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I was enthralled reading this. My son was one of these late talkers. He didn't speak clearly until 6 years old. I knew he was highly intelligent though. He could solve puzzles and mazes with amazing ability. He seemed to have an amazing memory. He was good at building things and solving problems.

As he progressed through school it became apparent he was highly intelligent. They wanted to have him skip several grades, but he was socially backwards until his high school years, so I wouldn't let him. He was a straight A student, and made a perfect score on his ACT test the first time he took it. He made a perfect score on the english part of the SAT, and missed only one question on the math/science section. He also only took the SAT once. After he made the perfect score on the ACT, the school told us (which they had not previously) that he had scored a genius IQ on a test administered in 7th grade. They said they had no idea just how high his IQ was, because he tested as high as you could on that particular IQ test.

He was a national merit scholar and is on a full 5 year academic scholarship. He has gone to one year of college and is already a Junior. So, I think there is perhaps a lot of merit in the theory that some late talkers develop cognitive abilites rather than forming speech, and often possess genius or very high IQ's. My son followed these examples to the letter.

zack simmons

I think i might have this syndrome i started talking at 4.
I didnt start with words. i just started with sentances.
My mom kept me out of public school so i whouldn't be labeled retarded.
In the fith grade i started going to public school and in 6th grade I was put in advanced classes.
If i become an engineer
i would be fourth generation. Is there any test you can get done to see if you have it.


I also just finished reading this book and I can honestly say I am THRILLED!!!!!! I truly believe my son has the Einstein Syndrom. He is currently 4 1/2 and can talk with 3-4 maybe 5 words in a row. But, he is extremly intelligent. He can already do simple addition, and subtraction, he is also reading at a 2-3 grade reading level. He amazes us with his memory, and at 3 years old did a puzzle of The USA and whenever a piece was missing he would know which state it was. My dad was an engineer and his dad was musically gifted. I would love to chat with any other parent about their experiences, please email me at I am having difficulty with his preschool teachers. Thanks Elissa


Hey, I was a late-talker. I wasn't really talking until i was about 3-4. I consider myself to be of much greater than average intelligence (I do excellent in school and find it to be exceedingly easy). Just a word of advice to parents of genius kids: teach them to read as soon as they know how to talk, and really push reading. second to that, i encourage you to teach them as much math as you can as quickly as possible.

One of the things about my childhood that really disappoints me today is that my abilities weren't really recognized by my parents (or even by myself really) for what they were. I always wished that I was educated much more quickly when I was young. I was too young and ignorant then to put my intelligence to its optimal use.

Dave Tufte

It would be interesting to know if you have any of the other symptoms. There are lots of reasons that kids talk late, and lots of ways in which people can be intelligent, but Einstein Syndrome appears to be a rather specific set of those features.

Alicia Soto

Hello. I read 'The Einstein Syndrome' in a single sitting and cried at the end. It WAS my son, described him and our family with almost freakish accuracy. We did later have a huge developmental eval done of him, and it pretty much confirmed the "Einstein" diagnosis.

I wonder if anyone out there can help. First day of kindergarten today and it was a DISASTER. Samuel had a really rough time with the transition. At 5pm on this his first day of school ever I was called into the principal's office to listen to the teacher laundry list her complaints about his behavior. It was awful, awful. I have been crying all night.

Has anyone been through this? Can you help?
Thanks, Alicia

Dave Tufte

I'm sorry to hear about your troubles.

No ... I can't help. I can only tell you that it is working out in our situation, so hopefully it will in yours as well.


I think this is a place where people with the same concern can take heart in helping each other, rather than comparing whether one's child is "smarter" to qualify or "better" to survive than others in this situation.
I feel your pain, Alicia, so don't lose heart.

Sarah Innerst-Peterson

Hi, Alicia. My daughter, Stori, is an Einstein Syndrome kid. She is 5 years old and is currently in a Montessori school, which we find matches her temperment well. But we did have some problems with a teacher who "laundry listed" us as well. All her comments were negative. Each day was a new list of observations of how difficult, or even impossible, Stori was to "handle." I cried a lot, too, and then I decided that, since people weren't lining up to be Stori's advocate, I was going to do it. I began to insist that this teacher tell me about the positive things she observed with Stori, hoping that she would take the hint that things weren't going well.

Then, after several weeks with no change, I spoke to the head of the school and told her that this teacher was having a hard time connecting with Stori and that I thought I knew why. I said that this teacher was all structure, structure, structure, and demands that everything be done the "right" way (her way). I said that this perspective, mixed with Stori's decidedly different way of seeing and interacting with the world were a disastrous combination. I added that I looked forward to seeing how this teacher, with the head of the school, could work together to help Stori feel welcomed and approved of, as she is.

That teacher got a week-long sabbatical to consider if she really wanted to be a teacher and returned to a different classroom. Stori now looks forward to school and is excited to learn from a teacher.

This action wasn't in step with my character, as I tend to avoid confrontation like the plague, but I took a deep breath, focused on my love for my absolutely fabulous child, and let them have it. Don't give up. Don't ever let anyone tell you that because your son is different, he's a "problem." It's not true and it's not fair.

David Tufte

What a great anecdote.

As time goes on we have had less and less trouble with our son - things may change, but he's pretty stellar at school (1st grade) and home these days.

I found what you said about a Montessori school to be interesting. We have our 3 year old there now, and she is definitely not an Einstein Syndrome kid. If anything it sounds like our school is intentionally lacking structure - and that seems to be working. So it probably wasn't Montessori but the teacher.

Sarah Innerst-Peterson

Yes, one of the things we like in general about Montessori is it allows children to explore at their own pace and respects their individual processes. (Which is great for an Einstein kid.) Incidentally, you're right--it was the teacher. She actually had only started her Montessori training.

