By Darold Treffert, MD
Ping Lian Yeak was born in Malaysia in 1993. He came to my attention when he was 11 years old, and he and his family have since made two trips to Fond du Lac.The first was for the "Windows of Genius" Art Exhibit in 2007. The second was for the 10th Annual Treffert Lecture series hosted by Marian University and the Treffert Center.
Ping Lian’s artwork stands on its own demonstrating a remarkable artistic ability. His drawings are colorful and cheerful, and grace the walls of the Treffert Academy. Those drawings take on an added significance, however, when one sees that such a-bility coexists with a dis-ability as described by his mother and teachers. Savant Syndrome is a rare condition in which remarkable skills and abilities — islands of genius — are seen in striking contrast to limitations from a variety of circumstances such as autism or other developmental disabilities.
Such artistic prowess as Ping Lian demonstrates, in addition to providing us with beautiful art, serves as a source of satisfaction, development and growth for him, helping eventually to minimize whatever limitations might spring from his disabilities. Standing behind and beside each of the savants I have worked with as well, however, is a dedicated, patient, loving, determined and perpetually optimistic family which appreciates the special gift within their child, and wish to share it more widely with world. Thus we all become, then, the beneficiaries of that special giftedness, and that determination and optimism, while the artist himself continues to grow and flourish.
Learn more about Ping Lian Yeak at http://www.pinglian.com.
Lee, Sarah S. H. (2017). I want to be ARTIST: An autistic savant's voice and a mother's dream.
Treffert, D. A., & Tammet, D. (2012). Islands of genius: The bountiful mind of the autistic, acquired, and sudden savant.