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The mysterious power of the brain: Autism

Autism is a mental disease which prevents those who suffer from it from
communicating with the world. Victims seem to live in a world of their own
which, even now, doctors are unable to penetrate. The illness was first given a
name in 1943, and yet doctors have made very little progress in their
understanding of the disease since then. According to statistics, between two and
four children out of every 1, are born autistic.
!ften victims are not able to spea", read or write. #ut what is most
e$traordinary about the illness is the fact that in other areas many of the children
can perform almost super%human feats of the brain. !ne of the more common
s"ills these so%called autistic savants have is calendrical calculation, that is the
ability to say which day of the wee" a particular date falls on. &ac"ie, for
instance, who is now 4', could do this from the age of si$, when she first began
to tal". (he can tell you what day of the wee" it was on 1 April 1933 with
scarcely a moment)s hesitation. #ut if you as" her how she does it, she)ll say she
doesn)t "now.
*eslie *em"e only has to hear a piece of music once and he can play it bac"
on the piano note%perfect. +et he has never had any formal musical training, is
blind and has an ,- of ./. ,f you as" 0ichard the route of any bus in the *ondon
district, he will give you an answer immediately. (tephen 1iltshire has
e$ceptional artistic talents and, li"e both *eslie and 0ichard, combines this talent
with a remar"able memory, and can draw buildings with complete architectural
accuracy, sometimes only hours after seeing them for the first time. !ther
savants are able to carry out ama2ing mathematical computations in their heads,
but cannot add up simple numbers.
The mystery of how savants perform such tric"s is as elusive to the medical
world as it is to &ac"ie and the others li"e her. 3ertain common characteristics
have, however, emerged. (trangest of all, perhaps, is the fact that about /. per
cent of all recorded cases are male. #ut what is also pu22ling is why the range of
savant s"ills is so narrow4 these include music 5usually the piano6, calendrical or
other mathematical calculation, art, e$tra%sensory perception, e$traordinary
sensitivity of touch or smell and 5more unusually6 mechanical ability.
,t has been suggested that autistic people do not suffer7 that they are perfectly
happy to remain in their own world and that a cure is only necessary in order to
reduce the terrible pain of re8ection felt by the victims) families. This
controversial opinion is, however, only held by a few.
The sub8ect has become the focus of particular media interest since 9ustin
:offman)s portrayal of an autistic savant in the film Rain Man, for which he won
an !scar. This has increased public awareness of the disease and hopefully will
result in more money being given to research and a cure being found as soon as

Leia as questes abaixo. Escolha a opo correta.
1 ! ;ue < o autismo=
A uma doen>a comum 3 uma doen>a infecciosa
# uma doen>a f?sica 9 uma doen>a da mente
' ! ;ue < particularmente incomum com rela>@o As pessoas autistas < ;ue muitas
delas tBm
A memCria e$tremamente curta 3 talentos naturais e$traordinDrios
# c<rebro maior do ;ue a m<dia 9 inteligBncia muito acima da m<dia
3 Ees;uisas m<dicas descobriram ;ue
A o autismo n@o afeta os se$os igualmente.
# as pessoas autistas sentem%se re8eitadas pelos seus familiares.
3 somente alguns autistas sentem%se re8eitados pelos seus familiares.
9 todos os sDbios autistas tBm uma ampla variedade de habilidades.
4 (eguindo o sucesso do filme 0ain Fan.
A as pessoas tBm doado mais dinheiro para as pes;uisas sobre autismo.
# a m?dia tem demonstrado um maior interesse com rela>@o ao autismo.
3 o pGblico tem demonstrado conhecimento sobre o autismo.
9 pes;uisadores descobriram a cura para o autismo.