I'll throw out there that even setting aside an actual diagnosis of autism, "child prodigies" often have extensive struggles in other areas.
DS hasn't been formally diagnosed but we suspect he has Aspergers. He also has a phenomenal memory -- he remembers things from 3 years ago (when he was under a year old), can recite long books, stories, and songs verbatim, appears to have a eidetic memory, spoke in sentences well before 18mos and has an extensive and impressive vocabulary, hit nearly all his milestones early, can pick any instrument out of a recording, can do things kids twice his age can't do, and has really amazing cognitive abilities.
He also spends half his time miserable. All kinds of noises & sensations bother him, he has intense anxiety, he needs things to be a certain way & gets extremely upset when he's asked to deviate from what's in his head. He has trouble fitting in socially and other kids don't want to play with him or share with him. Other parents aren't comfortable in his presence because he is too loud, too destructive, and often (unintentionally) comes off as rude or insensitive. He hits & bites me and DH daily and pushes us to our outer limits, both physically & emotionally. He has destroyed our house -- broken furniture, scraped paint off the wall, ripped trim from the door frame, etc. He doesn't play well and hardly sleeps. Living with him is incredibly hard. I love him more than anyone or anything in the entire world, but he is so intense and difficult, and every single day is a struggle for him, me, and DH. Having a photographic memory is a cool trick, I suppose, but it sure doesn't compensate for the enormous difficulties he faces in just getting through the day. My heart breaks for him.
Edited by crunchy_mommy - 10/25/12 at 6:00pm