Lennon's mom

did any of your children walk late- Lennon likes to hear his baby sounds, he is 20 months and laughs appropriately. He just learned how to walk (very late) 20 months! Everything was a delay w/ him except laughing at and with his big brother. He also has mild Chiari 1


My heart goes out to you. Both of my sons have Einstein Syndrome. My oldest, who is now 11, still tells me how much he hated kindergarten. If only I had someone to tell me what I know now. We pulled our children out of school and started homeschooling this year. I can't tell you how much happier our entire family is. The biggest benefit to this is that our already accelerated children have really taken off. Our 11 yr, old has completed pre-Algebra and part of Algebra 1 in less that 4 mths. He always had a hard time socially as well. Many of the homeschool friends he has made are very advanced as well, so they have much in common. If your son really is miserable, keep homeschooling in mind.

David Tufte

I'm glad you've recognized that there is an issue and a solution that works for you.

I'm not sure who you meant when you said "my heart goes out to you". If by chance it was us, then the vXboy is doing fine in school, and has always loved it. He does have problems with bullies, but he doesn't respond appropriately so we are working on that.

David Tufte

Here'a a cute story to add to the thread.

The vXboy's first grade teacher wanted to desensitize the kids to doing poorly on tests (and also to show them that they can often figure out the right answer on a multiple choice test just by reasoning), so she gave an initial test that was far ahead of where they were.

The vXboy brought it home in his bag and didn't mention it. The vXspouse - who is the volatile one in the house - found it and freaked at the 15/24 score.

About a week later we found out that it was a test from a higher grade.

Many heartfelt apologies followed ... but this points out that you need to be extra diligent in figuring out exactly what is going on with your Einstein syndrome child.


I have been around the block so many times with my three yera old daughter,
things i have picked up are firstlt before she could walk, i watched as she sat down
and put blocks into the colours and there shape, i should of then relised that she was diffrent!! all her skills for example crawling and walking were all normal,
when she became about two and half she got hard to handle, only interested in playing by herself but very consructional, and would never wont to go out, even for a drive she'd prefer to stay home and play,
then when she turned 3 she still was only saying a few words i got worryed and took her to the local gp who stated she had autism, then that was mis digonised then i was told nothing was wrong with her, but they said she acts like she has a twin sister or somethink because she makes her own words up for example "nerily" for chocolate, "icty" for me, then when i sarted her at day care she became better behaved, but they observed her to be better then other kids that were tallking, with the graph chart she was high and then the only thing was speech that was at low,
i have been every wher trying to deal with this problem as its hard on you when kids are younger then my daughter are talking,
but if their are going to be benifts for her joy!! but it concerning as i dont know where to go to find out more, i am more worryed about if she will be ready to go to school and maybe people may make fun of her!!
its hard to work out what to do i feel bad when she talks to me in her words and i cant understand half the things she is saying!! hope someone can give me some advice

Dave Tufte

I think the message here is that there is hope but no guarantee. The vXboy went from barely saying any words intelligibly to forming 8 word sentences in about 11 weeks. I hope that happens in your case.


My son might be one of those children! Of course, I don't know if he's reading or adding things in his head because he's not even talking, and he's four.

I've been told that my son has great problem solving skills. My mother often comments that you can see those wheels turning in his head!

Tyler (my son) loves music. When he was one month old my husband observed him waving his arms and legs to the beat of a song he was playing. I'm not surprised there, because I taught myself how to read music at age 4 (I was reading at around 3) and was in the school band from fourth grade on. My mother has musical talent, as did her mother, who sang opera.

Tyler also seems to be very analytical. He'll build something, and study it--look at it from all angles. He loves to sit back and observe--he learns that way. In fact, we forbade him from watching wrestling when he was a year old because he was doing wrestling moves on his toys--and on Daddy (Think HBK elbow drop)!

The little rascal is smart! When he was two, my husband had a blanket that Tyler wanted, and Tyler kept trying to take it. Finally Tyler went and got a toy from his room and handed it to Daddy. When my husband reached out to take the toy, Tyler snatched the blanket away!

There's this one time when he was 3, my mother and I had him at the mall, and I had a harness on him to keep him from running off, which he did NOT like at all! When we got home I went into the bathroom and my mother watched him pick it up with his fingertips and hold it out in front of him and head into the bathroom with it--where I saw him throw it away! I told my mother what he did and she just busted out laughing!

I wasn't much of a talker mother tells me they had a time getting me to talk. I just had nothing to say, I guess. Thing is though, while I'm pretty good in math it bores me. Give me music, art, crocheting, knitting, writing, that kind of thing!

Tyler is pretty bullheaded too. My husband thinks he got that from me!

Dave Tufte

Sounds like a correct diagnosis to me.

If you haven't read the book yet, you'll probably freak at the first chapter (it will sound so much like you and your family).


My son griffin is now five years old. When I read "the book" I immediately thought that he fit the profile. He was barely talking at 3 and a half, was late in toilet training, and showed some interesting signs of intelligence. He now reads at a grade 3 level, but taught himself. His math and vocabulary are very advanced.He asked me to explain what "hypothetically" meant just after his fifth birthday. (He had read it in a book, and didn't quite uynderstand.Although he is obviously very bright, he has some areas that are delayed, or immature. He cries easily, is emotional, and has difficulty with coordination, compared to his older sister. He goes to kindergarten, but does not like to play outside at breaks. He reads excessively, usually non fiction material, which he quotes regularly.

Dave Tufte

This sounds very familiar, although Griffin sounds smarter than the vXboy. We also have issues with crying easily (and sometimes inappropriately), and coordination.

We stress that when he is upset, that he needs to think about the 5 things he needs to do to be happy: pee, poop, sleep, eat, and drink. He just seems clueless about this sort of stuff. It works like a charm: just this past Saturday afternoon he had a breakdown about stacking stuff in a cabinet so it wouldn't fall out ... wouldn't you know it ... two items on the list he had to take care of, and then he was fine.

david f

I was one of these children, now an MD with a BS in Elect Engr/Comp Sci. I was extremely fortunate in that I went to a high school with three Nobel Prize Winners out of 3,000 graduates and I fit right in (Univ of Illinois High School). We definately think differently than others and see the world in a different way which enables us to contribute to the world. I best interact with extremely bright people. Best to get your kids into programs for the very gifted, otherwise they will not be happy. If you can live in Urbana Illinois, move there and have your kids attend the University of Illinois High School.


