Question: Is it possible for a person with autism to be unusually gifted in one or more areas and very delayed in other areas?
Answer: It's common for children with autism to have uneven skills, especially, they may do better in nonverbal skills, whereas they may have more problems in the verbal skills. I had one mother who told me that her son has been able to read since he was 2 years old. And so, he was actually able to phonetically read the words or sight-read the words even though he didn't really comprehend what he was reading.
Similarly other people may have uneven skills and they may have unusual skills in memorizing facts or maps or schedules. Or they may be able to solve complicated math problems in their head such as we saw in the movie "Rain Man."
Some of these uneven skills are especially splinter skills that these children may be good at are aided by the autistic person's ability to attend to details and also to have this habit of compulsively repeating something over and over again. And they also get over-focused on some of the things or the details and some interests at the expense of other interests.
So, on one hand, these abilities may come in the way of making process in other areas, but on the other hand, they can really excel at certain skills.