Word count: aaarrrrrgh!
It turned out that someone I know was mentioned in The Einstein Syndrome - no one you’d ever think had a “syndrome” in his youth. For all I know, I could have had it. My mother doesn’t even remember when I started talking, and I doubt she had her eyes on the toddler development chart at the time. Who noticed, until very recently, whether their children progressed from single words, to phrases, to full sentences exactly on schedule?
Sowell’s book made me glad to have grown up before Ritalin and peanut allergies and the autism epidemic, when they left us more or less alone. Now there are experts waiting to drag your children away into classes for the autistic, when the only problem is that they read English better than they speak it. The experts mentioned in the book were usually unwilling to take the parents’ first-hand experiences of their own children into account. The Vision of the Anointed was about that sort of thing, but on a wider scale than just one frequently-misdiagnosed childhood syndrome.
One endearing (to me) quality of the children with Einstein syndrome was their frequent refusal to obey the experts. They would refuse to answer questions or jump through hoops, and the semi-professional evaluators would mark down that they didn’t know the answer, or couldn’t jump through the hoop. In fact, Sowell never makes it entirely clear whether late-talking children cannot talk at an earlier age, or simply will not talk until they’re good and ready to. He gave examples of children who were overheard practicing words in secret before they would speak them in public - toddler perfectionists, as it were.