Daniel Tammet is a writer and autistic savant with exceptional talents. As a polyglot, he is able to speak eleven languages, such as Icelandic, which he learnt in only a week. He also possesses remarkable abilities when it comes to mental arithmetic, having famously memorised and recited pi (π) to 22,514 decimal places in 2004, setting the European record for reciting pi at the time.
Daniel has been synaesthetic his entire life, which means that he perceives certain sensory and cognitive experiences via multiple sensory and cognitive pathways. In Daniel’s case, he perceives words as having colours, and numbers as having colours, shapes, and textures. His memoir, Born on a Blue Day, describes his experiences with synaesthesia, to which he ascribes his lifelong fascination with numbers.
Diagnosed as autistic at the age of 25 by Simon Baron-Cohen at the Centre for Autism Studies, Daniel has a unique perspective on what it means to be autistic.
Recently, Candice Eaton Gaul, Global Leader for Diversity and Inclusion at RSM International had the opportunity to meet with Daniel. In this conversation, Candice and Daniel discuss a variety of topics, such as:
- What autism is
- What it means to be a savant
- What we can do to be more inclusive of autistic friends and colleagues
- Daniel’s advice for younger generations, both neurodiverse and neurotypical
- And more…