I have been through all sorts of people telling me all kinds of stuff. We went to one of the best psychologists in NYC and she suspected that all things my son could do exceptionally well was because I "trained him", or I've made him memorize them. He answered most of her math or visual-spatial questions in 1-2 seconds and mostly right (I would say that he would have made a perfect score right there if he would concerntrate a little, even for 2 more seconds.) Since he is so much delayed in speech, he was thought to be not understanding anything (not even social rules like saying think you). When he genuinely express his thanks to the psycologist, she said to me "see, you even taught him that". My son totally understood this and all other things she had said, and the same night he said: "Mommy, I am stupid, I am not smart."
This made me furious, because not my integrity as of raising my child was insulted, my son was deeply hurt. My son is obviously bright in many ways (a lot of them were already covered by previous posts, so I would not keep repeating them.) I will suggest that STAY AWAY from anyone who may not understand your child well. It is not that your children do not understand, but that people who don't and don't want to understand them.


I understand how intelligence test scores and academic skills are important to these children. Since while parents already know how bright their children are, it's really not necessary to have them printed on paper. However, this is our tools to get around when other people's opinions can affect our children('s furure) greatly.
There are just so many test administrators out there who may add personal preference into the interpretation of the test results. I was told that although my son is doing quite well on the visual-spatial part of the intelligence test, those skills are not really important as he goes to school. (In terms of how true this statement is, I think many of you will make judgement yourselves with common sense).


I would also suggest keeping a journal or videotaping your children when they do things that show how bright they are, just in case people have questions about how they could be so unbelievably and uniquely bright. When my son was 3, he self-taught computer, and used search engine to download his favorit games or find out topics that he was interested in (by that time he also started to read and spell by himself), I did some homeschooling after he was having hard time in a few pre-schools, thinking that it would be better if I could try teaching him myself. So far after 7 months he is math skills are at 2nd grade level. I am a person who likes to insist on fairness. All I did was to explain to him the general rules of math operations, which he is able to understand and apply by himself in 5 min. We finish a week's lessons in one or two sittings, and I have never made him memorize anything other than the multiplication table. I feel very angry when I am already tring to pick up the work that teachers are suppost to do but fail to, and then have to be misunderstood and judged this way. However, after thinking over (I almost wanted to give up on it), I will not stop teaching/ supporting his giftedness, just because someone suspected me of trying to make a genius out of a "savant" (is that ever possible?) I purely do things because I spot some great talents and interests in my child for learning, in some particular area. I am not going to waste them away just becuase someone who just met him for a day or two do not see it.



1) Sowell makes the point very strongly that since the Einstein Syndrome is not part of current special education thinking that you would then expect larger problems in places where the bureaucracy is thicker. This may be what you are finding in NYC. It sounds crazy, but in rural southern Utah we got a great deal of understanding out of our health care professionals. I'm pretty sure it's because they haven't been indoctrinated as deeply, and have to think-on-the-fly more.

2) Agreed. Of course, the tests are meant to be a categorization tool (which is helpful), but categorization tools tend to attract people who feel compelled to categorize things. That's a problem if there isn't a ready category for your son (or mine). We still have an enormous number of problems with our son, mostly due to uneven performance (with little middle ground).

3) I think that is a great suggestion. We have some video, but not as much as would be useful. We've almost forgotten that our son was self-aware enough to have a name for himself (that he could say) at about 28 months - a full 16 months before he could speak anything else. Or that he invented hand signs for things ... but we've got it all on video.

Good luck Julia!


I do agree with you that the biggest issues that we are facing right now are the "uneven performance" on the children's part, and "lack of the ready category" for us to get the right kind of help.
These have made me think that either I should go back to school to become a specialist in this area, or start a support group to encourage the public awareness of our children's condition and special needs.
Thank you for your response!!


I also do not like the idea of testing very much, especially when it's done by people who are not very familiar or friendly with kids like ours, or most importantly, when the children are not emotionally ready. But unless they are in a private school, they have to go through these process nevertheless. And before anyone hits you with any more damaging diagnosis, at least we can have a sound argument here.
I just checked this article here. Very interestingly, some "experts" have raised the bar and upgraded the term "savant", which originally meant only people with low IQ of less than 25 or near 40 or so, trying to add this damaging term to children who are bright with special skills, but just uneven with their development in differnt areas. (Same thing happens to the term "Asperger's Syndrome", they have unecessarily added so much things to the original definition defined by Dr. Hans Asperger.) By doing this, they can securely guard the exsisting categoring system and theories which are what their trainings have been based on, regardless of the fact that a serious modification is obviously needed. The next reason I think is because none of these people have children like the ones whom they openly speak about with less sensitivity, in their own household. I can find myself qualify easily by checking the list of special "savant" skills they have here. This is why I want to get involved in this area so much. I am not an agressive person by nature, but I will do anything for my children.


I think we should also note that, Savant Syndrome is suppose to mean someone with "the rocking, the cold, unemotional expression" and is "lack of response to the voices around him", such as "Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man".
This term should never to be associated with bright children who talk late, unless proven neurologically (even that is quite debatable).


I am not sure how well these defintions match up with the discussion in The Einstein Syndrome though. Sowell doesn't talk much about kids who are savants, so much as ones that might be mislabeled that way because of an inability to communicate effectively.

Having said that, the finer the aspects that are tested the more likely they are to find a child that is a savant because of a failing in one particular area. This happened to our son, who was speaking at a 12-15 month level when tested at 44 months, for a verbal IQ around 30 (give or take a few points). And yet, he turned the corner that same month, and was speaking well above age-level within 2 years.

