An eleven-year-old Indian-origin girl with autism from the United States of America has entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for her remarkable skills in math. The record in the name of Sanaa Hiremath is for the largest mental arithmetic multiplication for which she performed the multiplication of a twelve-digit number entirely in her mind in less than ten minutes.
Sanaa was diagnosed with autism at the age of two and is largely nonverbal. According to an article about her on the Guinness website, she likes to listen to music, bike, and swim. She failed in second grade because she could not write the numbers she was asked to. However, when her mother Priya was working with Sanaa during a home-schooling session, the then seven-year-old could instantly answer multiplication problems.
The family decided to keep up with the sessions and now she has honed her skills to the extent of solving complex problems that engineering students work on. Her father Uday believes that though her math skills don’t have any limitations, her inability to communicate makes it difficult for her to express her own knowledge and skills.
In February when the Guinness team was testing her skills for the record, Sanaa needed only two test runs to get comfortable with the ground rules. In the third attempt, Sanaa, a girl with autism solved a multiplication involving a 12-digit number in less than ten minutes without the use of a calculator, pen, or paper.