The Prodigy's Cousin

The Prodigy's Cousin

The family link between Autism and extraordinary talent



Over the course of her career, psychologist Joanne Ruthsatz has assembled the largest-ever research sample of child prodigies. Their accomplishments are epic. One could reproduce radio tunes by ear on a toy guitar at two years old. Another was a thirteen-year-old cooking sensation. And what Ruthsatz’s investigation revealed is noth­ing short of astonishing. Though the prodigies aren’t autistic, many have autistic family members. Each prodigy has an extraordinary memory and a keen eye for detail—well-known but often-overlooked strengths associated with autism.

Ruthsatz proposes a startling possibility: might the abilities of child prodigies stem from a genetic link with autism? And could prodigies - children who have many of the strengths of autism but few of the challenges - be the key to a long-awaited autism breakthrough?

This inspiring book about extraordinary children, indomitable parents and a researcher's unorthodox hunch is essential reading for anyone interested in the brain and human potential.


  • This important book shows that autism and innate talent are linked.
    Temple Grandin

About the authors

Joanne Ruthsatz

Joanne Ruthsatz is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Ohio State University. Her research has been published in distinguished scientific journals and she has been featured in various publications including Time, Scientific American, Psychology Today and The Huffington Post.
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Kimberly Stephens

Kimberly Stephens is a freelance writer, and Joanne Ruthsatz' daughter. She has degrees from Princeton and Harvard Law School, and is currently a PhD candidate at Brown University.
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