On the other hand, he does still have a wide variation in behaviors. We are currently concerned about team sports, which he says he likes to play, but in which he could fairly be labeled as showing savant-like behavior.


That is my point here. Sowell's book is one of the most supporting works out there. A lot of "experts" do not necessarily like what they read in this book (you can find reviews everywhere online). Some people even do not recognize or agree with the term "Einstein Syndrome". Instead, the things I 've mentioned are what I've heard from many people who are trying to discribe children like this (In my experience).


Regarding the sports, I would say that go ahead, let him try anything he is interested. People can think anything they want? If you are concerned, try small group or private lessons first. One day I was worried about my son in the subway, a very "savant-like" person approached me, and said to me: "I just wanted to tell you this: Do not worry too much. He is all you've got. Don't care about what other people say. How did he know what I was thinking? Maybe we average
people here are the ones lack of the insight and wisdom. :)


When my son was 3, while being savvy in all the activities he was good at, his development was evaluated at 1% (1%~~!!). I was angry and laughing at the same time. But everyone with common sense saw what he was doing thought he was very bright (but just uneven).
Do not worry, just give him all the support you can, he will improve dramatically when his speech condition gets better.


And yet, he turned the corner that same month, and was speaking well above age-level within 2 years.---> Sorry, I did not read this carefully. Well, I think neurologically, any development can be a gradual process. It takes time to mature in some children's case. Some will leap after a long pause.
As long he has no problem learning and functioning, if people do not give him a misdiagnose that will haunt him everywhere he goes, I don't mind at all if my son looks and acts differently from anyone else. So Good luck~~!



1) Agreed.
2) I have. My wife no longer agrees - she thinks he is at the point where we should push him to stop. I am tempted.
3) Our sons speech has gotten better (although he still has many pronunciation problems). He has improved dramatically in that area. I do wonder about the continued unevenness though as new experiences arrive.
4) Agreed. At that meeting we were offered a misdiagnosis with an eye towards getting him special education. We did not accept. We have no regrets (although his development is still a bothersome issue).


I have a 3 1/2 year old who is severely delayed in speech. He is currently in speech therapy twice a week and his hearing seems to be fine. I have read about the Einstein syndrom and the symptoms are a perfect fit. I tried preschool at 3 years old but after a month I pulled him out due to him crying. His gross motor skills are well advanced from what testing has shown. I have searched multiple disorders. Does anyone have any information or websites that they would suggest. I am very concerned and do not want my child to be behind.

Dave Tufte

I don't have any specific sites in mind - but if you do a search you'll come up with a bunch.

The books also give some references (although they may be a few years out of date).

I think the big issue here is making sure the professionals don't label your son with a condition they are familiar with rather than one they aren't, and that they don't label him for the sake of labeling him.

We've been fortunate to have a number of professionals who were unwilling to commit to a specific diagnosis because our son did not fit enough patterns. I think he does fit the Einstein Syndrome pattern, but that isn't an "official" diagnosis for many professionals. And, we continue to explore other possibilities, because even though he is almost 9 now, he isn't a normal kid along some dimensions.

My advice is to read a lot, get lets of opinions, and turn a critical eye on all of them. Beware of false positives and false negatives.

From what you've said, I think there are 2 things you should keep an eye on. First, the fact that he cried a lot at pre-school is bothersome. This sounds more like autism or Asperger's. Secondly, if it is Einstein Syndrome, he should start talking within the next 12-18 months. Be ready for it. At 3 years and 8 months, our boy went from having a small and difficult to understand vocabulary, to being able to put together complex metaphorical sentences within less than 3 months (e.g., "Can Ben help Daddy build wood house for TV?").

Anna Dinsmoor

Just finished the book--had a hard time putting it down (even with 3 kids 4 and under running around!). My 4-year-old seems to fit the characteristics fairly well. It's only recently (certainly within the last year--and he JUST turned 4) that he's been able to verbally communicate with us. He toilet trained at 3-1/2. He's strong-willed. He is a smart little bugger--has been able to recite entire books (kids' books, of course) by memory to himself since 2-1/2, has been able to count and recognize numbers since at least the same age, can carry a tune (and sings songs he's heard only once or twice). His preschool teachers say he LOVES puzzles and is good at them. My husband and I, as well as many in our respective families, fit the bill in terms of either being involved in analytic fields or being musicians or both (husband and I are both musicians, husband is a finance analyst, 3 engineers, a pharmacist, and a bunch of musicians in the family). I had never heard of Einstein Syndrome before my sister suggested this book (she saw it somewhere online)... our son has already been evaluated by the school district and a private speech therapist, It was determined he was not autistic, but just had speech and comprehension delays (he's about a year behind). So (sorry to take so long to get to my point) I'm just wondering where to go to from here. I'm not sure what doctors or specialists or whoever to go to that would be familiar enough with Einstein Syndrome to determine whether or not it applies to my son. Then again, I don't know if anyone could determine that for sure. Part of me is worried that maybe this is too much to hope for. I'm definitely one of those over-anxious parents who wants to do everything they can for their child (probably too much). I'd really appreciate some guidance, if there's any to be had!

Dave Tufte

Gosh - you've come to the best place and the worst. Everyone commenting here has ideas and suggestions. On the other hand, no one is an expert, and this isn't a parent-help site.

For my part, our boy just turned 9. He's still different - he's always going to be. His different "intelligences" still have a lot of volatility: great at piano, good at reading, terrible at anything physical.

I think all you can do is be supportive. The variability is going to mean he's never going to be as world-capable and world-aware as he is smart. It's going to be very frustrating - this is not a jack-of-all-trades kid.

We've found that teachers that "love kids" seem to be more important than those that provide more specific skills. Our boy hasn't been well-served by teachers who try to pigeon-hole him. But ones that are more accepting of the differences in kids see him as wonderful.

As to speech, our boy is just about ready to graduate from "speech therapy". It has helped a lot, but he still doesn't speak as clearly as other kids

And ... we still find stuff that makes a special connection with him. We just got him one of those potholder kits, and he loves it. I never would've guessed that one.

