fast as his colleagues, but may struggle in most academic areas. Some children with Autism may conduct instantaneous calendar calculations in their brain without help. Savant skills, as they’re otherwise known, can help extraordinary people with developmental disabilities be more efficient and productive when working on a specific task or goal.

Sometimes, such as the developer example, many savant skills can be beneficial to the cognitive profile if used properly and over time. It’s possible that certain splinters may be useless to the child later in life, but others such as advanced social skills (which by definition override the classic autistic stereotype) last a lifetime.

Savant skills are quite common among such extraordinary people with an intellectual disability or developmental disabilities such as Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Their ability to generalize ideas and concepts from one situation to another is unmatched by neurotypical peers. Those with academic splinter skills are sometimes considered more intelligent because they have the ability to understand a concept or idea in many contexts and use that understanding for other situations later.

What are the Benefits of Developing Splinter Skills?

There are many benefits to developing your splinter skills. For one, you may find that these special abilities lay a foundation for real-world interests and abilities. Additionally, some children with splinter skills are able to integrate them into classroom activities, whether in a traditional classroom or through Autism education programs. Other children with Autism find that memorizing their scripts isn’t beneficial in any way other than self-calming.

While having such remarkable abilities may seem impressive at first glance, it’s important to remember that these abilities that autistic savants have can also be considered a disadvantage. Because they’re so uncommon, people with special skills often struggle to find a functional application for their skills, ie, how they can be used in the “real world.”

Additionally, many splinter abilities are beyond comprehension. As prodigious savants become more capable of understanding what they’re viewing, their cognitive profile, social interaction and academic skills improve.

Hyperlexia as a Savant Skill

Academic savant abilities such as Hyperlexia III, a splinter skill involving language, are a great example of this. Children with Hyperlexia will often go on to achieve academic success with higher-level language skills that allow them to work with words (such as the writer of this article!).

The use of academic splinter skills such as Hyperlexia can help children with autism in all aspects of life. This skill is not just for children with Autism, but it can also be used to teach and support those with other disabilities who may struggle to read and understand instructions, such as dyslexic students.

With a little practice, anyone can develop their splinter skills and make use of their special abilities in ways they never thought possible!

Scrabble Players have Hyperlexia as a Splinter Skill

Scrabble Players have Hyperlexia as a Splinter Skill

What are Splinter Skills in the Autism Spectrum?

Autistic splinter skills are unique talents that subgroups of individuals on the Autism spectrum often have. These savant abilities can be anything from being able to remember vast amounts of information to being able to focus intensely on a single task.

While not all students with Autism Spectrum Disorder achieve academic success, many gifted students use their splinter skills to monetize their talents or seek a better future for everyone. They are often a source of great pride and can be a major contributor to their success.

Some of these skills are actually seen by many as a hindrance, as a standard deviation from the normal. Such examples of splinter skills include: enhanced sensory perception, enhanced sense of smell and taste, tunnel vision or other visual distortions, and extreme dexterity. Students with Autism may have one or more of these skills, which unless nurtured and encouraged, can be seen as negatives and hindrances.

It is important to remember that any subgroup of individuals can differ from one person to the next, and neurodiversity is no exception. So don’t expect all people with ASD to have the same splinter skills. Each individual has their own strengths and weaknesses which should be celebrated!

How Do Splinter Skills Appear?

Splinter skills are special abilities that are so unique and valuable that they can easily be used to splinter off and start your own business. They can be anything from a musical genius exercising their perfect pitch and musical ability on stage, to a businessman with extraordinary memory engaging in public speaking and entrepreneurship. When you have a splinter skill, you are in a great position to succeed with the right help and support.

They can help gifted children and adults alike feel unique and special, especially if they are otherwise struggling with a lot of difficulties in life. Unfortunately, because they don’t always make sense within the context of someone’s overall abilities, splinter skills can also lead to a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding.

Kids Playing Chess

Chess is an example of a Splinter Skill

What Common Mistakes Do People Make When Developing Their Talents?

