While there's no doubt that a lot of people with aspergers/autism display remarkable talents unfortunately, you can't necessarily generalize that to the entire of the aspergers population.
Why do people think that Autistic People are automatically geniuses?
There are two main sources of this misconception;
The first is the popular media, such as TV, movies, newspapers and magazines which often confine themselves to the most spectacular cases of the condition citing famous historical figures like Einstein and Michelangelo while investigating only the most severe cases of modern autism.
The second cause is the "serious" media, such as medical books and how-to's about aspergers children which persist in using the "little professor" description. Sure, some little aspies do sound like professors, but this is by no means in the majority.
It's important to remember that aspergers often carries with it comorbid conditions, such as ADD/ADHD, Bi-polar, Schizophrenia, Learning Difficulties & OCD. Many of these conditions interfere with the aspie's ability to learn, particularly in the same conditions as neurotypical children.
It's not just the comorbids which interfere, it's also the child's environment, (for example; a child growing up with little access to books may not start reading at an early age). Of course, there's also the fact that all children are individuals and may become interested in learning things at different ages.
How do Aspie Geniuses Come About?
In my humble opinion only, aspie genius is a misunderstanding by the neurotypical community of how effective the human mind can be when applied to a problem. Aspies simply have a few advantages in this regard over neurotypical people;
- The Special Interest: Aspies live, breathe and eat their special interests. If an aspie is into electronics, then it's logical to expect that they will be thinking about electronics most of the time, that they will dream about electronics and that whenever an opportunity arises for them to play with electronics, they'll jump right in. Aspies "genius" occurs primarily because the aspie has a special interest which causes them to focus on a subject.
- Clear Focus: Unlike most people, aspies can focus on their special interest or on a task of great interest to the exclusion of all else. For example; they can start studying something and not eat for hours despite the fact that a sandwich has been placed at arms length. They can become so absorbed in a given subject that all else is forgotten.
- A Different Point of View: It's often said that the aspergers brain is "wired differently". This often means that we perceive problems differently. It also means that our solutions often approach from a different angle. Often, this places us behind NTs in lessons, particularly school lessons. In some cases however, particularly research and art, this means that the aspie ignores the tried and proven solutions in favour of something more unique.
One last thing to be aware of. Geniuses aren't necessarily indicated by scores at school - take Einstein for instance who was not particularly good at school.
IQ tests are also not great indicators. Remember, those tests were designed by NTs and for NTs - even if pointing the test at other NTs was a subliminal thing. Like most tests, aspies need more time to achieve the same result as a similarly gifted NT. After all, the aspie has to interpret/translate each question as they go.
The only proper way to detect aspie genius is to observe their work on their special interest projects - even if they don't seem academic. Most times, the aspie themselves won't consider that they've done anything particularly special.