Funny story about puzzles - ours went through a major jigsaw puzzle phase around age 5. He was also into dinosaurs. So, he got a bunch of dinosaur puzzles from the same company. While doing them he remarked that he couldn't find a piece for his puzzle, but it was OK because there was one that would fit it in another box. He was right - the company was using the same die to cut all the puzzles, and the pieces from different puzzles did fit together. Who knew? He did!


Hi my name is Anna,
When I was in K5 they wanted to kick me out of school because I was a attending a bilingual school and I did not talk at all. Most of the time in the classroom I spend daydreaming and lived in a wonderful fantasy world. They did not kick me out of the school because the psychologist at the school tested me and said that I had a very high aptitude for mathematics. Today I speak, read, and write 3 languages fluently, have 1,5 handicap in golf and a marketing degree. I started talking once I started to read because apparently that helped me organize and structure the language in my head. However I still have an inferiority complex and it is very hard for me to interact with other people mainly because Im thinking and I cannot find the words to what I am thinking unless I sit down and wirte them. I started talking at five years of age.


I suppose I was sort of an Einstein Kid. My school wanted to kick me out because I didnt talk and my teacher thought I was retarded. They didnt kick me out of the school because I scored extremely high on the logic and spatial ability puzzles the school psychologist set out for me to do.
Today i am 22 I speak, read and write 3 languages (English, Spanish and Swedish) but still preferr to stay quiet and think in pictures or delve in abstract thought. Usually when I talk I have to think beforehand as to what I am going to say this takes a while and therefore I speak slow because my abstract thought process is faster than my ability to communicate verbally. With regards to social skills I was horrid as a kid because of my introversion but lately I can watch people figure out their thumbscrews and manipulate them only that they dont suspect anything because they think I am dumber than what I really am (due to slow speach). My advice if you have a latespeaking kid dont send them to school because they could get resentfull of society as a whole and become avid manipulators and powerfreaks like me.


My name is Liz, I'm 25 , single mother, I'm from Peru (southamerica)At first, sorry for my not so good english, I speak spanish.

My son is 2 years and 4 months, he doesn't talk more than some "T" sounds ( ta ta. tee to etc.), words with no sense and the word "mamá" (mom) sometimes. Everybody thinks he's any kind of retarded, because he have a toilet training delay too. At kindergarden he's the only one child who doesn't talk and continue using diapers, I really suffer a lot about him.

But I always wonder,why is he so? if his father is a civil engineer, from the best engineering university of peru and I always was good in math when I was at school, even i won a mathematical championship in my city. my sister is math teacher, and there are many engineers in my family. (One of my cousins is studying in germany with an college scholarship)

I've been wondering myself many months ...why?

I'm disconcerted by some things about him.
When he was 1 year and 8 months, he learned to turn on the computer and tried to use the mouse , cause he liked to watch bob the builder in the dvd (pc's)I knew it because I found it turn on, and see a lot of windows openned. when I was working on the pc, but he wanted me to play, he turn off the energy button in the keyboard so I screamed loudly because all my work was lost.
I've never buy him a puzzle until he went to kindergarden just one week before he would be 2 years, at the beginning he couldn't at all, but then he loved them. Another esperience happened with some empty formula milk cans that my sister put in the backyard, I haven't bought him so many toys, my son took it and formed towers. he always found things from the house and became them toys for himself, cans, dishes, pots etc to form towers and lines with them. He loves books and crayons, markers, notebooks, to scribble using all the colors.

Something curious happened . When I was pregnant I used to listen classical music, especially mozart and tchaikovsky, and i used to put the earphone on my stomach, specially one melody I don't remember the name. And 5 months ago, I buy a Baby Einstein DVD and play it in the PC, when it sounds that melody I mentioned, my son , who was about 4 meters from me, came running y sat down really in front of the computer. He left what he was doing and come. Amazing!

I don't really know what to do, teacher many times told me about his bad attitude (not complained just told me)

I'm really confused. I can't affirm that he is an einstein syndrome kid. But i'd like to know. I don't have enough money to go to a specialist, cause there's none where I live so I'd have to travel to the capital city of Peru.
And the book that some of you mentioned isn't disponible for Peru. it's expensive to me for the costs of sending.

Please , could you help with more deep information about this syndrome Then I could confirm or discard it, or tests that i could take to my son to have a better perspective about his problem.

my e-mail is
please help me

Dave Tufte

Hi Liz:

I'm not a professional, and this really isn't an advice site - but it sounds like your boy has Einstein Syndrome.

I'm confused though - is he 2 years 4 months now (and you are using the word "kindergarten" for what Americans call "preschool"), or is he older now and in a regular kindergarten (which most American kids start at 5).

Anyway ... I wouldn't worry about diapers unless he is embarrassed by them.

The whole story about late talking, late toilet training, interest in music, interest in making his own toys sounds very familiar to me.

I will see if I can find some other sites you can go to.


I have not read this book yet but I just ordered it online. Some Internet research on the topic led me to this site.
My son just turned 2 three months ago. His speech is severely delayed. In all honesty, he probably only says about 7-10 words. He definitely does not say two word sentences. But he understands everything I say. I know he is intelligent because I will watch him figure out how to put my charger in the cell phone, open safety gates,screw off and on bottles tops, laugh at the funny parts in movies...and his memory is exceptional. He started walking at 10 months and was running by his 1st bday. He babbles a lot and does not have trouble understanding the World around him but his expressive language is definitely delayed. He just started pre k 2 and the teacher has said he has had a few "tantrums". I'm hoping she doesn't label him as her "difficult student". I have an appointment to have him evaluated in 2 wks. I have researched autism spectrum and my son does not fit the criteria with the exception of speech delay. If you take away the speech delay, my child is a very bright little boy. Willful,but very affectionate,friendly,and bright. He makes friends easily and enjoys going to school.
My father and his father are mathematician/architects. My maternal grandfather is an engineer and my brother is an electrical engineer. My sister is the number 1 investment banker in her district. I am the "artsy" one and use the other side of my brain I suppose. I enjoy books,English,drama, and have quite an imagination. I started talking at 9 months.
Considering this, does it sound like my son has Eintein Syndrome or am I simply denying the fact that he could be autistic?


