Bay Area boy diagnosed with autism has extraordinary skills in math

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in every 68 children has been identified with autism. It is believed 10 percent of children with autism are savants; children with extraordinary skills in math memory, art and music.

Meet an exceptional young man from the East Bay named Conrad.

The 6-year-old loves to play a game  he calls "how many zeros?"  KTVU's Claudine Wong told him a number and he would tell her how many zeros the number had in it. We're talking big numbers. 

He can recite up to 600 million zeros and name each one and then if you ask him how many zeros in centillion and the other way around. This means that if you give him the number of zeros he can give you the name of that number. 

Conrad is just six years-old, but his mom says the last year was an adventure.

"It comes in explosions and next year it will be a new one or next week lately its almost like every other week something new happens," said Conrad's mother Carolyn Fok. 

Fok says Conrad was a pretty typical baby, hitting milestones until he was about two and a half. That's when his school started noticing some differences in his social skills. It wasn't too long after that he was diagnosed with autism.

Conrad went to speech therapy, occupational therapy, and got help with socialization. Last year, at the age of five, Fok said something remarkable started happening.

"It began when he was talking to his father on Skype in England and he started having those equations and they started playing these age games if I was 20 how old would you be? And then it would go back and forth that's kind of the conversation they didn't have any other conversation it was just math," she said.

Math wasn't something Conrad had previously been exposed to and even now, his skills are a mystery. He has an incredibly fast recall for numbers and especially likes zeros. 

Chinese seems to be his newest skill. 

"After the third tutoring  he knew how to speak and write up to 1,000 characters after only the third one. He catches on and once he catches on he takes off," Fok said. "Autism is known for a spectrum but it's known for its spectrum of impairments but there is a spectrum of gifts."

Conrad's mom says she is determined to help him explore his gift.  

 

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