There are many common mistakes that people make when they try to develop their splinter skills. One of the most common mistakes is trying to learn too much at once and not honing in on that standard deviation that makes Autistic persons unique. When you overload your brain with too much information, it becomes difficult to focus on anything, and you will not be able to learn effectively. Unless your savant skill is having an extraordinary memory, of course!

Another mistake people often make is not practising regularly. If you want to improve your skills, you need to practice regularly and push yourself outside your comfort zone.

A third mistake is failing to ask for help when needed. There’s no shame in admitting that you don’t know something and asking someone for help. In fact, this can be a great way to learn and improve your skills quickly. What you may perceive as a lack of skill may in fact be a considerable skill in someone else’s eyes. So it’s always good to get a second opinion for context.

Finally, one of the most common mistakes the most prodigous savant makes is giving up too easily. It takes time and effort to develop splinter skills, but if you persevere, you will eventually achieve success.

Parent-Child Relationships

It’s important for parents of children who are autistic savants to teach them how to use their talents responsibly and wisely, instead of letting them rely entirely on memorization as a way of learning new information. Examples of this include understanding the “why” behind their talent, such as when practising maths tables or charts, rather than “just knowing the answer”.

It’s important for parents to realize that not all children learn in the same way, and that some may have special skills which other children lack. Children with developmental delays, for example, may lack certain skills, such as being able to recite meaningless memorized sounds or social interaction. But another student might be a naturally gifted public speaker.

Yet, the same individuals who struggle in one area often excel in other areas – such as having an amazing ability to remember details or pictures perfectly. So it’s important for parents to foster these strengths and help their autistic child develop cognitive abilities positively.

Tips for Improving Your Splinter Skills

If you’re looking to improve your Splinter skills, we’ve got some tips for you!

1. Find out what your splinter skills are:

You’ll need to figure out exactly what your splinter skills really are before you can begin developing them. This means finding out what kind of things you do well and what kind of things you struggle with. Once you know what your splinter skills actually are, you can then decide how best to use them.

2. Get started right away

Don’t wait until later to get started developing your natural ability. The sooner you start working on your splinter skills, the better. You’ll find that as you work on these new skills, others will come along naturally.

3. Keep it simple

Don’t overcomplicate things. Make sure you keep your learning simple and straightforward. Communication skills can be difficult to master in today’s society, especially for autistic individuals!

4. Focus on the fundamentals

The key to developing any skill lies in mastering the basic skills first that define your natural ability. Don’t worry about perfection or even mastery just yet. Instead, focus on doing things correctly and consistently.

5. Be patient.

Developing your splinter skills requires patience. Remember that it will take time to master them, and you may have to repeat certain steps several times before you finally get it right. It’s common for gifted underachievers to feel like giving up, but over time these talented individuals start to see the results of their labour. So patience is everything.

6. Ask for help

It’s okay to admit that you don’t know everything and ask for help. Most people who are good at something were never taught how to build on their natural gift to take basic skills to the next level. And remember, people with splinter skills you don’t have may need to ask for help with basic skills that are in fact your savant skill!

7. Have fun!

Remember that developing your “island of genius” should be enjoyable. If you find that you’re having trouble with a particular task, try taking a break from it and do something else instead.

Embrace The Gift

Splinter skills are those special abilities that only a few extraordinary people have. These rare talents allow us to do tasks that would otherwise be impossible. Yet, even the most prodigious savants are prone to making many common mistakes that mean they never find a way of using their skills to their fullest potential.

If we embrace splinter skills for what they can be, and not necessarily how they present themselves at the time, who knows what we’re capable of achieving!

Keep reading for more inspiring content embracing your neurodivergent mind!

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Rob Butler
30-Something Millennial with ADHD and suspected Autistic and Dyspraxic. Thought leader behind this website. Big visions of a better future for everyone, but forgets where he is half the time.Loves Rugby, his kids, and anything silly. Hates U2 and Marmite.

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