Hi Dave:

Sorry it wasn't kindergarden, but as I mentioned I'm not so good at english.

Thanks a lot for your reply.

Dave Tufte

Reply to Alexandra:

I'm going to take of my Einstein Syndrome parent cap, and put on my professional economist cap for a paragraph.

Diagnoses of autism are way up. Many causes have been proposed. Vaccines and their preservatives have been discredited. One that is still standing is the amount of TV that kids watch at a young age (the problem appears to be overstimulation not content, see Another one is that the increase in autism rates is more severe in the U.S., and came after autism was labeled as a disability deserving of special services (in 1990). Bottom line: there is reason to be both wary of diagnoses and aware of some of the reasons for them.

OK. Parent hat back on. It sounds to me like you are another one of these parents who is going to read The Einstein Syndrome and think it is a biography.

In our case, we found great comfort in teachers, caregivers, speech therapists and medical personnel who were around a lot of kids. They seemed very confident that our boy was OK, and they were right. The people who seemed a little bit strange were the ones who were in a position to recommend or approve aid for him. They were way too positive that he fit into diagnoses that included whole bunches of symptoms we just weren't seeing.

In retrospect, it was like everyone has a point scale for symptoms - more points meant it was more likely that he was autistic. People who saw lots of kids, and saw the same ones over long periods of time, seemed to respect the idea that any particular kid could slide up and down that scale quite a bit, and weren't quick to pass judgment. Others seemed to have a threshold in mind, and you were either above it or below it. They seemed really eager to move the threshold down (which makes a lot of sense if their job is to spend other people's money on support services).

There seems to be a real shortage of people whose job it is to not find problems! My recommendation would be to listen to other parents - particularly when they don't know you're listening. They know which kids are freaky, and parents will talk about that, or keep their kids away. If you hear that, I'd lean towards a more serious problem. If you don't, I'd lean more towards Einstein Syndrome. As near as I can figure, kids with Einstein Syndrome seem to be on the nice side, and are even charismatic in their own way. They may not seek other kids out, but the other kids won't avoid them.


Hi Dave
Just one question more, is this book available as Ebook?
Cause I'd really want to read it

Dave Tufte

I have no idea - I don't do Ebooks.


Dear Dave
I feel like I am about to explode. I read the books by Sowell a little over a year ago and just cried throughout. Anthony is a late talker, great with numbers, puzzles, patterns, building, a leader and not a follower. My son Anthony is definately like them and has just started Kindergarten. It has been HELL. The first day of school his teacher complained. She told my husband that, "Your son is Extremely UNUSUAL, he did not do anything I told him to do. When I asked him to draw a picture of himself and write his name, your son pushed the paper away, said 'no' and looked the other way. I would have expected him to be scared of me. His defiance is ABNORMAL!" I was furious she had judged my son and labeled him after the first day. I know my son and he can do all the things she asked of him and more. I had a meeting with her and the principal the next day and asked that he be removed from her class. Her lack of patience and compassion was evident and I did not want Anthony in her class another day. The principal said "no" and told me to give it time. I knew Kindergarten would be a problem for him. He gets very emotional and does not follow the group. He never has! Today she wrote me an angry note stating "Anthony has not been doing his classwork and that is why I have been sending home all the extra work." I had no idea he had not been doing his classwork. I thought that all that extra work in his bookbag was just excessive homework. Mind you, Anthony completes the "extra work" quickly at home, it is all review for him! I am so furious that she never told me anything, she waited almost a month to tell us. My husband would ask her how things were going and she would only complain about Anthony not putting his jacket on right. I dont know what to do!!!!! Should I have a meeting with her and try to get her to work with me and my son, do I call for another meeting with the principal, do I just put him in another school possibly an open school, do I homeschool him? I am losing sleep over this. Please help, any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Dave Tufte


I'm not a professional, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

Anthony sounds somewhat like he has Einstein Syndrome, but I wonder about the defiance. That's not exactly a symptom (but it could be an expression of some of them).

It sounds like you need a different teacher.

It sound like you need a different principal.

Of course, that's no guarantee that you'll get better service without shopping around.

The thing you need to remember is that the public schools are in the business of manufacturing students for the minimum cost. Your son is making this harder for them. Generally, the problem is the system not the teachers, but sometimes you will find teachers for which the system is more important than the kids.


Thanks Dave,
I do agree with the whole philosphy of public schools. As I am a 5th grade teacher, I just wanted to give it a try. I am definately considering putting him into one of the schools that resemble the school that Thomas Sowell put his son in. One that allows Anthony to be himself and not a paper cut-out of what they think he should be. I do not think Anthony is defiant, it just can be hard to get Anthony to do something that he does not want to do, especially if the order is coming from a person he has never met before. Because Anthony marches to his own beat most of the time, one may interpret that as being defiant.I embrace his individuality, he sees things differently. One day in his PreK class all the students took turns solving a puzzle, each child copied the other by solving the same way. Not my Anthony, when it came his turn he solved it completely different from the group. I was so proud of him. I just need to figure out how I am going to feed this gift without allowing certain teachers to break him.

Dave Tufte

It can't be fun to be an elementary teacher and not like your son's elementary teacher.

We had a similar case with our boy. He was going on 4 and being evaluated by the state for special education. He could speak about 3 intelligible words at the time: even so, he was unable to solve one of their intelligence puzzles the correct (and simpler) way, so he figured out a harder way that they hadn't envisioned.


