Meet Darold Treffert, MD

Dr. Treffert at Treffert Center Main Entrance Door


Fond du Lac, Wisconsin is proud to be the home of Dr. Darold Treffert. As a psychiatrist, Dr. Treffert has been studying autism and savant syndrome for more than 50 years.

“This voyage has prompted me to look for, and nurture, human potential in whomever it is found and in whatever form or quantity it exists, including within ourselves.” -- Darold Treffert, MD


Dr. Treffert has written two award-winning books on savant syndrome:

  • Extraordinary People: Understanding Savant Syndrome (1989), now translated into ten languages, was the first work to comprehensively summarize what is known about this fascinating condition.
  • Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired and Sudden Savant (2010) provides updates on well-known savants Dr. Treffert has been following over the years, particularly the “acquired savant”.


Dr. Treffert served as a consultant to the award-winning movie Rain Man, in which Dustin Hoffman played the part of an autistic savant, Raymond Babbitt.  He has also contributed to international documentaries and has made numerous television appearances, including Today, CNN, The CBS Evening News, Dateline, Discovery Channel, and 60 Minutes.


Dr. Treffert has served as a clinical professor at the University of Wisconsin Medical School and UW-Milwaukee. 


Dr. Treffert’s findings and insights appear in over 50 national and international publications, including both professional journals and the popular press. He maintains a savant syndrome registry with over 350 individuals worldwide.

"No one in the world can match Darold Treffert's experience and understanding of savant syndrome - he has spent nearly half a century immersed in the subject. And when he writes of the ‘beautiful’ mind of the savant, Treffert shows the openness and generosity of his own mind." - Oliver Sacks

View Dr. Treffert's Full Biography