Hie All

My daughter is 2 and a half and still not talking but what amuses me is the level of intelligence she shows. She can identify my car amoung others in a big parking area. She looks through the window first to see which side her car seat is before she opens the door and she goes straight to the appropriate door. She just displays a lot of high level thinking that you wouldnt expect in a 2 and half year old. Because she can't talk she uses gestures. When she wants to go out for a drive she goes to the bedroom to take my handbag and even if i want to go out without she insists we take the handbag because i think she knows when mommy is really going out she cant go without her handbag. I think my daughter falls in this category and also my husband did not talk until he was four and has excelled in all that he has done. He was always top of class, top of grade and has received a lot of academic merits and scholarships in his academic life. He is an engineer but he can easily understand and solve problems even in non-engineering fields. My daughter's pedeatrician has raised the issue of autism on my daughter but i am not interested to go that route. i think she is just a bright late talker.

Dave Tufte

Thanks for commenting Elizabeth!

Your daughter sounds pretty smart to me. I think the proof of Einstein Syndrome will be if she keeps up the non-verbal communication for a year or so. To me, two-and-a-half seems a little early to be sure. Although, given that your husband was like that, I'd say your odds are higher.

Dave Tufte

Elizabeth's comment came in while I've been editing some 8 year old video.

In it - our now 10 year old late-talker - was 26 months old. We were sitting around a table, and I was telling my family that he could tell left from right. They thought it was luck. But ... they kept asking him questions about right and left and he kept getting the right answers.

The thing is, I'd known he'd known this for a year: we went through a stretch when I was the one giving him baths, and at 1 he was really good about giving me his left foot (or whatever) to wash.

Sheree Andersen

I have just come across your website as my 2 year old (2 and 4 months) daughter was just diagnosed as autistic. She is however unbelievable bright.

Sasha went from not talking to saying almost 200 words in a day. She knows left from right, how to count to 20, spell her name and in the last 2 days we have realised she can read words.

I was walking down the street with Sasha when a tram went passed and she said a word she saw on the tram. I couldnt believe it, so when I got home I got a piece of paper and pen and wrote down approx 40 words which she promptly said (including words such as hippopotamus, elephant, yellow, purple, moon, stars etc).

Today we tested her ability to read numbers and hey presto she can read these too. My husband and I are both degree qualified (me an analyst and him a lawyer). My husband is a Masters graduate with High Distinction average and is also a pianist.

Could we have had out daughter misdiagnosed? We live in Australia and are unsure how to proceed.

Dave Tufte

Hi Sheree:

I'm not a professional, so I can't really comment on whether or not Sasha has been misdiagnosed.

But ... I can tell you that there isn't a diagnosis for "Einstein Syndrome" or late-talking children.

I suggest that you research the website of Stephen Camerata at Vanderbilt.

As to autism, this diagnosis is a growth industry in the U.S., and there is a lot of suspicion that it's overuse is funding driven.

It certainly doesn't sound to me as if your daughter is autistic. Our son (who is almost 11 now, and merely atypical) also: 1) went from not talking at all to full sentences in about 2 months (at around 45 months though), knew right from left at 17 months, and did arithmetic (including understanding the significance of zero) before age three.

In retrospect, I think it is fair to say that he was doing a whole lot other than communicating verbally at this age, and when he did start to communicate verbally, his brain committed less resources to doing these other things.

Our experience was that the most helpful people were the professionals who were generalists (living in a remote area, we were not plagued by specialists). A lot of what we needed (and still need) is reassurance that our son was progressing within broadly normal bounds.


I thought I was going to cry when I read about this- it reminds me of my son. He just turned 3. He can decipher nearly anything you spell, even 5 and 6-letter words. He somehow immediately sounds them out. However, he doesn't read them nearly as well. It's an auditory thing. We spell sentences to him and he says the words back to us. He spells a lot as well- he just spelled DINOSAUR and I asked what BROWN spelled- he knew. He has no problems with long or short vowels- figures it out. No problems with CH or CK sounds either. It is amazing. I feel very hopeful reading about how many of these children have grown and developed.


My Child, At 18 months could not speak her needs, do simple step instructions. She would not respond to her name called. She used unintelligent jargon. Frightened of any toy with a face "except one Bear which was made like a blanket - she named it Mimi. Almost the only word she would utter. She did not have acceptable play tactics with other children-just seemed to not understand the "unwritten rules of play", but loved children! She could work simple child computer web cites and simple hand held games starting at age 2. Worked puzzles, shape sorters, mr. potato head etc. Gives me penetrating stares often avoids eye contact with others. She started receiving speech and developmental therapy through a State program. She passed a hearing test. I had her tested by a child psychologist at 21 months and was told "let's wait and see". I have to say that I never sat down, I would always try to help her. She would take my hand and walk me to the cabinet or what-ever and place my hand upon it, then I would have to start by elimination of its contents to see what it was she needed. I took pictures of her favorite things - so she could selected from them. She learned simple sign language and used it. Just before age 3 she was evaluated by a top Speech therapist in the area for entry into public school and she told me that she had never seen a child with such a severe delay as she that had not already shut down. She started preschool on her third birthday (at present she has went through the preschool program 2 1/2 times now) . When she started school she did not respond to "wh" questions. Did not say her name. - as stated above. but Started using two limited words simple sentences. She was not toilet trained untill 3 1/2 yrs old. At 4 years old her pediatrician suggested she had PDD-NOS. Gave me a referral to child evaluation center. I refused to send her at this time. Instead, I took her back and had her tested by her child psychologist and was told "she just doesn't fit autism", "I don't know what to think of her", "let's wait and see", "bring her back when she is 5". Her pediatrician later suggested she was Mentally Retarded and I should just except it. I would not. (thank goodness pediatricians can not give a diagnosis to this!!) I called her child psychologist and asked if this was likely and was I in denial. He replied "It's too soon to diagnosis, Let's wait and see, bring her back when she is 5." I "knew" her without using words. I just knew in my heart that all she needed constant interaction. Each day after school I would ask her what she did that day her response would be "school" as it was with most every question I would ask her-she would just repeat the major word, but I could see what was not spoken in her face and in the way she held herself. She was most always a Happy child!! One day after school she got off the bus crying I asked her what was wrong-to my surprise- she answered "Ms SO through my donut in the trash" I Cried TOO. After that day she started using more and more words and called her self her NAME!! At Christmas we talked about Santa coming and at her suggestion put out milk and cookies!! I was never sure that we would ever do this together - My heart was exploding! Since Christmas the turn-of-about have been amazing!! She can say and talk about most everything!! Her pediatrician is without words-at her 5 year check-up she said "isn't this great all she has is a stuffy nose!" I asked her of her former statement and she replied that she was not God and can not judge. The only remains of this .... She has a very short list of foods she will eat and is sometimes brand sensitive ((example - pancakes and sausage (only preformed frozen sausage), pizza (only Totino's pizza) chocolate pudding, yogurt, fruity pebbles with milk and cheerios without milk. Her food list is not much longer than what has been mentioned but with same scenarios. I do fix her a small plate of what we are eating and purchase her a lunch at school each day just incase she ever wants to try something new. Her Teacher says she fixes her plate but she never eats except for Pancake day. ((I do send her a sausage (her favorite) to school everyday)) She repeats Momma, Momma, Momma, Mommy --Momma "constantly" after most everything she says. (music to my ears!!) I have noticed her slowing down a little on the momma's lately. She speaks of herself in 1st person and uses "we" for "me".(she has told me - she has an imaginary friend with same name as her) She uses he and she or him and her in wrong context but does know the difference between girl and boy. She frequently Panics if things are not just as she thinks they should be, she is neat compared to most children her age, she will occasionally spin or walk in circles when upset, nervous or bored. She is now going into kindergarten the the school is wanting to test her for communication status her speech therapist there thinks she may not know the difference between yes and no) - I know she does. If you ask her for example "are you a boy" she will state No - Girl. I am her mother and I know her best. I am going to have her tested for the third time by her child psychologist again this summer. I am very anguish to know what he has to say about her this time. I continue with other evaluations elsewhere if this is his suggestion or if I ever feel the desperate need. This child psychologist of hers does not take insurance so it is expensive but I have been frightened that she would receive a wrong diagnoses at such a young age and she would have to live with that label for the rest of her life. I like the privacy of this. She has a team working for her, her family, teachers, therapist, etc. I am grateful! Whatever was/is going on with her is diminishing and she has largely learned how to control herself. She has a fantastic imagination! She knows so many many many things - like she has been taking it all in like a sponge all this time. There are still times when I do not understand what she is trying to tell me - and this is can be frustrating for her. I continue to give her all the help I can and look for new ways to help her. My prayers have been answered and I have been blessed -- She now talks !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!""ALL THE TIME""!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She has an excellent memory can sit at the computer for long periods of time utilizing child web cites without much adult interaction. My father is an pilot and inventor and held patents as was his father before him. I have many relitives that are musicians. Knowing about the Einstein Syndrome has given me hope. Do you think she is a likely candidate?

Dave Tufte

I'm not an MD, child psychologist, or speech specialist, so my view is not much more than an opinion.

But ... to me it sounds a **little** like autism. Sorry ...

They've gotten so broad in their definition of what autism is, that it now includes a lot of behaviors that people didn't worry about before. Heck ... I'm a professor, and near as I can figure about half of professors fit the definition.

But, some of the things you are describing ("frightened of any toy with a face","Panics if things are not just as she thinks they should be","spin or walk in circles when upset","can sit at the computer for long periods ...without much adult interaction") sound a bit more out of the spectrum of normal than what other parents have talked about on this thread.

Have you considered that your difficulties in getting a diagnosis are because she has some autistic tendencies and some Einstein syndrome tendencies that are obscuring each other? I'm inclined to think that most "experts" look for a single explanation first, and do poorly when confronted with overlapping issues.

As to Einstein syndrome specifically, there are certainly a lot of aspects of your daughter's behavior that fit the bill

But what I most wonder about your case, and this is colored by my limited experience, is that Einstein syndrome seems to be about a single feature of the child's development (broadly, speech) that is far out of whack with how the child is developing in other areas: so I wonder, given your description, if your daughter doesn't have more than one developmental feature on which she is lagging. If she does, then a broader diagnosis than Einstein syndrome might make more sense.

On the bright side, I think you've pinned down at least part of what is going on. :)

C Amador

I don't know if anyone is still on this site. My son is 2.7 years old. He can reassemble any electronic device, use a laptop, dvd player, ipad or cell phone. He is using 2 words combinations and has a very strong personality. He can count and do ABCs but he does not like to play with other children. Oh, and he is a wiz with puzzles. He would rather run, do something athletic or something that makes sense on the playground. Like take apart a toy car or stack things. His school has just referred him to a clinic but I feel like he has Einstein Syndrome.

Dave Tufte

I think you're probably right.

But, if he's already using 2 word combinations he may actually be further along than the typical Einstein Syndrome kid. It's been over 10 years, but I think at that age our son probably couldn't say 2 words, much less combine 2 of them (he's 13 now, and you'd never suspect that). When he was 2.7, we were mostly relying on hand symbols from him.

Have you considered the idea that the other kids just bore him? If that's the case, you may be seeing the start of the personality he's likely to keep.

As to his school, this is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they no doubt mean well, and if there's a problem early diagnosis can help. On the other hand, are they sensitive to your child as an individual — because this is likely to end up as a label or classification that your child will keep even if it later becomes meaningless.

In our case, we accepted some "softer" definitions for our son, and some modest help, and it all turned out well. So, I think you really need to think about the personality of the person making this sort of decision. Are they all about your kid, or the "bucket" of kids they want to add your's to?

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Dave Tufte

For those who aren't spammers, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The boy featured in the original post from 13 years ago goes to his first college class in about an hour. Well, technically not: he completed a 2-year degree whole going to high school. So it's really his first day of classes as a junior living in the dorms.

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